This week on AudioPerfecta is country music week. I have no explicit reason why – it just is. In celebration of country music week, I’ve put together a playlist of what I consider “Old School Country and Western” music. These are songs mostly done before the 1980s and certainly before the “New Country” era. You won’t find any Garth Brooks, Judds, or those types on this here country music playlist….no siree, these are good ol’, God fearing songs you would hear on Hee Haw or the likes.
I sound like I’m making fun of those that enjoy Old School Country and Western. Nothing could be further from the truth. While I’ll admit – it is not my favorite genre, there’s still a personal connection to a great deal of these songs. I remember as a boy listening to a great deal of these songs with both sets of grandparents. Also, I must admit – I still get a kick from old Hee Haw reruns. Of course, some of these artists I have a great deal of respect for (anyone that doesn’t like Johnny Cash, has some deep-seated issues).
Of course – the reason I include “I See the Want To In Your Eyes” has everything to do with that episode of Family Guy… but what can I say? I love Family Guy! Still – there’s a deeper reason I present this playlist to you: It involves stretching myself musically. About a month ago, while I was on a trip, I gave you all a playlist about Texas. There happened to be several country songs on that playlist, and it just kind of primed my pump a little. I’ve listened to a lot of country in preparation of that playlist.
I’ve blabbed enough so here’s the playlist, but stick around afterwards and I’ll tell you about the time I got to see the great Johnny Cash perform a few songs.
Is this really Old School Country and Western
I include a lot of songs from the 70s and even a few from the 80s. I already stated I don’t have any “New Country” on this playlist – but I certainly see the seeds of new country in some of these songs. It makes me wonder if people who liked Country and Western in say, the 1960s, looked at Barbara Mandrell or Charly McClain with disgust. Maybe they thought that was young people’s music. Then again, I certainly remember hearing both these artists at my grandma Edwards’ house and she didn’t seem to mind. Anyways, I promised you a story about Johnny Cash!
It was 1992. I was a senior in high school, and Billy Graham came to Portland with one of his infamous crusades. Johnny Cash and his wife (June Carter Cash) showed up as well as did Portland Trail Blazer Buck Williams (the Blazers had gone onto the NBA finals just a few month before, and Blazer fever was high). That night was billed as “youth night,” but I had no idea why. While I liked Buck Williams, I really couldn’t care less about some country music person.
This was before the America records, which really cemented Cash as a legend, even amongst those that don’t enjoy country music. Part of me says this as an excuse, but there’s really no excuse for my attitude.
Johnny walks out on stage and says “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash.” The crowd goes wild. I laugh – I think it’s a joke (later on I find out this is how he introduces himself in concert). He sings a few songs including Ring of Fire….that’s really all I remember.
I just didn’t appreciate this appearance by Mr. Johnny Cash. Again, people like me didn’t care about Johnny Cash. He had not done his amazing cover of “Hurt” or “One” or so many other songs. So of course, I had no idea what I was experiencing. I saw a legend of old school country and western perform – and I didn’t care. I obviously had deep-seated issues. Seriously, if time travel becomes a reality – I’m coming back to this moment so I can properly enjoy this performance. I’m also going to smack 17 year old me across the side of the head.
That’s it for now. Come around these parts tomorrow, for a special Country and Western edition of “Cover vs Original” looking at the song (Ghost) Riders in the Sky. And yes – I talk about the Johnny Cash version.