Thursday, January 20, 2011

Watseka, Real Country Music

For many of you, this is a gentle reminder the WCHS Class of 1981 Reunion weekend is mere months away.

For those of you who like country and/or American roots music, Joy pointed out yesterday that Marty Stuart and the Fabulous Superlatives (what an incredibly awesome name) will be kicking off the weekend (July 2). Thanks to Joy for bringing national talent in for our weekend!

Can we all agree Watseka is reflected in country music? It has trains, there are plenty of pick-up trucks, there are bars, a jail, and we all had mamas.  Whether you like the twang of the guitars and singin'-through-the-nose vocals or not, you can find a whole lot of of Watseka in real (the kind not seen on the television) country music's lyrics.

Let me share (below) excerpts from an article I found stored on a flash drive (it quotes Marty Stuart). If you don't have time to read it, at least do yourself a favor and skip to the song titles at the end.


By Ed Bumgardner, relish staff writer

In 1994, [Marty] Stuart talked to me at length about the old-school songwriting traditions of Nashville. 

"Clever titles serve a lot of different purposes," he said back then. "In other eras, there were no dividing lines between country singers and their audience. The singers understood their audience because they came from similar backgrounds and they had shared similar hardships.

"Country songs talk about tough times, heartache, good people bein' done wrong. If a song title can make somebody smile, then that's a good thing. A great country song can make you laugh through tears."

"In Nashville, the old country music is often looked upon as something embarrassing," [Rodney] Crowell said. "Truth is, those old songs are genius. The song titles alone tell a story, and with wit and a large dose of truth. They do in six words what some writers can't do in 300 pages."

"I don't care where I play, people love 'A Boy Named Sue,'" [Johnny] Cash said. "It gets their attention. It's clever. And it's real. That's all you need.

"That song will be around long after the countrypolitan guy from New York who thinks it's chic to wear $1,000 cowboy boots and a $500 hat has put his cowboy outfit back in the closet where it belongs."

Here's a list of 15 personal favorite country-song titles . . . . Mix well with cold beer, then serve hot.

1. "Too Much Month at the End of the Money," Marty Stuart

2. "It's Hard to Kiss the Lips at Night (That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long)," The Notorious Cherry Bombs (featuring Rodney Crowell)

3. "I'm Gonna Put a Bar in the Back of My Car and Drive Myself to Drink," The Moonlighters

4. "The Good Lord Giveth (And Uncle Sam Taketh Away)," Lefty Frizzell

5. "You're the Reason Our Kids Are So Ugly," Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty

6. "Drop Kick Me Jesus (Through the Goal Posts of Life)," Bobby Bare

7. "You Can Lock Me Up in Jail, and Throw Away the Key, but You Can't Stop My Face From Breakin' Out," Randy Scruggs

8. "Last Night I Went to Bed with a 10 and Woke This Morning with a 2," Willie Nelson

9. "Pardon Me, I've Got Someone to Kill," Johnny Paycheck

10. "Get Your Biscuits in the Oven and Your Buns in Bed," Kinky Friedman

11. "I Guess I Had Your Leavin' Comin'," Vern Gosdin

12. "If Fingerprints Showed Up on Skin, Wonder Whose I'd Find on You," Freddie Hart

13. "I Bought the Shoes That Just Walked Out on Me," Wynn Stewart

14. "Get Off the Table, Mable (The Two Dollars is for the Beer)," Bullmoose Jackson

15. "You're the Hangnail in My Life (And I Can't Bite You Off)," Hoyt Axton