The Country Music of my day no-longer exists. Today, there’s barely a resemblance to the music I fell in love with back then. I know everything changes, still, I yearn for the days of my time, when the legends of Country music were alive and well. When Johnny Cash was the man in black and Waylon and Willie were Outlaws.
COUNTRY MUSIC OF MY DAY
When I think about, I suppose the reason I love old country music, is because their songs all tell stories. Stories about life, stories you could relate to. Back then the words were always the most important part of a country song, always clear and upfront. Each artist unique in his/her delivery but always sang with heartfelt conviction.
They sang about life, about hardship, about loosing love and loved ones. About memories. And about how sometimes — life hurts. As in this old song by George Jones. One that always brings a tear to my eye, reminding me of the people in my life that I’ve lost.
Songs about aging and remembering tough times as uniquely done by Jamie Johnson in his haunting song — You should of seen it in color.
But not all Country Music is about Hurting or loosing someone. Sometimes its upbeat, catchy and fun. Like Alan Jackson and his song — Little Bitty!
But they all tell a story. Whether it be about hard times, good times or stories about growing up. Like the fun song “Suds in the Bucket.” by Sara Evans.
Yet the Outlaw Country songs of my time, were my favorites. My old band “The County Outlaws” named accordingly so. Waylon and Willie, Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash and Hank Williams Jr. among my favorites. Even better when you get a bunch of old Outlaws together in one band! Like — The Highwaymen!
Somewhere along the line, country music as I once knew it disappeared. The powers in control deciding that the old hurting songs and the singers who sang them were no longer needed. They decided it was time for a change. And so just like that they cut the roots from the old country music tree and watched it wither and fall.
They stopped playing the old Country songs and the artists that made them famous. In its place they put what they called New Country. Deeming it a more modern and contemporary sound.
Some say, on that day of decision, that the murder of country music was committed — Committed down on music row.
Today you’d be hard pressed to find Merle Haggard, Conway Twitty or even George Jones on the radio. Nor George Strait, Brooks and Dunn or Alan Jackson to name a few others. All of them old favorites of mine that I grew up listening to and later singing their songs.
Yeah, I know the world changes and time moves on, yet nostalgia of those good old days remains dear to my heart. I miss that era of country music (mid 70s- late 80’s) because those artists, those songs were of my time. And the legends that came before them, like Hank Williams, Patsy Cline, and Roy Acuff are rooted as the pioneers of old time classic country music.
NOTE: For a full detailed look back at country music. I recommend Ken Burn’s “The History of Country Music.” I caught it on Tv as a PBS special. Multiple episodes, chronicling the rise of country music from its origins to the lives and deaths of its legends. An Incredible documentary with interviews, old video and narrative bio’s of almost all the important contributors to country music then and now.
Truly a masterpiece and a full history all wrapped up in one package. If you get the opportunity to see it, don’t pass it by.
IN CONCLUSION: Here is a list of some of my favorite country artists of my time and favorite songs they played. Perhaps some of them will be your old favorites as well?
Waylon Jennings — Good Hearted Woman, Luckenback Texas, Amanda, Only daddy that will Walk the Line, Are you sure Hank done it this a way, Mama’s don’t let your babies grow up to be Cowboys.
Johnny Cash — Folsom Prison Blues, I Walk the Line, A Boy Named Sue, Sunday Morning Coming Down, Ring of Fire.
Conway Twitty — Tight Fitting Jeans, Only Make Believe, Hello Darlin, The Image of me, Why Me Lord.
George Jones — He Stopped Loving her Today, Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes, A picture of me without you, She thinks I still care.
Merle Haggard — Are the Good Times really over for good, Okie from Muskogee, Daddy Frank, Momma Tried, Take me back home before I die.
Hank Williams Jr. — A Country Boy can Survive, Family Tradition, All my Rowdy Friends.
George Strait — Amarillo by Morning, You Look so Good in Love, Murder on Music Rowe, Troubadour.
Alan Jackson — Living on love, Summertime Blues, Little Bitty, Good Times, Don’t rock the Jukebox, In the real world, Mercury Blues.
Just to name a few! Lol!
THE WORD OF WAYNE
“Modern Country Music is a lot different than what I call Country. I enjoy the videos with the sound off. Really, some pretty girls, but I don’t know about the music.” — Merle Haggard
“When I first got to Nashville, somebody said that Kris Kristofferson and I were the only two people who could describe Dolly Parton without using their hands.” — Tom T. Hall
“I love Country Music but what happened to it?” — Bob Dylan