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  #51  
Old 09-23-2019, 12:20 PM
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There's still three more episodes left to air. We're only at 1968.
All of the episodes are available online, we have watched all eight.
  #52  
Old 09-23-2019, 12:24 PM
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Is there any Steve Earle?
  #53  
Old 09-23-2019, 12:30 PM
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Yeah
I couldn't done without Jack White going on and on. Sure you like Loretta and all, but really your contribution to Country Music was a foot note, at best.
And his hair was extremely stoopid!

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-23-2019 at 12:31 PM.
  #54  
Old 09-23-2019, 12:44 PM
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I noticed banners for flour companies, and thought, "ohh yeah, that's the source of Prairie Home's "Powdermilk Biscuits" ads, and for O Brother's radio sponsor, Pappy O'Daniel.

And if anyone else is unacquainted with the real Pappy O'Daniel, this summary is worth your time. It spells out the path from Pappy to Reagan to Donnie T.
And I would say, the whole "flour" thing is based more than anything on the fact that Flatt and Scruggs for many years were sponsored by the Martha White flour company. Who I'm happy to say are still in business. Hell, F & S even had a theme song. Check out how the New York crowd wanted to hear it so much when the band appeared at Carnegie Hall in the early sixties.
  #55  
Old 09-23-2019, 12:46 PM
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Is there any Steve Earle?
Yes, I think it was the last episode where they talked about him and played some of his music.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:54 PM
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Cool, thanks. I planned to check it out anyway, but I'd hate to think they'd leave him out.
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Old 09-23-2019, 12:58 PM
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One thing that surprised me was the short shrift that Glen Campbell got. From what I recall they showed a photo of him presenting an award to Loretta Lynn and mentioned his “pop” hits such as Gentle On My Mind and By the Time I Get to Phoenix.
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There's still three more episodes left to air. We're only at 1968.
To be exact, we're at mid-1968. Glen Campbell will host his variety show for the first time in the summer of 1968. Tammy Wynette comes out with "Stand By Your Man." Hee-Haw comes along a year later, along with Johnny Cash's TV variety show and Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee."

Country music is about to get its 15 minutes of fame.

Last edited by Kent Clark; 09-23-2019 at 12:58 PM.
  #58  
Old 09-23-2019, 01:14 PM
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I did spot one whopper: the series mentions Milton Brown as someone whom Bob Wills played with in the Light Crust Doughboys before Wills invented western swing. Music historians consider Brown to be the father of western swing, not Wills. Brown died in a car accident at the age of 32, which may be why he isn't as well-known as Wills today. I prefer listening to Brown's recordings because he didn't rely on hokum the way Wills did.
This alludes to what I said earlier, and I agree. I know everyone cannot be included, but Burns could have trimmed literally two minutes out of the relatively large amount of time for Wills, not have lost anything vital, and mentioned someone so important to the development of the music. Last night, I again think Johnny Cash was given a bit too much time. The first 15 minutes were about his drug trials, in addition to great stuff about Folsom Prison, etc. And while I've heard it all before, I'm sure others have not, so that's fine in and of itself, but being addicted to drugs does not say anything particularly unique about the music. Deal with it surely, but briefly and succinctly.

I suspect the same thing will happen with George Jones and his much discussed problems with the bottle. But again, with all the Cash coverage, Jones wasn't even mentioned last night, and the proper time to deal with his early successful career is gone. Hopefully, I'm jumping the gun, and we will get more about Jones' early stuff.

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I wish that Burns had let the audience listen to at least one uninterrupted song per episode. This is a documentary about a type of music, so it should feature the music. The Jazz documentary had a similar problem: only two recordings were heard uninterrupted in the whole series (West End Blues by Louis Armstrong and Body and Soul by Coleman Hawkins).
I'd like this too, but often wonder if royalties might be involved. Would they be prohibitively expensive? I have no idea. Each episode ends with a full song, but that ain't enough!
  #59  
Old 09-23-2019, 01:38 PM
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Wish there was more about Buck Owens.
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As a Nashvillian I appreciated learning more about the Bakersfield sound and Buck Owens.
Speaking of Buck, while hopefully not harping on my idea of excessive coverage of others, it would have been cool if more mention was made of Don Rich's contribution and importance to the Bakersfield sound. I learned about him recently, and immediately recognized him as that guy I used to see on Hee Haw all the time back in the early 70s. I had no idea who he was back then. But you can see from my link everything he did. It's not in that link, but I remember someone saying, perhaps a bit hyperbolically, that Rich was as important to Buck's sound as Buck himself.

