Tag Archives: elvis

Elvis Presley Blues

Old Jules:

I swore, readers, I wouldn’t post one damned thing, make one mention of Elvis Presley today. But that got me thinking about him. Hell, I danced to his first hit songs when they were fresh off the radio waves. I got dragged off to Nashville or Memphis, wherever to a visit of Graceland by a lady friend on her nickle. And came damned close to refusing even at that price.
But hell. Elvis was okay. Not great, but okay. Just a dumb sod with too much grease in his hair, same as almost everyone else those days.
And when they came out with that stamp, I did write that poem to him. Reading through it I can see I’ve been even stupider at times in my life than I am now. Law law law how’d I manage to survive my stupidity longer than he survived his? May by nobody writing poems to me.

Old Jules

Originally posted on So Far From Heaven:

The King Is Dead
Long Live The King

Behold, sweet sovereign of song,
creator, keeper, carrion king
of Rock and Roll,
how we miss you.

Old now, my liege, how we hum
how we whistle distant echoes
of your reign
and remember!

Not for you, sweet prince,
mediocre marble monuments,
bronze busts in barren halls.

How you were us!
How, in your dotage,
your swollen jowl,
your sallow cheeks,
your leaden eye
became our own.

Not for you, the canvas likeness hung on walls
with saints, small children, gods and golden men.
Not you!
For you, lord, the paper likeness,
the image on black velour;
in plaster lamps,
plastic icons,
and now this final homage
to your fiery youth.

With every moist touch of these lips, this tongue
we wash away the mucous of those later years
of yours and ours;
summon forth the young prince;
call back those vibrant…

View original 48 more words

Pre and post Elvis Imitators

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read so damned early in this year we’re stuck inside.  I tried looking forward into it and couldn’t see a thing I recognized.  Almost everything appears to be an imitation of something else and a lot of what’s being imitated came later than me paying it any mind.

However, this imitating thing has been going on a longish time.  Listening to the Late Marty Robbins talking about all the people he had to imitate before he ever got any popular songs of his own is a lesson in musical history.  Somewhere below you can actually hear him do it.

But for my generation the bulk of the imitating ended up being Elvis Presley stuff.  Steve Goodman explains it better than I could:

Even Johnny Cash imitated Elvis at a time when Johnny Cash was at the top of the charts:

But of course, imitation is the something-or-other of whatchallit, according to someone or other who’s frequently quoted.  And Elvis imitated Johnny Cash because turnabout is something-or-other.

A lot of you readers probably never even heard of Ferlin Husky, but back when Keith Kelt and I were kids listening to KENM radio in Portales, New Mexico, Ferlin was a big piece of the musical fare.  Along with Kitty Wells, Red Foley, Lefty Frizzell, Webb Pierce, Gentleman Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Little Jimmy Dickens, Hank Snow and Hank Williams.

So it shouldn’t come as any surprise that one of Ferlin’s stunts was imitating most of them:

And for that matter, so did a much younger Merle Haggard:

Merle did it enough to draw the attention of the ones he imitated.  Here he is singing George Jones with George Jones and Johnny Cash with Johnny Cash:

I mentioned Gentleman Jim Reeves back around the time of Ferlin Husky but he got away from me.  Here he is a few years before anyone ever heard of Merle Haggard, but Johnny Cash was already on the charts:

Johnny Counterfit made a career of imitating them all and did a middling good job of it.  He could still do young Johnny Cash when Johnny Cash couldn’t do young Johnny Cash anymore.  [Afterthought:  Notice Chet Atkins sitting there in front of him while he’s playing.  Old Chet was one hell of a guitarist but he doesn’t appear to give Johnny Counterfit a particularly high approval rating.  Maybe Counterfit didn’t bow and scrape enough to suit him.]

I mentioned Marty Robbins earlier telling about how he used to have to imitate other singers before he got popular and eventually died.  It’s worth listening to him telling who he was imitating.  I’ll bet a lot of you never heard of Johnny Ray.

I’m including this non-imitation of Johnny Ray so’s you’ll have an appreciation for the tough job of work Marty Robbins had doing it.

Seems almost everyone these days is imitating something, judging from the way words such as ‘awesome’, ‘fail’, ‘epic’ and a hundred other good solid words have lost their meanings, been usurped by meanings from the mouths of television writers.

But I suppose it’s possible to do some imitating without being a fawning worshiper of fad or some mindless celebrity with a screenwriter feeding the memorable lines.

Wonder what ever became of Gentleman Jim Reeves.  I thought for a lot of years he was killed in the plane crash with Hawkshaw Hawkins and wossname, Patsy Cline.  But while I was looking all this up on YouTube I was reminded that was Cowboy Copas.  Still, I’m fairly certain Jim Reeves bit it around then, too.

Old Jules

Citizen Soldiers and Sailor Songs – The Draft Decades

Korean War vintage – The From Here to Eternity Version’s missing the first and last stanza, but worth the watch:

 

The complete version

 

Around 1956-’57 when Elvis was drafted

 

Sailor around 1957

 

A million men or more left their hearts in San Francisco to be reminded by this song.  When we returned and the troop ships passed under the Golden Gate a million uniform hats went into the air:

 

The Berlin Crisis of 1961 brought this one to the top.  I listened to it in basic training along with everyone else they could drag out of the sticks to wear a uniform:

 

The constant ‘brink of war’ cold war military also serving as armies of occupation:

 

 

 

 

Then along came Vietnam

 

 

 

And those who decided Canada made more sense

 

than the Okie from Muskogie

 

and politicians singing For God Country and My Baby to the tune of 1000 bottles of beer on the wall in 10 part harmony for another half-century.