Category Archives: Music

Elvis Presley Blues

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

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…

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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

Musical archeology

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

Hell, it’s already January.  Damned year is almost over and I’ve got a lot to do.  Jeanne had a box here with what’s left of my old hundreds of cassette tapes I converted during the 1980s from vinyl LPs.  I’ve tried to get as much as possible from the local library and InterLibrary loan, but some of it just isn’t out there.

I say it isn’t, but probably a lot is on YouTube and available from Amazon if a person pays for it.  But I donealready paid for this back in the day when music was music and everyone was glad of it.

Time was I believed my favorite bluegrass album was Jonathan Edwards and Seldom Scene, Blue Ridge.

However, I eventually found this one elsewhere digitized.  The library was also helpful finding old Louvin Brothers I didn’t expect to be available anywhere.

On the other hand, I once believed The Red Clay Ramblers were the best bluegrass ever and had a lot on cassette.  And today nobody’s ever heard of them for the most part.  The Johnson County Library doesn’t have any of their work.

So most of what I have by RCR on tape will be all I ever listen to in the future once I convert it to MP3.  Then there’s Ned Sublette’s early years, a guy I used to know named Jerry Sires, along with [not enough] other tapes Jeanne salvaged from my ruins after Y2K.

A new project for 2015 and the damned year’s almost gone already.  These things take time.

Old Jules

Alice Cooper: “My fake beheadings are ‘way better then theirs!”

Alice Cooper covers the Bob Dylan song “Isis”

By Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor (apologies to Bob & Alice, and Ted & Carol too if that will stop them from suing us)

http://www.veteranstoday.com/2014/09/04/alices-isis/

By Kevin Barrett, Veterans Today Editor (apologies to Bob & Alice, and Ted & Carol too if that will stop them from suing us)

I was “captured” by “ISIS” on the fifth day of May
Knew my head wouldn’t stay on my neck very long
So I gave them the slip and I rode straight away
For the Occupied country where I could not go wrong

I came to a studio of darkness and light
With a fake desert backdrop and a fake Arab town
There were Hollywood props on my left and my right
And a fake chopping block where I laid my head down

A mensch in the corner drew his ersatz sword
I knew right away it was not ordinary
He said “Should we chop your head off now or later?”
I said “For real?”. He said “That ain’t necessary”

He showed me where Fatty Bin Laden was faked
I gave him my neck and he gave me his word
That his chop wouldn’t hurt and my neck wouldn’t break
I said “That’s the best news that I’ve ever heard”

I was thinking about silver I was thinking about gold
I was thinking about diamonds and the Rothschilds too
As he lifted his sword my neck tingled so cold
That the nape-hairs stood upright and my throat turned blue

When he brought down that sword I almost crapped my pants
But it stopped one sixteenth of an inch from my neck
Then they altered the footage and added some gore
Though it wasn’t a triumph of special effects

Then they gave me a new face and twenty new names
And said “keep it quiet or we’ll chop it for real”
I accepted their money and half of the blame
And gave them my word that I never would squeal

On the flight to wherever my airplane was headed
The guy in the next seat was reading the news
When I saw my old face and read I was beheaded
I was sure glad I wasn’t in that poor schmuck’s shoes

They broke into my tomb but the casket was empty
There was no headless body, they knew they’d been had
The conspiracy theorists were yammering plenty
My “beheading,” they argued, was pathetically bad

They revealed my secret, but what did it matter?
The media never would print what they said
And so – bugger all their conspiracy chatter! –
I did well when I let “ISIS” chop off my head

Damned treadmill distractions

Hi readers.  I was on the treadmill down at the Olathe Community Center around 0530 this morning, walking to New Orleans, Fats Domino style when some guy in an orange jump suite completed the preliminaries to get his head chopped off.  Fairly unexpected thing on my end.  He explained his loss was a consequence of the US foreign policy in the Middle East.

But the guy in the black Ninja-like garb might have coerced him to say that.  Might have told him there were other body parts could be cut off in advance if it weren’t properly explained for viewers.  Afterward he offered up another guy in an orange jump suit and asserted he’d be next, depending on the activities of the US wossname, president in the White House.

Luckily the guy in the Ninja suit spoke with a British accent.  Gives the prez and all the lackeys an opportunity to send a drone to knock off someone we don’t like in the British Isles.  Maybe snag the British Museum and haul it off just to teach them a lesson.

But the fact is, the guy in the orange jumpsuit is probably not in a position to judge who’s at fault for his demise, unless it’s the Ninja.  Nobody ever said running around in pestholes full of poisonous human beings was going to be without some measure of risk.  Maybe it’s his own fault he was there, the orange jump suit guy.  If it was the fault of his government, I hope he had time to ask himself whether the fault existed back before the day he was kidnapped.  And if it did, was he aware of it.  And if he was cognizant of it, was it his own fault he didn’t beat feet out of harms way?  Or was it the fault of a government comprised of scum who aspire to run the United States?

I’m in a mood to say it was his own damned fault.  If he didn’t know it was a good place to get your head chopped off, he should have.

Same with all these damned US troops who reenlist after having gone over there already and seen it if they were too stupid to know before they enlisted the first time.  When one of them gets killed, hell, it ain’t as though he wasn’t asking for it.  Begging for it.

Too bad.  Maybe, though, it’s better in the long run.  The damned human gene pool doesn’t need any more stupidity than it’s already got, with a lion share in governments, pulpits, Pentagon-like places, and the Middle East.

