Keep on the sunny side

We’ll go honky-tonkin’ ’round this town.

Anyone besides Charlie Pierce and me digging the latest Ken Burns documentary, “Country Music,” on PBS?

I’ve watched the first three episodes and my toes have been tapping throughout.

I didn’t grow up on country music, though the old man was from Florida by way of Louisiana and mom was out of Iowa. They were into crooners like Frank Sinatra and big bands like Glenn Miller and His Orchestra.

Country got me as a hippie, of all things, when the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, Flying Burrito Brothers, New Riders of the Purple Sage, Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen, and other alt-country groups were ascendant.

Those dudes get their due in Episode 6, and I can’t wait. Yeeeeeeehawwww, etc.

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28 Responses to “Keep on the sunny side”

  1. SAO' Says:

    Any documentary or interview with Bobby Braddock is must-see, must-Watch appointment viewing.

    I’ve listened to this episode 100 times

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      “You Can’t Have Your Kate and Edith Too.” Ho, ho. That should be in the Song Titles Hall of Fame, right up there with Hoagy Carmichael’s “I’m a Cranky Old Yank in a Clanky Old Tank on the Streets of Yokohama with My Honolulu Mama Doin’ Those Beat-o, Beat-o, Flat-On-My-Seat-o, Hirohito Blues.”

  2. Pat O'Brien Says:

    We watched the concert and the first two episodes. Lot’s of history there, and, like all the Ken Burns series we have watched, very well done. Peter Coyote could read the Duke City yellow pages and make it interesting. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band got me started on bluegrass in general and Doc Watson in particular. See Patrick, 3 chords and the truth makes you a guitar player. Me too.

  3. Charley Auer Says:

    Haven’t seen any yet, have it recorded. Looking forward to seeing it though.
    My first 17 years were in Cincinnati and northern Kentucky (Newport). The family owned a saloon, Friday, Saturday and Sunday we had live country music at night. I do not like country music to this day. There are a very few exceptions. I was into blues and jazz from the 8th grade on. Cincinnati had a great black radio station!

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      As the series makes clear, “country” music covers a lot of musical territory from bluegrass to gospel, rockabilly to the “Nashville Sound.” Some of it makes my flesh crawl, the same way bad rock music does. But boy hidy, when you hear a good ’un. …

      I misspoke above when I said country didn’t lasso me until I was a hippie. I was an Elvis man as a sprout in San Antone, though I’d never heard the word “rockabilly.”

      When the Beatles debuted on Ed Sullivan I snorted and said they were a novelty act and would vanish like a mouse fart in a blue norther. The King would reign forever.

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Just started watching it and as usual, Ken Burns does a stellar job.

    Back in grad school, one of my riding buddies, Bill Meyers (some here may recognize the name, as Bill retired from being a professor of geology and became a USCF national champion in his age category) had a son who crafted banjos and played in traditional/country music on Long Island. That’s where I first paid attention to this genre. It was awesome. I don’t know what became of his son Karlin except at some point he moved to Switzerland and got married. Might be this guy, if anyone reads German…

  5. ryansubike Says:

    One of my favorite lines from the blues brothers movie (at Bobs country bunker) we got both kinds of music country and western. Country is not my favorite genre but I loved that scene.

  6. Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

    Saw a promo for the show, but haven’t watched much of any of the Burn’s projects over the years. Meanwhile PO’G, did ya see the NYT just did a “36 Hours in…” on the Duke City? Last week it was our soon-to-be-home of Ortigia/Siracusa – go figure. We’re hoping to have the keys to the place by Tuesday of next week 🙂

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      I saw the Duke City piece, Larry. The Visit Albuquerque people must be delighted it didn’t mention the homicide rate. We had three more folks shot dead last night. This sort of thing tends to discourage the casual visitor, who often travels without a shootin’ iron.

      Here’s hoping your new hometown has more love and less lead.

      Tell ya what, though: Sure looks like you got yourself some good eatin’ down to there. You’re gonna have to log plenty kilometers to keep the kilos from piling up.

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        Well, isn’t the answer (always) more guns? We have a center for the study of organized crime right here on the island, but the NYT didn’t mention that either.
        I always say it’s the DISorganized crime you need to be careful about, though in Napoli when we were there some really unskilled hit man shot a little girl as he was trying to take out the rival mobster…and he didn’t even kill the rival (or the kid, thank gawd)! I’m sure the boss was really PO’d, especially when the cops rounded him up within a few days. Bad for biz.
        The food IS really great here, but none of it is really high in fat so as long as you don’t go nuts on the pasta and bread and keep up the fish, fruit and vegetables you don’t have to ride that many kms – but the weather’s good enough most of the time that you can ride plenty!

  7. Carl Duellman Says:

    i’m trapped watching season 3 of poldark. i’m hoping i get permission to watch the country music documentary next.

    • Pat O'Brien Says:

      We really enjoyed Poldark from the beginning, and we watched every episode. Season 5, the last one, begins September 29th.

      We went to see the Downton Abbey movie yesterday. I guess we are in the evil clutches of PBS and the BBC. Beats the shit out of Faux News and BSNBC.

      • Hurben Says:

        My daughter was over from Australia so we went to see ‘Once upon a time in Hollywood’ (as you do). Actors that I generally don’t rate but a great movie.

      • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

        At the Downton Abbey movie did they stock the concession stands with Maalox, Ensure and Boost instead of the usual offerings? My in-laws used to try to force us to watch the PBS TV episodes of that and Doc Martin. ZZZzzzzzz.

      • Pat O'Brien Says:

        Number one in sales at the US box office last weekend. Beat out Ad Astra and Rambo Last Blood. Yea, most of the folks in the theatre were older, for the matinee anyway. The ticket guy said the Friday night showings were sold out. And your point is?

        • SAO' Says:

          There some cosmic mental jujitsu going on when you’re such a grumpy old man that you piss on a PBS miniseries.

          Next let’s complain that kids today cut their hair too short and their music isn’t loud enough

          Hey you! Get on my lawn!!

        • Larry T. atCycleItalia Says:

          My point is that whatever it is about British soap operas is lost on me, though I’d bet my in-laws were excited about it – and wondering when it’ll be streamed into their living room at the retirement home.
          Are you gonna claim that just because it’s on PBS everyone should like it? Antiques Roadshow? Shoot me now, please.

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Never made that claim. Just said that I liked it. Now, get off my lawn Wait, I don’t have a lawn, just gravel.

  8. John Crenshaw Says:

    My family – especially my mom and her sister – were big fans of country music. I grew up hearing Jimmie Rodgers, Bob Wills, Ray Price, Earnest Tubbs, Hank Williams and their successors beginning in the late ‘40s through the 1970s. We regularly listened to the Grand Ol’ Opry, Louisiana Hayride and Big D Jamboree and local stations — on battery-operated radios. (My brother and I also listened to the radio mystery, western and sci-fi broadcasts through my early teens). I played drums in a C&W band at La Cantina, an, umm, “boisterous” bar and dancehall in Las Vegas (NM) and DJ’ed country music in my teens and early 20s in Vegas and Santa Fe. My personal interest continued through the reigns of Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson, but waned with the segue into today’s pop country (imitation rock sung with a twang, in my estimation.) I’m really enjoying this series – lots of illuminating details and history I never knew or had long forgotten.

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