Damn 2020, really?

October 28, 2020

Jerry Jeff Walker and Billy Joe Shaver passing literally within days of each other? That’s cold.

It’s pretty safe to say that Texas music wouldn’t have been what it was without either of them. Robert Earl Keen was my first proper introduction to Texas music, but Jerry Jeff wasn’t far behind. First place I ever heard Jerry Jeff was on the radio, believe it or not, on Rowdy Yates’ classic country show that was then called Solid Gold Sunday on KILT 100.3 FM.

“…this song is by Ray Wylie Hubbard…”

Honestly, I think if I was asked to introduce Texas music to someone, I would recommend Viva Terlingua to them and tell them to go from there.

And what to say about Billy Joe Shaver that doesn’t come up woefully short? He was one of the greatest, most authentic songwriters of our time. Hawking the tables at Green Gables, his grandma’s old-age pension being the reason he’s standing here today, shooting a man in Waco but not being able to talk much about it…all of that stuff came straight from his life. That’s really about as authentic as it gets, and we’ll never see the likes of him again.

But much like the songs he leaves behind him, he’s gonna live forever now.

Just an observation…

October 23, 2020

Sigh.

Look. Jason Aldean’s “Got What I Got” has precisely fuck-all to do with anything George Strait, Merle Haggard, Bill Monroe, or Hank Williams EVER did, and I would tell him that to his PUDGY ASS FACE given the opportunity. Really, I don’t know where people get off associating mainstream country music with NASCAR anymore, because if NASCAR had “evolved” as country music had, they’d be racing electric go-carts or something.

Oh, this is long, long overdue.

October 5, 2020

So a few weeks ago, Kevin over at Country Universe reviewed a greatest-hits album from Roy Clark. I didn’t think anything of it until this morning, when I went on one of my periodic Roy Clark searches on Spotify…

…and found this.

Oh, huh. Are these all original recordings?

Yes. Yes they are!

More research yielded this:

Country Hero Roy Clark’s ‘Greatest Hits’ Gets CD And Digital Release

The Craft Recordings set revisits the native Virginian’s definitive retrospective and the only one currently in print.

This is long, long overdue. Too many people only know Roy Clark for Hee Haw (a show I loved, by the way), but he was a great singer and a fantastic instrumentalist in his own right.

One of the greatest songs in country and pop music history, and this is probably the definitive version of it.

I’m sure he’ll fit right in.

August 24, 2020

From today’s San Antonio Express-News:

Report: Nets will reportedly pursue Spurs’ Gregg Popovich to be next head coach

Sure, OK. They’ll love him up there.

For the record, I wouldn’t care about Popovich being so vocal with his leftist opinions if the Spurs were actually winning games; as things are, though, with the Spurs missing the playoffs for the first time in more than 2 decades it just comes off as a distraction from the fact that they aren’t.

Yeah, I know. Five championships. We keep this up and we’re going to start sounding like Dallas Cowboys fans.

“Five championships? Well that’s all fine and good, but considering the latest one is old enough to drink…”

I know it’d be a while before the Spurs got to that point, but still, as I noted elsewhere, y’all know what he and Steve Kerr (the other “most woke coach in the NBA”) have in common, right?

Both of their teams sucked this season. Golden State’s record was even worse than that of the Spurs.

I was all ready to give Kerr credit, too.

And I don’t even like Donald Trump.

…fkin’ really, dude?

August 20, 2020

Kane Brown meme from Farce the Music…

kanedirt

Maybe those “Red Dirt country people” just think Kane Brown sucks. As I have pointed out before, Jason Boland cut his musical teeth on Judas Priest and Iron Maiden in addition to Hag and Cash, and Cody Canada is a pretty big fan of Pantera and its associated bands. Now, I know all of those aren’t exactly newer bands, but we all know what Kane Brown is getting at, which is that all those people who have less than positive things to say about him don’t appreciate any other kind of music, which is a bit ignorant, really.

And even if they didn’t like other kinds of music, if they only listened to one kind of music, so what? As I have also I it before, the more kind of music you claim to like, the less time you have to really dig into a particular genre or whatever, and you’re liable to miss out on good stuff from that genre if you’re listening to so much other stuff. There are only so many hours in the day.