Harmless stupidity takes place in safe environments.  Stupidity that gets people killed gets people killed.  Condolences to the kinfolks and hope you teach your other kids to use their heads instead of getting them chopped off.

Old Jules

Bob Dylan goes Senior Citizen

Hi readers.  Thanks for coming by for a read.

I’m not a person who toadies to celebrities.  I couldn’t care less what they say or think about anything, what they do with their genitalia, what they eat, drink, or snort.  If I like something they do on stage, on audio, on screen, that’s what gets my attention.  I mostly don’t read biographies, autobiographies, mostly don’t watch interviews.

With rare exceptions.  Leonard Cohen interests me.  Louden Wainwright III interests me, Guy Clark interests me, and Tom Russell interests me.  But Guy Clark and Leonard Cohen are the only ones I’d ever seen interviewed until now.

But I got to wondering whether Bob Dylan is still alive.  I first was introduced to his music at a place on Bleeker Street in Greenwich Village during the summer of 1964.  McDougal’s might have been the name of the place.  And same as everyone else at that time and place, I was blown away.

So I went to the miracle of YouTube and started searching, thinking at least to hear some good music.  And there they were, interviews with Bob Dylan, interviews with other people talking about Bob Dylan.  Dozens of them scattered over half-century.  So I picked a few, beginning with back when he was my age, 70 times around the sun.

Bob Dylan Interview and a very revealing one at that

For Bob Dylan it is Always the Same Interview 42 Years in 24 Minutes

Bob Dylan.Funny Interview.

I don’t care what the Beetles think, or thought about Bob Dylan, nor about anything else for that matter.  But they did have a few good songs, and maybe what they say about Dylan will interest someone.

The Beatles talk about Bob Dylan

John Lennon and Bob Dylan Conversation

Bob Dylan and John Lennon on God and Religion

Bob Dylan: San Francisco Press Conference (Dec. 1965) 1/6

Bob Dylan – After The Crash – 1966-1978 (Part 1 of 12).mp4

I never knew Dylan got religion, or whatever it was he got, but I’m glad for him, though I don’t care whether he did or not from the perspective of knowing about it.

Bob Dylan – The Gospel Interview

Bob Dylan 1966 Interview, WBAI

Bob Dylan – Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award – 1991 Grammy Awards

Dylan and I didn’t know it because we never got around to discussing the matter, but we shared a lot of respect for Johnny Cash.  Johnny Cash, I suppose, might qualify as another person I’d have possibly cared what he thought about some things.  If I’d ever met Dylan we could have regaled one another with Johnny Cash respect, I suppose.

Bob Dylan on Johnny Cash. NDH outtake

I’ve mentioned Loudon Wainwright III is one of the people I’m mildly interested in what they might say about something outside the context of a song.  Well, in this instance I didn’t have to look outside Loudon Wainwright’s music.  He wrote this song to Dylan on Dylan’s 50th birthday.

Loudon Wainwright III – Talking New Bob Dylan.wmv

The Simon and Garfunkel thing about Dylan has always seemed to me to be a cheap shot.  Dylan wrote the song that launched Simon and Garfunkel into fame.  Sound of Silence.  But when Dylan left ‘folk’ behind to invent ‘folk rock’ Simon and Garfunkel got offended enough to personally attack him in song:  Bastards, both of them.  Screw them, though they did one-hell-of-a-lot of great songs.  If they’d kept their nasty little comments off their albums I’d never have known.  Pricks.

Simon & Garfunkel – A Simple Desultory Philippic (or How I Was Robert McNamara’d into Submission)

The Sound of Silence (Original Version from 1964)

Peter, Paul and Mary got pretty pissed when Dylan drifted to folk rock, too.  I saw an interview with one of the guys several years later in which he said it was the only really nasty attack song they ever recorded, and that they all regretted it.  Something about what he said made me thing it was directed at Dylan.  Listen to the words carefully to hear the sarcasm “between the lines”.  But at least they did it with some class.  They made a lot of money and miles off Bob Dylan creations.

I dig rock n roll music

So I think I’ll just toadie to Loudon Wainwright’s birthday tribute to Bobby Dylan and make a wish when I think he’s blowing out the candles in the wind:  “Here’s hoping you outlive me Bobby Dylan.  I’d like an excuse to begin my next lifetime in time to hear what you do after I exit the vehicle.”

Old Jules

Kinky Friedman: “Israel is Texas in the Middle East”

Hi readers.  I’ve been enjoying Kinky Friedman’s songs since the early 1970s.  Back when his band was, Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys.  I don’t agree with him in a lot of ways, but his views are, at least, worth hearing and considering.

The only country-western song ever written about the Holocaust, Ride’em Jewboy, stands up as one of the best CW songs of the 20th Century in my opinion.  Give it a listen.

Heck, he’s the founder of the Utopia Animal Mission rescuing stray dogs.  He can be wrong about a lot without being wrong about a lot else.

In a lot of ways he didn’t intend I think he’s probably right when he says Israel is Texas in the Middle east.  It used to be Ireland in the Middle East until the Northern Irish got tired of blood feuding with the kinfolks over religion.  But Texas never met a war it didn’t like and killing and exploiting the weak and powerless is a song that resonates among them.  A lot more than Ride’em Jewboy ever did.

Old Jules