Rich died in a motorcycle accident in 1974. In a 1990s interview, Owens said of him, "[h]e was like a brother, a son, and a best friend. Something I never said before, maybe I couldn't, but I think my music life ended when he died. Oh yeah, I carried on and I existed, but the real joy and love, the real lightning and thunder is gone forever."

Seems a personal story like this, about someone who was also directly involved in the creating of a whole genre would have been right up the Ken Burns alley. Again, I know everyone can't be included, but still. This is a prime example of what I'm saying. Sure, get personal, because that makes the whole story of country music come alive. But in doing so, making it about the music is the most important thing.
  #60  
Old 09-23-2019, 01:48 PM
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I've generally enjoyed the series thus far, but why on earth is Wynton Marsalis a go-to interviewee on a documentary about country music? In fact, why is he spending any time on screen, apart from perhaps making a brief remark in episode one comparing jazz and country as musical forms?
Jazz was very influential on CW music. In particular swing music led to western swing. If you hear a peppy, upbeat, danceable CW song (vs. the old gospel dirges), that's likely a jazz influence.
  #61  
Old 09-23-2019, 02:00 PM
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To be exact, we're at mid-1968. Glen Campbell will host his variety show for the first time in the summer of 1968. Tammy Wynette comes out with "Stand By Your Man." Hee-Haw comes along a year later, along with Johnny Cash's TV variety show and Merle Haggard's "Okie from Muskogee."

Country music is about to get its 15 minutes of fame.
I have watched all eight episodes, they are available online. There was no additional coverage in the later episodes, just that few second mention.
  #62  
Old 09-23-2019, 02:18 PM
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PSA: You can watch all eight episodes here:

https://www.pbs.org/show/country-mus...odes/season/1/
  #63  
Old 09-23-2019, 03:45 PM
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Yeah
I couldn't done without Jack White going on and on. Sure you like Loretta and all, but really your contribution to Country Music was a foot note, at best.
And his hair was extremely stoopid!
I think the purpose of including Jack White was to make Marty Stuart's hair seem downright pedestrian by comparison.

Heh, when typing that I accidently wrote "Jack Black" at first, and that would have been a more interesting person to include.
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Old 09-23-2019, 03:46 PM
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Dwight Yoakam got me teary eyed last night when he started crying quoting Merle Haggard's lyrics.
And I loved how 12 year old Marty Stuart said he was going to marry 29 year old Connie Smith, and he wound up doing it.
  #65  
Old 09-23-2019, 04:15 PM
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Yeah
I couldn't done without Jack White going on and on. Sure you like Loretta and all, but really your contribution to Country Music was a foot note, at best.
And his hair was extremely stoopid!
What was wrong with his hair? I thought he looked surprisingly well groomed. It was short and combed.
  #66  
Old 09-23-2019, 08:03 PM
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PSA: You can watch all eight episodes here:

https://www.pbs.org/show/country-mus...odes/season/1/
Heh, was on the same site this morning and it gave the impression they wouldn't be available until they aired. But if you go ahead and click on the videos, it'll go ahead an play now.
  #67  
Old 09-23-2019, 10:31 PM
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I knew almost nothing about Kris Kristofferson. What a brilliant lyricist, I’ve just been going through his songbook and videos.
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  #68  
Old 09-23-2019, 10:36 PM
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What was wrong with his hair? I thought he looked surprisingly well groomed. It was short and combed.
It was brushed straight up and obviously gelled to stay. It was at least 4inches up. Stoopid, IMHO.
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Old 09-23-2019, 11:53 PM
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Yeah, but Kristofferson usually sang like he didn't have any confidence in his voice, and it showed. It's sad, because he really did have a good voice when he was young.

Nice set up for Willie's return to Texas.
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Old 09-24-2019, 12:03 AM
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Kris as a singer wasn't the best. And I think he never really wrote for himself. When he was with 'The Highwaymen' he sang great, IMO.

And I'm sorry, I know he's an Icon and all, but Willie just creeps me out.

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  #71  
Old 09-24-2019, 01:30 PM
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The Kristofferson piece was very moving. I never realized what an amazing lyricist he was. I enjoyed the Me and Bobby McGhee story. I also learned for the first time, thanks to Wikipedia, that his full name is Kristoffer Kristofferson.

