Monday, March 27, 2006

What's in a name?

Forsooth Y'all!Shakespeare mentioned that a rose by any other name smells just as sweet, but that doesn't negate the impact a name can have. This is doubly true when it comes to music. A catchy song title can do a world of good to a song. Similarly an extremely obscure title can make it difficult for people to find a song. How many hours have you spent looking for a tune who's name is nothing like a lyric that has tunneled deep into your mind? It is with this in mind that I bring you today's strange holiday Quirky Country Music Song Titles Day.

Country music has long been the home of the running joke of depressing music and tragedy. Just look to the old joke of what happens when you play country music backwards.......the mines reopen, your dog comes back from the dead, your wife returns, etc.....

In checking this one out I came across countless lists of tragically real titles as well as some funny made up ones. Some highlights include
    If You Can't Live Without Me, Why Aren't You Dead?
    High Cost of Low Living
    I Wish I Were In Dixie Tonight, But She's Out Of Town
    Get Off the Table, Mabel (The Two Dollars is for the Beer)
    The Pint of No Return (how many of us have stared at this fated cup)

For those of us that actually are country music fans - a moment of silence for Buck Owens. Born Alvis E Owens on Aug. 12, 1929, he started life mired in poverty. The rough start saw him out of school by grade 9 and working the fields back in the late 30's. His life brought him around to Bakersfield in 1951, after he started playing guitar with Bill Woods and the Orange Blossom Playboys. Interesting enough he figured music wouldn't pan out for himself and began work as a DJ and ad salesman in the late 50's. It was then that his music career took a life of its own. After a string of hits he found himself well known and took on Hee-Haw, a move he credits with trashing his album sales due to his willing portrayal as a dimwitted rube.
    "Early on I was doing three songs in an hour, and at that time all my songs were hits," he told The Washington Post in 1989. "It slowly gravitated to the point where I did a hell of a lot of comedy and hardly any music. Weekly TV, that's death for recording artists. It's too much exposure. There's no longer any mystery."
The show may have undermined his musical credibility in his mind, but it bolstered his bank account. Being a smart investor, Buck used his TV money to help purchase a few radio stations and small newspapers in Bakersfield and Arizona.

His later years were laced with tragedy as he lost Don Rich, his band's guitarist and one of his best friends, died in a motorcycle crash. His recording contract with Capitol Records ended although he was smart enough to negotiate ownership of his master recordings from the label. He took his tunes to the Warner Brothers label but produced no big hit songs during his time there. With this chain of events he bailed on the music scene for about 10 years and was coaxed out of retirement by Dwight Yoakam, who calls Buck an influence.

Buck performed even to the end. Just hours before dying in his sleep he was playing with his band at Buck Owens' Crystal Palace. As he was headed out he had fans outside who told him of their long journey to see him and he waded back in for another set. Buck died in his sleep and leaves three sons behind. Rest in peace Buck. Heaven has a new sound to add to their repertoire.


Blogger Laura said...

That was a really nice tribute. Maybe in between the end and whatever is next people can spend time reading their tributes, seeing how family and friends remember them. That would be a nice thing. We won't ever know till we get there. :)

11:37:00 AM  
Blogger Cynthia E. Bagley said...

Peace. :-)

1:52:00 PM  
Blogger redheaded said...

i avoid country music at all cost...HOWEVER, i remember watching ol' buck and roy on Hee Haw. He is one of those oldies but goodies.

8:59:00 PM  
Blogger mrhaney said...

i love country and western music and have enjoyed buck owens songs through out the years. i have some of his songs on my computer. he was a good guy and all his fans will miss him.

12:53:00 AM  
Blogger Le laquet said...

Lovely writing! I love country music :o)

1:22:00 AM  

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