Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Plus One: The Wrap Up to Country Music Month - Bocephus

It's been a great Trip Through Time and Country Music over the last four weeks, but like all things, this too must end. We began our tribute with a bang with Garth Brooks, and now we're gonna end it with a BOOM! 

My favorite artist from any genre of music, bar none, is Hank Williams, Jr. I am very familiar with Hank's trials and tribulations over the years. He has told me about many of them in person, during the three times I had a chance to talk with him. As we drank shots of whiskey and nursed a few beers, Hank related to me one great story after another. Most of them were just general stories about the music biz, his role in it, his Dad (of course) and some other stuff. The one subject that Hank told me about was when on Augusta 8, 1975, he fell almost 500 feet down the side of Ajax Mountain in Montana. He went over the accident that nearly killed him in chilling detail. He probably would have fallen further down the side of the mountain except for one thing - a BFR. A Big Fuckin' Rock. He smashed into it face first into it and it opened his skull like it was on a door hinge, his brain exposed to the elements. Hank was hiking with his buddy, Dick Willey and Willey's son, Pete (I think, his name escapes me) when the accident happened. The senior Willey had to hike several miles back down Ajax to get help, while his son, who was about 10 years old, IIRC, tried to keep Hank awake and alert. The boy prove to be a hero. Hank told that if it hadn't been for the cold weather, he probably would have died right then and there. Two years of reconstructive surgery and rehab, including learning how to talk all over again, followed the fall down Ajax. Amazing story.

Already recorded prior to Hank's accident, was an album called Hank Williams, Jr and Friends. The link provides only clips of the songs, but I urge you to take a minute to listen to them. this album, in my opinion, is the single greatest album ever recorded. It was the single most influential album that initiated the Outlaw Movement in Country Music. I know, I know, Willie and Waylon and all that. I agree that W & W were the ones that popularized Outlaw Country, but Hank, Jr and Friends was before all that. Hank and Friends consists of nine songs that are my life set to music. It's the ultimate Country record. It's that great.

We know what many of Hank's hits are. Below I will list some of his better-known songs and some that aren't. But I promise you, they will all be good, and maybe you'll look at Hank from a different point of view.
What a great way to end our tribute to Country Music Month. Hank Williams, Jr, who once had NINE albums in The Top 75 at one time (!), has a ton of YouTube pages with his music on them. Make time to listen to some of Hank's songs that were never released as singles. There's a treasure trove of kick ass Country tunes and songs that paint a vivid image in your mind that I think you'll really like.

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Plus One: Country Music Month Tribute - Alan Jackson

Every so often Country Music seems to lose its focus and veer toward the Pop side of things. To clarify, when I said "Country Music" in the opening sentence, I meant the dumbasses in charge of the record companies who make the decisions as to what's going to be released. At the same time, there always seems to be an artist or two who remain loyal to their country roots and play, you know, actual Country Music. Imagine that. One such artist who has done exactly that for over two decades and is still going strong answers to the name Alan Eugene Jackson.

Alan Jackson burst on to the Country Music scene with his first major release, Here In the Real World and has never looked back. As of this writing, Jackson has had over 50 singles in the Billboard Magazine charts and twenty-five of those have been Number 1's. And every damned one of those chart singles have been COUNTRY. Alan and another Country Legend, George Strait, lambasted the idiots who pour out all this Pop pablum and try to market it as Country in Murder On Music Row. Now that's what I'm talkin' about! Between Strait and Jackson, they have about 75 Number 1's and probably 100 million album sales, plus over 50 years combined as major Country stars, and the dumbasses in Nashville just don't seem to get it. Simply amazing.

The following songs are why Alan Jackson records will be played on the radio long after we leave this world. Classics, every damned one of them. Because I said so.  :)
After listening to the songs on the list above, I realized that I need to crank up some Alan Jackson way more often. The man is incredible. His song writing is outstanding and the people who do his back up vocals are mo' betta than good. In case you couldn't tell, I really like this guy. :) For another 40 or 50 hits by Alan Jackson, here's the YouTube page for you. Listen to 'em all. You'll thank me later.

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