Friday, October 22, 2010

Plus One: Boring, Gas and Ding Dong

The Sign Says It All
Every once in a while, especially on a Friday, I'll use a little Google-fu and come up with some of the funnier and most unusual names of towns across America, like here and here. According to the feedback I've gotten on these posts, you guys seem to get a kick out of them. It's been several weeks since I've done a funny town names post, so I figured it must be time to do another one.

I write about this topic about every six weeks or so as a way to take a little break from the seriousness of everyday life. Believe it or not, there's a guy who's a photographer for a New York magazine who actually traveled around the country to the tune of 38,000 miles and 40 states and found a bunch of towns with odd names. Needless to say, the dude wrote a book about his travels and it's called, "Passing Gas: And Other Towns Along the American Highway. The "gas" in the book's title refers to Gas, Kansas. I found an excerpt from the book and thought you might get a chuckle out of it. I'll cite a couple of towns here, then to read more about Gas, Kansas and other oddly-named towns.

Here are a couple of my favorites:
  • " The people of Ding Dong, Texas, don't know how they became Ding Dongs. And
    they're not the only ones."
  • "And some towns can't live up to their reputation. A resident of Nice,
    Calif., was accused of being particularly nasty. Jay Leno once held up a
    Nice Man Arrested for Beating Wife".
It's an easy read, so if you've got a few minutes to burn (it is Friday and this is as good a time killer as anything),
click here to get a load of some of the places this guy came across. It's worth the time.

Country Music Month: The Texas Connection - Oom Papa Maow Maow

Most people who read this story will associate the Oak Ridge Boys with Tennessee and rightfully so. However, there is a Texas Connection with the Oaks. That would be lead singer Duane Allen who was born in Taylortown, Texas. This current iteration of the Oak Ridge Boys has been together for at least thirty years, except for a few years when William Lee Golden left the group only to rejoin them later. I met these guys when I was the emcee for their concert in Wichita Falls in about 1980 or '81. They were a great group of guys just to sit and talk with and they couldn't have made things easier for me because at the time I was a baby DJ. They put on a good show and the audience loved them and the guys loved the crowd right back. A more detailed bio of the Oaks can be found here on wikipedia.

I was lucky enough to have emceed their show just before the release one of the biggest songs of the year, or several years for that matter. The song? A remake of an old Dallas Frazier hit called Elvira. when the Oaks sang that song at the show, the crowd went ape! Elvira went on to become a super smash hit. The four guys we know as the Oak Ridge Boys today, Joe Bonsall ( a very funny man), Duane Allen, Richard Sterban and William Lee Golden, had some great songs in the '70s and '80s that should be staples on any Classic Country radio station in the USA. That they are still together after all these years is a testament to not only their talent, but to the quality of music they sing and they way they relate to their audience. They are plain old good guys who are happy doing what they do and it shows.

Some of my personal favorites by the Oaks are:
  • Thank God for Kids - Written by Eddie Raven, recently re-made by Kenny Chesney, this is a timeless song. I sing it to my little girls sometimes and, like the song says, "I look down in those trusting eyes" and realize how much God has blessed me and what a great job I have as a father. 
  • Y'all Come Back Saloon - Any song that has the phrase "late night benediction" in it is classic to me. Damn good song.
  • I Guess It Never Hurts to Hurt Sometimes - Remembering a lost love. Joe Bonsall sings and you feel the sense of loss.
  • Dream On - Because I like it.
  • I'll Be True to You - Lost love found again...but too late. Mucho el sad-o.
  • Sail Away - "go to sleep together with the rocking of water"...I am all in on that.
Other than the Statler Brothers, I can't think of another group that has done what the Oak Ridge Boys have done for Country Music. And I don't include Rascal Flats and all those "boy bands" that claim to be country. I don't mean to disparage Rascal Flats and groups like them, but who will be listening to Rascal Flats' music in 20 years? Anyone? Anyone? Buehler?

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