Posts Tagged ‘country music’

Pete Peterson

February 9, 2010

I am saddened to read of the passing of Pete Peterson, eminent sociologist and scholar of country music. My library copy of his book Creating Country Music is full of yellow stickies with notes on them. In his writings on the cultural history of country music, he explores the intersections of business, technology, society, music, and culture in a way that both informs us about country music itself and provides a model for the study of any type of American music in the twentieth century. His voice will be sorely missed.

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Charlie Louvin

January 25, 2010

Charlie Louvin was still touring as of last spring. Read this interview by Wade Tatangelo in the St. Petersburg (FL) Times.

Updated list for #1 country hits in 1950s

January 22, 2010

I updated the list of #1 hits in country music to include 1958 to 1960; it now spans 1955 to 1960. I also added YouTube playlists for those years.

Country Hits of 1955-1957

November 6, 2009

Below are the top country hits for the years 1955-1957. If you click on years, you will be taken to a YouTube playlist of the hits for that year. Some of the videos are fan tributes (song plays while photos of artist are shown) and some are from television performance from that era.

1955

  1. Loose Talk – Carl Smith
  2. Let Me Go, Lover – Hank Snow
  3. In the Jailhouse Now – Webb Pierce
  4. Live Fast, Love Hard, Die Young – Faron Young
  5. A Satisfied Mind – Porter Wagoner
  6. I Don’t Care – Webb Pierce
  7. The Cattle Call – Eddy Arnold
  8. Love, Love, Love – Webb Pierce
  9. That Do Make It Nice – Eddy Arnold
  10. Sixteen Tons – Tennessee Ernie Ford

1956

  1. Why Baby Why – Red Sovine and Webb Pierce
  2. I Forgot to Remember to Forget – Elvis Presley
  3. Heartbreak Hotel – Elvis Presley
  4. I Don’t Believe You’ve Met My Baby – Louvin Brothers
  5. Blue Suede Shoes – Carl Perkins
  6. Crazy Arms – Ray Price
  7. I  Want You, I Need, I Love You – Elvis Presley
  8. I Walk the Line – Johnny Cash
  9. Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley
  10. Hound Dog – Elvis Presley
  11. Singing the Blues – Marty Robbins

1957

  1. Young Love – Sonny James
  2. There You Go – Johnny Cash
  3. Gone – Ferlin Husky
  4. All Shook Up – Elvis Presley
  5. White Sport Coast (And a Pink Carnation) – Marty Robbins
  6. Honky Tonk Song – Webb Pierce
  7. Four Walls – Jim Reeves
  8. Bye Bye Love – Everly Brothers
  9. Let Me Be Your Teddy Bear – Elvis Presley
  10. Whole Lotta Shakin’ – Jerry Lee Lewis
  11. Fraulein – Bobby Helms
  12. My Shoes Keep Walking Back to You – Ray Price
  13. Wake Up Little Susie – Everly Brothers
  14. Jailhouse Rock – Elvis Presley
  15. My Special Angel – Bobby Helms

Frustration!

October 15, 2009

The Everly Brothers recorded four sides for Columbia in 1955. Two of those were released: “The Sun Keeps Shining” (written by Don) and “Keep A-Lovin’ Me” (written by Don and Phil). In music historian parlance, we might say these represent some of their juvenalia. I know from their own comments and the remarks of others, the songs lean more heavily on their country music roots than later songs do. So I want to listen to them and try to describe how they adhere to “country” as it was understood in the late 1950s.

Therein lies the problem, though. These two songs are not on any of the reissue CDs or download services in the US. I found them in a $90 box set that includes a lot of what I already have. I also found them as downloadable files on amazon.co.uk, but not surprisingly I can’t buy them and download from here. All of this leaves me wondering why they are so hard to obtain in the US. Are the Everly Brothers themselves controlling this access and if so, why? And why are acceptable for UK audiences? And how am I going to get them???

I did find a set of unreleased recordings from the 50s and 60s that is reportedly demos and maybe some outtakes (user hyperbolium includes a good description of them under the reviews). Most of the cuts feature just Don and Phil and acoustic guitars. While I still want the other two songs, these recordings will certainly provide insight into how they perceived and conceived their own songs and how the songs transitioned from there to the finished product. The vocal harmonies will be much more exposed and less polished, allowing me another glance into this part of the creative process. It might be a stretch to suggest this, but recordings like this are somewhat akin to examining the sketchbooks of composers who work mainly in the written form.

I’m also sightly tempted by the $27 CD of outtakes but not enough to twitch for the moment. I’m sure they have value, but they will be so carefully selected that they may not demonstrate much more than close approximations of the releases. I would be interested in knowing what other popular music scholars have made of outtakes and alternate takes.

What I Want for Christmas

December 8, 2008

I want my qualifying exams all done and passed.

I want my proposal to be approved.

I want to make contact with people who were involved with the early days of the Everly Brothers.

I want to make contact with anyone who knew (knows) the brother duets in country music that preceded the Everly Brothers.

I want to talk to people who actually heard the Everly Brothers live or on the radio or bought their records back in the day.

I want to talk to other people who sing in duets about their experiences, how it feels, what makes it special, what makes it hard, and so on.

I want to make my family happy.

I want world peace.

I’m bound to get something from this list.

Twin Set

November 11, 2008

The following photo of shirts the Everly Brothers wore brings new meaning to the term “twin set.” These are on display in the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville.

Everly Brothers sweaters

Everly Brothers sweaters