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Ken Burns: Country Music. 8 episodes. 16 Hours. Starts Sep. 15.

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Two hours a night is a lot.  I've fallen behind and just finished up last night's.  It doesn't help that I'm stopping it a lot to look up stuff on wikipedia and youtube.  I liked the Lefty Frizzell mention last night and all the Hank Williams stuff was great.  I didn't know that You're Cheating Heart was released posthumously.  The audio from his funeral is on youtube:

 

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13 minutes ago, OWLVIS said:

That Willie kissing Faron  Young story was hot.

What happens at Tootsie’s, stays at Tootsie’s.  Unless Ken Burns puts it on blast to millions of people.  

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Ken Burns is out Ken Burnsing himself with this one. Had the opportunity to tell a friend who is a country musician about it tonight. He knew nothing about it but his face lit up like a christmas tree when I told him. "Ken Burns is doing a Country documentary?!?!" He started downloading the PBS app right then and there.

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I'll almost certainly get flamed, but I think it jumps around too much. More Hank Williams and Johhny Cash and less Everly Brothers.

At a minimum keep the narrative consistent. One episode for bluegrass, one for Western Swing, one for Rockabilly, and so on. 

What made the WWII documentary so interesting is that it focused on central characters, and told their stories throughout the war. 

The West is by far Ken Burns' most underrated work. It's too often overlooked. 

Edited by billfromlaketravis

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I'll almost certainly get flamed, but I think it jumps around too much. More Hank Williams and Johhny Cash and less Everly Brothers.
At a minimum keep the narrative consistent. One episode for bluegrass, one for Western Swing, one for Rockabilly, and so on. 
What made the WWII documentary so interesting is that it focused on central characters, and told their stories throughout the war. 
The West is by far Ken Burns' most underrated work. It's too often overlooked. 

That’s kinda what I thought when he went to Elvis. But it was more in the context of the evolution of the music and how it helped lead to the decline of the traditional genre, so I’m OK with it.


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Has it been mentioned in here that Bill Malone in this series graduated from Texas and his dissertation is a kickass resource for country music history?

The first edition is from 65. It's been updated since then. 

Country Music USA

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The Willie kiss was classic. I was surprised to see the Louvin Brothers get as much mention as they did in this episode. I was expecting the first mention of my home area to be the group Alabama.

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Yeah, the whole thing is told as mostly a timeline of sorts.  We’ve had four shows, and all four had significant endings

  • Jimmie Rodgers’ death/original Carter Family lineup fracturing  - first wave of radio/record superstars
  • End of World War II - returning soldiers (and women who worked during the war) wanted something more grounded (honky tonk, etc.) and were mostly done with singing cowboys and the escapism stuff. 
  • Death of Hank Williams - King of Country Music
  • Death of Patsy Cline - See Hank Williams

Those events all ended major eras of country music, and the last three all tied into the previous eras and arguably couldn’t have happened without the events that ended those previous eras.  World War II vets wanted/needed Hank Williams - they had outgrown the Gene Autry and Roy Rogers, etc., of their youth. 

They could have broken out bluegrass or rockabilly into just segments of shows that weren’t driven by a timeline, instead of overlaying them with the main timeline, but I like how they are doing it.  I enjoyed the bit with Elvis and Johnny Cash, and how they were good friends who basically started getting big at the same time, and then went down their separate paths

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9 minutes ago, cactusflinthead said:

Has it been mentioned in here that Bill Malone in this series graduated from Texas and his dissertation is a kickass resource for country music history?

The first edition is from 65. It's been updated since then. 

Country Music USA

Bill mentioned it himself on tonight’s episode, albeit not his dissertation, just that he was attending UT when he first saw Elvis. 

Wait, you didn’t hear the clicking sound of thousands of aggy turning their TVs off in anger?

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One thing that has been pretty striking about a lot of the stars in the first four episodes of the series - so many of the stars had incredibly shitty/poor childhoods, and they were all like "fuck living on a farm or working in a coal mine, and worrying about my refrigerator or car being repossessed".  They were hungry as shit for something better than spending 16 hours a day working the fields or in the mines or whatever, and Nashville was this beacon on the hill, and plenty of them grew up singing in church, and guitars were cheap.