In the latest installment of “they’ll call anything ‘country’ these days…”

August 9, 2020

Earlier today, after spinning some old Ray Price, just for shits and grins, I figured I’d browse the “country” section on Spotify. In the New Releases section I saw an album titled Chris Tomlin and Friends. Again, just for shits and grins, I clicked on it…

…and suffice it to say, the list of guest vocalists is just as jam-packed with suck and fail as I thought it would be, to say nothing of the songwriters. On one hand, you’d have thought a Texas boy like Tomlin would have known better — but then, I guess, on the other hand, if he did know better he wouldn’t have been doing contemporary Christian in the first place.

On the gripping hand…ponder, if you will, the rich, oh-so-flavorful irony of an allegedly Christian artist partnering up with people who sing songs with lyrics such as:

And all I wanna do is lace my J’s and lace some Jack in my Coke…I sit you up on a kitchen sink, and stick the pink umbrella in your drink…

and

You’re shakin’ that money maker, like a heart breaker, like your college major was twistin’ and tearin’ up Friday nights, love the way you’re wearin’ those jeans so tight…

Now, granted, I’m no prude, but it just makes Tomlin look a bit, shall we say, hollow and fake as an artist given the genre in which he made his name. (And given the reputation of that genre with so many people, you could say he’s already behind the eight-ball to begin with.) No doubt the sound is scarcely better. A musician friend of mine had this to say about Tomlin:

Tomlin’s music is pretty terrible, repetitive & unimaginative. Played a few of his songs in the church band many years ago, and even my guitar playin’ couldn’t get all the “suck” out of it.

To which my reply was:

It’s pretty impressive that someone could suck for that long and still have a career these many years later. Although I guess “going country” would be the perfect move for him with as low as Nashville’s standards have sunk in the last decade or so.

“I hear down there it’s changed, you see. Well, they’re not as backward as they used to be.”

“PREPARE FOR NUCLEAR ATTACK! Warned but did not heed…”

August 6, 2020

75 years ago this week….

World War II had been raging on for not quite 6 years. The Germans had surrendered and the war in Europe had ended three months before — but the war in the Pacific was still grinding on, even after the low-level bombing raids starting back in March 1945 that left most of Japan’s major cities in ruins and the cockpits of the American B-29s redolent of burning flesh. Plans had already been drawn up for an invasion of Japan, codenamed Operation: Downfall, to commence in November. It was expected to make Overlord look like a fun day at the beach; so many Purple Hearts were minted preparing for Downfall that we’re still handing them out.

But what no one but a select few knew at the time was that the United States had been working feverishly to develop a new type of weapon based on nuclear fission, and tested it on July 16 in the New Mexico desert…and the test was, of course, a rousing success. Within hours of that test, the USS Indianapolis departed San Francisco with the components of the first bomb to be dropped, code-named “Little Boy,” and arrived at Tinian Island on July 26. (The components for the second bomb, “Fat Man,” were flown to Tinian from Albuquerque’s Kirtland Army Air Field the next week.)

The day that the Indianapolis arrived at Tinian, the Allies issued the Potsdam Declaration, outlining the terms of surrender for Japan. Two days later Japanese media reported said terms were rejected by the Japanese government.

And so, at 2:45 AM Tinian time on Aug. 6, the Enola Gay took off. 6 1/2 hours later, at 8:15 AM Hiroshima time, the first weapon exploded. It was 800 feet off its initial aiming point, with less than 2 percent of its material fissioning…

…and even with that, the destruction was horrendous. From Wikipedia:

“People on the ground reported a pika (ピカ)—a brilliant flash of light—followed by a don (ドン)—a loud booming sound. Some 70,000–80,000 people, around 30 percent of the population of Hiroshima at the time, were killed by the blast and resultant firestorm, and another 70,000 were injured. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 Japanese military personnel were killed. U.S. surveys estimated that 4.7 square miles (12 square kilometers) of the city were destroyed. Japanese officials determined that 69 percent of Hiroshima’s buildings were destroyed and another 6 to 7 percent damaged.“

The next day, several high-ranking Army Air Forces personnel met on Guam, deciding to drop another bomb since there was no indication that Japanese surrender was forthcoming.