I thought it was a nice setup for George Jones and Tammi Wynette. I have a good feeling about those two!
  #72  
Old 09-24-2019, 04:35 PM
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It’s kind of cool how close Elvis and Johnny Cash were. And the impersonations were quite amusing, as was the moniker “The Shaky Kid”.
I knew a man who worked on the Johnny Cash TV show as a sound/electronics guy. He told me he was called in to work one day, even though he was on vacation. He refused, telling his boss that he was getting married the next day and going on his honeymoon. The boss offered him triple pay because it was an "important show", so in he went, but not happily.

He was kneeling on the floor, hooking up cables when he heard someone walk up behind him, and a familiar voice said "I heard that you came in on your day off to do this for me and I appreciate it." When he turned around, he was looking up at Elvis. Elvis then said "I also hear you're getting married, so here's a little somethin' for your honeymoon," and handed him several hundred dollars.
  #73  
Old 09-24-2019, 04:42 PM
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I knew a man who worked on the Johnny Cash TV show as a sound/electronics guy. He told me he was called in to work one day, even though he was on vacation. He refused, telling his boss that he was getting married the next day and going on his honeymoon. The boss offered him triple pay because it was an "important show", so in he went, but not happily.

He was kneeling on the floor, hooking up cables when he heard someone walk up behind him, and a familiar voice said "I heard that you came in on your day off to do this for me and I appreciate it." When he turned around, he was looking up at Elvis. Elvis then said "I also hear you're getting married, so here's a little somethin' for your honeymoon," and handed him several hundred dollars.
That's a damned cool story .
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Old 09-24-2019, 04:49 PM
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That's a damned cool story .
Yeah, he also roomed with Ronnie Milsap for awhile (who isn't totally blind, apparently). He said the guy was a real hound in those days, always bringing women back to the room. He said that he came home once and discovered that Ronnie had used his pillow as a bit of hip support for his latest sexual liaison, so he told him not to do that again because, you know, disgusting. He came home a few nights later and found the same mess, so he picked Milsap up (this guy is 6'8" and around 325), carried him outside, and tossed him into the pool from the second story walkway.
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Old 09-24-2019, 05:00 PM
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I had heard a couple Kristofferson songs and thought they were nothing special. But Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen are distinctive singers, but not brilliant ones. Hank Williams and Paul Simon are great lyricists and, to my ears, better singers. Many country stars have exceptional voices.

I just bought a CD of Kristofferson’s best. They are all duets, and, frankly, better off for that.

Looking forward to more episodes. Willie Nelson is a bit jazzy, but no Django. Marsalis seems a little out of place, but his perspective gives some contrast, I guess.
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  #76  
Old 09-24-2019, 05:55 PM
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Anyone else get a kick out of Maybelle Carter liking One Toke Over the Line, even though she didn't know what a toke was?
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Old 09-24-2019, 08:25 PM
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Anyone else get a kick out of Maybelle Carter liking One Toke Over the Line, even though she didn't know what a toke was?
Mother Maybelle wasn't the only one!
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Old 09-24-2019, 09:08 PM
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For a guy I get choked up pretty easy, but it's always something random. When Kathy Mattea was talking about her uncle that always told her he'd be watching for her on "Hee Haw" and then she got on it and got to do a "Salute!" to her home town...I teared up a little.
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:37 PM
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The way Burns is tying it all together, bringing the whole story in a full circle is amazing. Good show!
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Old 09-24-2019, 10:50 PM
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Since I don't listen to country music per se it was difficult to follow. But it is very well done and fascinating to watch. I love music and this has been a very satisfying documentary. It could be the world standard of documentaries going forward.

I will never be able to listen Hank Williams JR's Family Tradition again without smiling. Often when it's played in bars there's a crowd participation element to it. Now I know the meaning behind the song.

Ken Burns brought to light all the behind the scenes mentoring that went on. A lot of good stories that will warm your heart.

I loved the music award announcement of John Denver which the announcer set on fire before reading.

I never realized Willey Nelson started Austin City Limits on PBS.

Last edited by Magiver; 09-24-2019 at 10:51 PM.
  #81  
Old 09-24-2019, 11:04 PM
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For a guy I get choked up pretty easy, but it's always something random. When Kathy Mattea was talking about her uncle that always told her he'd be watching for her on "Hee Haw" and then she got on it and got to do a "Salute!" to her home town...I teared up a little.
Burns must own a guitar called "heart". he really knows how to pluck those strings.