You lose some of that with today's younger stars, of more than a few had middle-class upbringings, even went to college in some cases, etc.  Those early stars had incredibly shitty lives, and that resonated very deeply with their fans, and it came through in their music.  

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4 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

One thing that has been pretty striking about a lot of the stars in the first four episodes of the series - so many of the stars had incredibly shitty/poor childhoods, and they were all like "fuck living on a farm or working in a coal mine, and worrying about my refrigerator or car being repossessed".  They were hungry as shit for something better than spending 16 hours a day working the fields or in the mines or whatever, and Nashville was this beacon on the hill, and plenty of them grew up singing in church, and guitars were cheap.

You lose some of that with today's younger stars, of more than a few had middle-class upbringings, even went to college in some cases, etc.  Those early stars had incredibly shitty lives, and that resonated very deeply with their fans, and it came through in their music.  

It's the basis for country / blues music, real life experience.  Momma dying young has a better ring to it than my cable got cut off today. 

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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It’s pretty clear that’s where last night’s Nashville/Countrypolitan arc is headed - straight to the Outlaw reaction to heavy production and popification.

It’s been about a ten years cycle in both rock and county for the post war period. The trend of popular simply produced songs over time have layers and layers of production built on top. Then someone comes along with a new stripped down sound, shakes the calcification off, and the process starts all over again.

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49 minutes ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

It's the basis for country / blues music, real life experience.  Momma dying young has a better ring to it than my cable got cut off today. 

Rap, punk, etc.

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16 hours ago, OWLVIS said:

That Willie kissing Faron  Young story was hot.

faron did him a solid.  not many musicians would have been that selfless and generous.  that was a class act move right there.

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3 hours ago, Chad Fuck said:

It’s pretty clear that’s where last night’s Nashville/Countrypolitan arc is headed - straight to the Outlaw reaction to heavy production and popification.

It’s been about a ten years cycle in both rock and county for the post war period. The trend of popular simply produced songs over time have layers and layers of production built on top. Then someone comes along with a new stripped down sound, shakes the calcification off, and the process starts all over again.

Probably gonna start losing interest as it runs into modern country. Too much ambiguity, crass commercialism, and what the hell is that supposed to be music.  I'm more country than some of these new artists, and I've been an urban/suburban dweller for decades.

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Just now, Onboard 2.0 said:

Probably gonna start losing interest as it runs into modern country. Too much ambiguity, crass commercialism, and what the hell is that supposed to be music.  I'm more country than some of these new artists, and I've been an urban/suburban dweller for decades.

If you look ahead, there's some pretty good stuff on the playlists.  As quoted up thread, or maybe in the other music thread, he stops about 20 years ago, which is a good spot.  I'm in until the end.  

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Finished Episode 3 (Hank) this AM.  This is fucking phenomenal thus far.  It's like a visual Cocaine & Rhinestones (but a little more family friendly).

Marty Stuart is the man for his job in this.

Love all the footage with Hag.  His line about anyone who didn't like Bob Wills being "immediately under suspicion" was gold.

Hank packed a whole fucking lot between 23 and 29.  Jesus.

Love the way they're tracing the web the Carter Family weaved.

Shout out to Shenandoah IA!

I chuckled when they emphasized that Gene Autry grew up on a farm and not a ranch.  I'd imagine that distinction is lost on many coastal viewers.

Fascinating to see how Nashville became Nashville (and not Bristol or even Chicago).

Vince Gill looks like a cross between Mike Leach and a lesbian accountant.

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14 minutes ago, Chad Fuck said:

If you look ahead, there's some pretty good stuff on the playlists.  As quoted up thread, or maybe in the other music thread, he stops about 20 years ago, which is a good spot.  I'm in until the end.  

I'll definitely watch it all. My interest would wane if it was new stuff. Glad he's stopping back in the 20th c.

 Gonna miss tonight, gotta go see one of the local bands that play lots of old blues, and rockabilly. The lead singer will throw in a Patsy number if you sweet talk her with a beer or two.