Two days after that, at 3:47 AM on Aug. 9, Bock’s Car lifted off from Tinian headed for Kokura. Between a failed fuel pump and cloud cover over Kokura, they had to divert to the secondary target of Nagasaki; that bomb was dropped at 11:02, with similar results. From Wikipedia:

“The Fat Man weapon, containing a core of about 5 kg (11 lb) of plutonium, was dropped over the city’s industrial valley. It exploded 47 seconds later at 1,650 ± 33 ft (503 ± 10 m), above a tennis court, halfway between the Mitsubishi Steel and Arms Works in the south and the Nagasaki Arsenal in the north. This was nearly 3 km (1.9 mi) northwest of the planned hypocenter; the blast was confined to the Urakami Valley and a major portion of the city was protected by the intervening hills…

“Although the bomb was more powerful than the one used on Hiroshima, its effects were confined by hillsides to the narrow Urakami Valley. Of 7,500 Japanese employees who worked inside the Mitsubishi Munitions plant, including ‘mobilized’ students and regular workers, 6,200 were killed. Some 17,000–22,000 others who worked in other war plants and factories in the city died as well. Casualty estimates for immediate deaths vary widely, ranging from 22,000 to 75,000. At least 35,000–40,000 people were killed and 60,000 others injured.”

General Leslie Groves, the director of the Manhattan Project (so named because it was under the supervision of the Manhattan district of the Army Corps of Engineers) expected to have several more bombs readied for use over the next several months; as it happened, they turned out to be not needed, as the Japanese surrendered on August 14….

Another all-time favorite.

July 27, 2020

…or two…

Some time ago, I was listening to Daryle Singletary’s discography on Spotify. He recorded an album of cover songs back in 2002 titled That’s Why I Sing This Way. This was one of the songs from that album.

Now, that is a great version, but the original, to me, is just transcendent.

I first heard that song some 20 years ago on KORA 98.3 in Bryan-College Station and fell in love with it. Pretty sure that was the only terrestrial radio station I’d ever heard that song on. What makes it all the more amazing was that Ryles was only 17 years old when he recorded that song, and that album. I was reminded of the song when I was listening to the Singletary album a few weeks ago, and I thought, Oh hey, let’s see if the original is on here.

It sure was…along with the rest of the album.  And the album was also available on Amazon, albeit only on mp3. I had never been able to find it anywhere before, so you better believe I snapped it up. Really glad I did, too, as it has some great stuff on it, including a version of “Little Green Apples” that’s second only to Roger Miller’s, and a cover of “Wichita Lineman” that compares surprisingly well to the iconic Glen Campbell version. Not surprising, though, as they do have quite similar voices.

I was really quite pleased to find this one.

The latest jam.

July 21, 2020

I was first made aware of Within Temptation not long after I heard Sharon den Adel on “Isle of Evermore” from Avantasia’s 2016 album Ghostlights

…and I thought, “wow, she has a great voice.” Not long ago, I asked a buddy what album I should get if I was going to check them out.

“Start with The Heart of Everything. That one’s pretty accessible.”

Man, this is great stuff.

And as good as the studio version is, the live version with the symphony is on another level entirely…

Well, that settles that.

June 5, 2020

So, if you had any remaining doubt that public officials have wrecked the American economy for no good reason at all, check this out.

Suddenly, Public Health Officials Say Social Justice Matters More Than Social Distance

Was it fair to decry conservatives’ protests about the economy while supporting these new protests? And if tens of thousands of people get sick from Covid-19 as a result of these mass gatherings against racism, is that an acceptable trade-off? Those are questions that a half-dozen coronavirus experts who said they support the protests declined to directly answer.

That pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? I mean, there’s always the possibility that they don’t think it’s an acceptable trade-off but are afraid of saying so, in which case I really couldn’t blame them — because, well, cancel culture and all that. But honestly, if they’re on record as supporting the protests, I don’t think that’s it. And that really only leaves one possibility here — namely, that their professional opinions are subject to sociopolitical considerations that of course things like viruses know nothing of and care nothing about, so perhaps those opinions aren’t worth anything. Perish the thought, amirite?

On a related note

Huh. I am just gonna come right out and say it: if Jennifer Nuzzo’s professional opinions are that subject to sociopolitical considerations, which they certainly appear to be from this tweet, she needs to surrender her medical license and go to work at the dollar store.

EDIT: I have been informed that Ms. Nuzzo is not actually an MD, but a PhD. Which, honestly, makes her opinions on this worth that much less. My opinion on her professional opinions in relation to sociopolitical considerations remains.