The Dolly Parton song "I will always Love You" story dealing with her need to break away from her mentor Porter Wagoner. I won't be able to listen to THAT again without getting misty eyed.
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:07 PM
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I liked that producer who thought Willies album he recorded in Texas was crap. But released it anyway. Wow!
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Old 09-24-2019, 11:30 PM
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Man, I grew up with all those old country songs. There were limited radio stations in Anchorage, and the pop station would have segments of country songs, many of which were crossover tunes on the pop charts. I had LPs of Marty Robbins, Johnny Cash and Patsy Cline, and of course the rockabilly stars. When a lot of the country stars began "smoothing out" the music, more and more of the songs crossed to the pop side, so I have solid base of that music in my head.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:01 AM
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I have the country music channel on my direcTV on. They are playing cuts from the soundtrack to the Documentary.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:15 AM
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Clearly, Marty Stuart also visited that Mississippi crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

The first two albums the kid owns were Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe, and he goes to see Connie Smith and vows he'll someday marry her. Today, the only two jobs he's ever had are playing in Bill Monroe's and Johnny Cash's bands, and he's married to Connie Smith.

All that aside, I've found him a perceptive and entertaining commentator throughout the series, sort of the Shelby Foote of Country Music.
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Old 09-25-2019, 12:21 AM
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I have always thought Marty Stuart was cool. I didn't know how his rise up through the music biz went. So interesting.
The George Jones and Tammy Wynette story was just sad.

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-25-2019 at 12:22 AM.
  #87  
Old 09-25-2019, 01:03 AM
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Hehehe, Beckdawrek, I would have figured you would have been weirded out by the high amount of Willie content in tonight's episode.

Of course, I was brought to tears by some of the Texas content in this episode, and loved the amount of it. I do think it was appropriate. Van Zandt's coverage because, damn, that man could write. Even the small amounts of "If You Needed Me" that they included made me just about bawl. That they had the time for a slight inclusion of Freddie Fender and Flaco Jimenez made me tear up out of happiness and remembering being a kid and listening to the radio with my parents.

I did not know that Waylon was the first RCA artist to use non-RCA engineers. That's kind of amazing. That's almost like telling AT&T to screw off at that time - and he got away with it! I'd also never noticed how drone-y and sitar-y "Are You Sure Hank Done it This Way" starts out.

Vince Gills' story of opening for KISS and it being Spinal Tap worthy was priceless, as was Marty Stuart's story of Deliverance being his and Scruggs' ticket to getting booked. Chance is a screwy thing, always. Burns tying all of that into the greater story was pretty masterful.


On the other end of the spectrum, Burns actually saved me from myself for brief moments with the montage over "He Stopped Loving Her Today". Every time I hear that song, I react like Hazel Smith does the first time she heard it*. I have to pull over to the side of the road, because I don't have the self control to turn it off, and I can't see because I'm crying. A while back there was a thread about what songs can you recognize from the first beat. I can recognize that one. I just go ahead and hit the turn signal to go ahead and move over to the shoulder and hit the hazards. (I apologize, Ken, but this actually happened) When I was looking at the screen, my brain said "nope, this image is so sappy and cliche, it cancels out the effect of the song. I turned away and walked into an adjacent part of the room to retrieve something, couldn't see the images, and the waterworks started. Turn back for a sec to make sure what I think is happening is happening, and yep, those images are too something. It doesn't work any more. Return to retrieving what I wanted, and more waterworks. At this point I commented on it to my wife, who is aware of my affliction with the song**, and she agreed. Kind of hammy, but I'll be damned if I can come up with an appropriate image that isn't overwhelmingly hokey for that song, so all three of us are defeated.

I always knew Dolly was nowhere near stupid. Somehow I was dense enough to miss that she's not a natural blonde. I'm just not observant enough to be able to figure out whether that hair color is natural or not. So, her response to the stereotype was both humorous and educational.


*Oddly, I don't really cry a lot. Bitch and moan, idle threats? Yeah, but not a lot of tears. That song, though. Luckily, I have yet to need to explain to a cop "Well, I was pulled over because while this country song is on the radio, I can't drive safely".

**She bought me a George Jones' greatest hits at some point. I usually can't resist listening to music immediately when i receive it, but that remained in the wrapper for something like five years before I couldn't resist anymore. She knew I loved The Possum, but she knew what song I was avoiding.
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Old 09-25-2019, 01:15 AM
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Since I don't listen to country music per se it was difficult to follow. But it is very well done and fascinating to watch. I love music and this has been a very satisfying documentary. It could be the world standard of documentaries going forward.