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The line about the Nashville sound being change jingling in the pocket was interesting.  They were already doing whatever it took to sell records in the 50/60s.  But since the artist were still real as mentioned above, then the music was still real and good.  That and I guess there was still a mix of traditional.  Nowadays, it's all change jingling crap.  At least we have a lot of other places to look to find the good stuff though.  Great series so far...

 

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15 hours ago, billfromlaketravis said:

The West is by far Ken Burns' most underrated work. It's too often overlooked. 

The West is probably my favorite documentary ever made, it's phenomenal. Does anyone know where it can be streamed in HD? Last time I watched it on Netflix it was in SD.

Edited by elguapo

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17 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

What happens at Tootsie’s, stays at Tootsie’s.  Unless Ken Burns puts it on blast to millions of people.  

 

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1 hour ago, thrillhammer said:

faron did him a solid.  not many musicians would have been that selfless and generous.  that was a class act move right there.

Agreed... Love me some Faron Young.. Wish they did more on Pierce Webb and others... I figure they at some point will touch on Jones but he was already established when they went over Patsy and those songs are just great.. He he is w/ a young Johnny Paycheck.. playing bass. 

 

 

 

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1 hour ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

I'll definitely watch it all. My interest would wane if it was new stuff. Glad he's stopping back in the 20th c.

 Gonna miss tonight, gotta go see one of the local bands that play lots of old blues, and rockabilly. The lead singer will throw in a Patsy number if you sweet talk her with a beer or two.

It is not on tonight. It picks back up on Sunday and runs through next Wed.

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19 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Patsy Cline, IMO one of the greatest female voices ever, regardless of the musical genre.

This is 100% correct.. I would put the list as such - And I'm not a big fan of female country singers but these I listen to - 

1) Patsy Cline

2) Tammy Wynette (with and w/out Jones)

3) Kacey Musgraves - for her writing and how original she is relative to all the other crap out there.

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7 minutes ago, bamachine said:

It is not on tonight. It picks back up on Sunday and runs through next Wed.

Nice, thanks for the heads up. I was pissed I was gonna miss it.

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My 11 year old wandered in when they were showing the old pics from Earnest Tubb’s record shop and realized she had a tambourine from there that I got her when she was a baby. 

It held her attention for 5 minutes but it was a good bonding 5 minutes. :)

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4 minutes ago, TexasBeta said:

This is 100% correct.. I would put the list as such - And I'm not a big fan of female country singers but these I listen to - 

1) Patsy Cline

2) Tammy Wynette (with and w/out Jones)

3) Kacey Musgraves - for her writing and how original she is relative to all the other crap out there.

I'm a Loretta fan more than Tammy, her voice just never did it for me.  Kasey is definitely wheel house.

I have 3 female Pantheon of the gods type female vocalists" Billie Holliday, Patsy Cline and Amy Winehouse.  Tragic figures all.

 

When our first child was born, she had colic something fierce.  I get a call one day at work, the wife is freaking, she says, I've cured the colic !!  She'd put on a CD at random, and it was Patsys greatest hits. The wife said it was like a switch was flipped. Our daughter stopped crying  immediately.  We played Patsy a lot for about 6 weeks. It worked like a charm every single time the daughter cranked up the colic.

Edited by Onboard 2.0

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1 minute ago, bamachine said:

Even though it is more Bluegrass than country, cannot forget Alison Krauss.

Hence the Elvis Costello portion last night ??

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3 hours ago, bamachine said:

It is not on tonight. It picks back up on Sunday and runs through next Wed.

Which is a damn shame.  

I wish Burns would do a series on the Apollo missions, but it's been covered really well already, and most of the principals are dead unfortunately.

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From looking at the episode titles and the matching soundtrack, the whole Outlaw/Austin scene gets huge coverage - it's one of the main parts of Episode 7's description (specifically mentions Willie and Waylon creating the Outlaw scene), and then Episode 8's description specifically calls out Randy Travis and George Strait as getting back to the roots.

