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Country Music - A film by Ken Burns

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Just now, Jerry Callo said:

A Philadelphia born front man of a band formed in West Virginia.

The guy is a student of the genre and a massive advocate for Texas country acts today.  Jerry Jeff Walker was born Ronald Clyde Crosby in Oneonta, NY.  

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2 hours ago, Al_4_ISU said:

Marty Stuart is a good choice to be Shelby Foote of this series.  His knowledge of country music is on par with anyone's.

As usual, Burns knew whom to interview.  Douglas Green (Ranger Doug) has written books on the singing cowboys, Bill Malone has written often about the whole genre, and Ray Benson is an expert on Bob Wills and Texas Swing.

I noticed the second episode seemed to have longer song clips, which I find a positive.

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34 minutes ago, tbone_ said:

Clyde Crosby could still have been a fine singer name.

 

Or Ronnie Clyde.

Leonard Slye would have been a fine name for a jazz musician/singer.   

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17 hours ago, Steel Shank said:

Interesting that Merle Haggard was in the audience when Cash played Folsom Prison.

San Quentin.  I really like how the show connects the dots between so many of the personalities.  Haggard/Cash, Elvis/Cash, Nelson/Wills, etc.

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1 hour ago, Jerry Callo said:

San Quentin.  I really like how the show connects the dots between so many of the personalities.  Haggard/Cash, Elvis/Cash, Nelson/Wills, etc.

You're right. Getting my hoosegows mixed up.

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On 9/20/2019 at 8:39 AM, Jerry Callo said:

San Quentin.  I really like how the show connects the dots between so many of the personalities.  Haggard/Cash, Elvis/Cash, Nelson/Wills, etc.

Family is from Texas,  dad was a preacher. Parents moved to California after serving as missionaries to the Navajo nation. Eventually moving to Central /Northern California where he has a part time prison ministry . Which is how as a 4 y old I sang on the same stage as Johnny Cash.

 

Not at the same time, not even the same show, just the same physical stage.

Edited by OWLVIS

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Family is from Texas,  dad was a preacher. Parents moved to California after serving as missionaries to the Navajo nation. Eventually moving to Central /Northern California where he has a part time prison ministry . Which is how as a 4 y old I sang on the same stage as Johnny Cash.
 
Not at the same time, not even the same show, just the same physical stage.

Now that is a winner csb!

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9 minutes ago, TexasBeta said:


Now that is a winner csb!

I doubt they'd let a 4 year old into a prison now- a -days. So much of this show reminds me of so many different moments in my life.

Grandfather was a tent revivalists in Texas Okie, Arky and LA. So all those early episodes were familiar.  And this Charlie Pride segment reminds me of the time my Dad was excited to take me  to a Charlie Pride show, telling me he had also been a baseball player ( Dad was subtle about the social justice lessons ).  Also took me to see Elvis at the HLSR. 

Edited by OWLVIS

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Man... is there really anything better than Merle.....Maybe the Indy 500.

He is a national treasure. He’s on my pantheon.


Haggard - Jones - Willie - Lefty

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The Merle interviews are one of the best parts of the series. Ditto Dolly and Willie.

The episodes are so long that it’s taking me a long time to get through it. I think I’ve watched four. And I still don’t want it to end.

The stories of the early superstars are fascinating. Dirt poor artists who I think in adjusted dollars may have ended up cracking $10M per year. Nowadays you can become a billionaire by posting pictures on Instagram.

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11 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

The Merle interviews are one of the best parts of the series. Ditto Dolly and Willie.

Dwight Yoakam getting choked up about Merle was somehow sending dust out of the tv and into my room.  

I loved when Little Jimmie Dickens was talking about Hank Williams writing him a hit while they were flying around in Minnie Pearl’s airplane, and he didn’t get it recorded before Hank did.  

Loved the Guy Clark interviews.   I wish this series was twice as long (while still ending in 1996).   The dvds/blu-rays have three extra hours of interviews.   

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On 9/20/2019 at 8:39 AM, Jerry Callo said:

San Quentin.  I really like how the show connects the dots between so many of the personalities.  Haggard/Cash, Elvis/Cash, Nelson/Wills, etc.

This is from episode 7

Spoiler

I loved how they discussed Townes van Zandt a bunch, then tied him to EmmyLou Harris recording Pancho and Lefty, and then Willie’s daughter playing Harris’s version of Pancho and Lefty to Willie at like 3 in the morning, and Willie running out to Merle’s bus at 4 in the morning and waking him up and telling him they have to record Pancho and Lefty.

That is a documentary crew that is firing on all cylinders - showing you these threads that keep linking all these different people   

 

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12 minutes ago, Buzzrock said:

The electric guitar pron kicks in big in episode 4

.... and the nails are forged in the coffin of country as it was known.

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Kris' story and songwriting ability is absolutely fantastic. The letter his mother wrote him is heartbreaking. Thank God, Johnny Cash was there for him. Great, great show tonight.

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Burns could have saved himself eight years of interviews and production costs.  If he wanted to document the history of country music all he had to do was play that whole Will the Circle be Unbroken album.

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Dear Ken,

Please do rock and roll but hurry, I’m afraid we could lose a lot of legends in the next 8 years.

-B

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3 hours ago, Buzzrock said:

Dear Ken,

Please do rock and roll but hurry, I’m afraid we could lose a lot of legends in the next 8 years.