I will never be able to listen Hank Williams JR's Family Tradition again without smiling. Often when it's played in bars there's a crowd participation element to it. Now I know the meaning behind the song.
Hehehe, my mom explaining what that song actually meant when it came out (and that she had any idea what the lyrics meant) was a very strange bonding moment for myself and what I thought was a very straight-laced woman.

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Ken Burns brought to light all the behind the scenes mentoring that went on. A lot of good stories that will warm your heart.

I loved the music award announcement of John Denver which the announcer set on fire before reading.
Hehehe, I feel for both sides of that. As this episode asked: at what point have you changed what the art form is itself, and the other side asks when are you just strangling the art with the form. It's a question that any art has asked since "high" art first tried to separate itself from another form of "low" art. Always worthwhile asking, always without a definite answer.

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I never realized Willey Nelson started Austin City Limits on PBS.
I never realized it had been on longer than Hee-Haw! If I'd thought about it, and done math, I would have realized it. But I had done neither. Annnnnnnnd....now I feel old.

Last edited by scabpicker; 09-25-2019 at 01:19 AM.
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Old 09-25-2019, 01:23 AM
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I feel the same way about that song. I remember being very young and realizing it meant the guy died. Jones is up there with Sinatra in vocal phrasing and way he shapes a note to his voice.
And Willie does kinda creep me out. I'm more apt to appreciate him now after hearing about how he got back to Texas and made a great music career for himself. Him and Merle singing 'Pancho and Lefty' just leaves me in a cold sweat. So haunting. I love Merle, he cannot do much I don't like.

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  #90  
Old 09-25-2019, 02:23 AM
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Hazel Smith is killing it. I love her.
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Old 09-25-2019, 03:07 AM
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Hazel Smith is killing it. I love her.
She's the Shelby Foote of this documentary. IMO.
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Old 09-25-2019, 02:58 PM
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Clearly, Marty Stuart also visited that Mississippi crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.

The first two albums the kid owns were Johnny Cash and Bill Monroe, and he goes to see Connie Smith and vows he'll someday marry her. Today, the only two jobs he's ever had are playing in Bill Monroe's and Johnny Cash's bands, and he's married to Connie Smith.

All that aside, I've found him a perceptive and entertaining commentator throughout the series, sort of the Shelby Foote of Country Music.
Holy crap, Marty Stuart is a freakin' library of country music knowledge! I'm not sure what his Count Dracula outfit is about, though.
  #93  
Old 09-25-2019, 03:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr Downtown View Post
Clearly, Marty Stuart also visited that Mississippi crossroads where Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil.
Emmylou Harris must have been there, as well. She's 72 years old!
  #94  
Old 09-25-2019, 03:31 PM
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She's such a pretty woman. She's aged gracefully.
  #95  
Old 09-25-2019, 07:29 PM
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Marty Stuart’s first marriage was to Johnny Cash’s daughter Cindy.
  #96  
Old 09-25-2019, 08:47 PM
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Watching the final episode now. I will be disappointed if they don't give a nod to Martina McBride. IMHO, one of the best country singers ever. Not a big fan or follower but I always thought she had an amazing set of pipes.

I'm a big Steve Earle fan, haven't seen his mention yet. They did talk some about Townes Van Zandt, one of SE's influences.

Agree that Emmylou is one beautiful woman. Classic.

Heh, Steve Earle just popped up with "Guitar Town" one of my favorite songs.

Last edited by River Hippie; 09-25-2019 at 08:49 PM.
  #97  
Old 09-25-2019, 09:11 PM
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Omg. Vince Gill. I'm crying.

Hippie, I like Steve Earle, alot!!
  #98  
Old 09-25-2019, 10:00 PM
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Holy-moly. Ended perfect. Johnny Cash brought it all the way around. The circle is unbroken!

Last edited by Beckdawrek; 09-25-2019 at 10:01 PM.
  #99  
Old 09-25-2019, 10:01 PM
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Vintage Martina McBride
  #100  
Old 09-25-2019, 10:05 PM
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Maybe the last episode could have been divided into a couple; lots of good artists just mentioned quickly. But nice to see a couple Canadians mentioned.

I was wondering how things work when an artist keeps a tune but changes the words. I’m specifically thinking of “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Toni Angels” and “I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes”, which the Carter Family remembered as an old song their great aunt used to sing, or something. How would royalties work if I wrote something using a familiar tune?
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