-B

He killed 20 people that he interviewed during this.  Let’s not speed up the rock death pool.

as of now, he’s working on an Ernest Hemingway documentary, followed by a stand-up comedy series.  

Edited by atomheartbevo

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34 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

Shame they didn't continue past 1996, they could have explored the whole LGBTQ influence on country music.

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Best line of the thing so far: By the time their divorce was final, Hank and Audrey had already reconciled.

If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass.

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1 hour ago, tbone_ said:

Best line of the thing so far: By the time their divorce was final, Hank and Audrey had already reconciled.

If that ain’t country, I’ll kiss your ass.

Rodney Crowell's parents met at a Roy Acuff concert.  That's pretty damned country as well.

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Dwight Yoakam getting choked up about Merle was somehow sending dust out of the tv and into my room.  


Holy crap this. And the Charley Pride story is so great, especially considering the era.

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Dwight Yoakam getting choked up about Merle was somehow sending dust out of the tv and into my room.   


Man. This.

The Charley Pride segment was great, especially when you consider the era.

Dolly was smoke. Emmylou still is.

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Just damn. Johnny Cash’s story is heavy. I need to read his biography.
"But my favorite book is Johnny Cash's autobiography, Cash by Johnny Cash."

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43 minutes ago, Deej said:

When does he get to Bro Country?

They end the series in ‘96 with Bill Monroe’s death.  Garth Brooks will get covered, but that maybe about it.   

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Friend who is not into country music (well, at least not before now) has been hooked on this series, and  just now sent me this text: Rodney Crowell outkicked his coverage multiple times.  

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I do find it a little odd that for all the legendary country songwriters they mention (Guy Clark, Townes Van Zant, the Bryants, Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson etc.)  they forgot Jimmy Webb.  For that matter performer wise, they pretty much just blipped over Glen Campbell.

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Cross-posting some stuff.

I think they should have had an episode just covering the 80s, and then end it with a 9th episode up through '96.  I think they could have addressed a lot of complaints with that extra episode, because the 8th episode would have had room to breathe (and they could have pulled in more late '70s artists).

Anyways, in terms of omissions, I think Billy Joe Shaver was the main travesty, simply because of the whole Outlaw/Waylon thing.  Waylon (and later Willie) had a massive impact on the direction that country music was going when they got their contracts changed, and pushing Texas up to the level of Nashville and Bakersfield/LA in terms of a unique sound and/or production, which opened a lot of doors, and I think BJS should have gotten a big shout-out in Episode 7.

A lot of the omissions seemed to come down to either time constraints, or they didn't cause a massive sea-change in a direction that country music was headed or cause an offshoot (which ties back into time constraints - they weren't worthy of much mention).  Glenn Campbell is a great example of that - I like some of his music, think he's an amazing guitar player, but he came over to country - he did not cause country music to go in a certain direction, or anything of that nature -  he was no Emmylou Harris bringing in a ton of folk fans or inspiring some major players down the road.  If he stays in LA, stays with the Wrecking Crew or stays in that pop/rock/whatever movement, country music would not have been changed in anyway.  Come at me bro if you disagree, and again, no disrespect is meant, but in the context of the series, people like Campbell (and maybe even Don Williams and a few others) simply weren't steering country in any one direction, or causing an offshoot (such as Waylon and Wilie) or getting country back to its roots, etc.  They were simply successful within country music, but country music wasn't necessarily successful because of them.  Or to put it in Waylon terms, they needed Nashville more than Nashville needed them.

It's late, and I'm phrasing that shitty, but having seen all 8 episodes, and a couple of them twice, I get what Burns and Co. was trying to do - show you the major players who shaped it, show you the major changes,  show you the major events (from the death of Jimmie Rogers to the death of Hank, all the way up to Ricky Skaggs finally getting a Bluegrass tune up to #1 in the 80s), and show you how country kept trying to come back to its roots (all the way up into the 80s with George Strait, Reba, etc.).

Obviously, the elephant in the room is Conway Twitty, and according to a friend whose dad is a diehard Twitty fan, it's most likely because his estate is a complete and utter shitshow, with the kids still going after Sony Music as recently as 10 years ago (shortly before the series started production).  He's convinced that Burns deliberately shied away from Twitty, because there was a very real possibility the remaining kids would start slinging more lawsuits around - there are plenty of articles on the web about how that bunch sued each other, the record companies, etc. etc.

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Sounds like they are being a bunch of twits.

 

Also the next time I think I am having a conversation with a really stupid person I am going to remind myself that somewhere in this world there was once a person who thought having a bluegrass band with Vince Gill in it opening for Kiss in the 1970s would be a good idea.

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5 minutes ago, EMAWesome said:

Sounds like they are being a bunch of twits.

It's actually worse when you dig into the last major lawsuit.  And they fought his widow in court for 14 years.

Quote

The children could get more than $100,000 a year from the recordings if they were to get the copyrights back, says Rose Palermo, a lawyer for his estate, who added that she was concerned about the claims in the lawsuit.

“I’m somewhat astounded that they make an allegation that they didn’t know what they were doing,” Palermo said. “He (Twitty) was supporting his children. And at the time, he was giving some of them $50,000 a year in salaries and a free place to live.

 

 

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