Wonder if David Allan Coe get a mention. To controversial and over the top?


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So a friend I was watching the game with bought the series.  He said there are plenty of extras, like over 3 hours, including some interviews that weren’t broadcast.  

Also, he said the ending in ‘96 was not about Garth Brooks getting big, but about the death of Bill Monroe, kind of ending the ties to the 30’s/40’s, similar to them ending other shows with the death of a superstar. 

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Found the extras

Quote
  • Interviews (HD) include "Ketch Secor: Old Fiddle and Banjo Tunes" (3:26), "Rhiannon Giddens: The Mix in Country Music" (7:45), "Charlie Daniels: The Devil and the Fiddle" (3:37), "The Oak Ridge Boys: Farther Along" (1:39), "Old Hymns: Dwight Yoakam and Betty Johnson" (5:03), and "Dolly Parton: Pretty Fair Maid" (1:35).

Disc 2

  • Interviews (HD) include "Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music's National Anthem" (3:27), "Wynton Marsalis: Wildwood Flower" (1:04), and "Betty Johnson: The Johnson Family Singers, 1930s" (3:44). 

Disc 3 

  • Interviews (HD) include "Ralph Stanley: The First Song Mother Taught Me" (3:12), "Hank Williams: The Songwriter and the Performer" (8:34), "Randy Scruggs: The Carter Scratch, Travis Picking, Doc Watson" (3:16), "John McEuen: Earl Scruggs' Banjo Style" (5:36), and "Don Maddox: The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in the World" (7:24). 

Disc 4

  • Interview (HD) include "Elvis The Hillbilly Cat" (8:01), "Patsy Cline: Tough Edges, Big Heart" (8:25), "Mel Tillis: Learning to Talk Through Singing" (3:34), "Johnny Cash: Poet and Performer" (12:05), and "The Bryants and Rocky Top" (1:42).

Disc 5

  • Interviews (HD) include "Music Row's A-Team" (10:07), "The Genius of Roger Miller" (4:23), "Jeannie Seely: Women in Country Music" (7:33), "Loretta Lynn on Songwriting" (2:06), and "The Artistry of Merle Haggard" (3:45). 

Disc 6

  • Interviews (HD) include "Help Me" (11:58), "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (4:18), "Kris Kristofferson's First Song" (1:35), and "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" (2:59). 

Disc 7

  • Interviews (HD) include "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (15:14), "Dolly Parton: The Songwriter and the Celebrity" (7:26), "Johnny Cash: Following the Gospel" (11:57), and "Hank Williams, Jr.: On His Own" (2:02). 

Disc 8

  • Interviews (HD) include "Marty Stuart's Mandolin" (1:56), "Johnny Cash: His Legacy" (5:19), "Marty Stuart: Back to the Source" (1:43), and "The Song Into Outer Space" (33:23). 
  • "Behind the Scenes at Florentine Films" (13:02, HD) makes the trek to the New Hampshire compound owned by Ken Burns, who explores the incredible labor required to assemble his documentaries. It's a group effort, and the featurette details specific jobs and passions for the topic, along with help from country music artists, including Marty Stuart and Kathy Mattea.

 

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Found the extras
  • Interviews (HD) include "Ketch Secor: Old Fiddle and Banjo Tunes" (3:26), "Rhiannon Giddens: The Mix in Country Music" (7:45), "Charlie Daniels: The Devil and the Fiddle" (3:37), "The Oak Ridge Boys: Farther Along" (1:39), "Old Hymns: Dwight Yoakam and Betty Johnson" (5:03), and "Dolly Parton: Pretty Fair Maid" (1:35).
Disc 2
  • Interviews (HD) include "Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Country Music's National Anthem" (3:27), "Wynton Marsalis: Wildwood Flower" (1:04), and "Betty Johnson: The Johnson Family Singers, 1930s" (3:44). 
Disc 3 
  • Interviews (HD) include "Ralph Stanley: The First Song Mother Taught Me" (3:12), "Hank Williams: The Songwriter and the Performer" (8:34), "Randy Scruggs: The Carter Scratch, Travis Picking, Doc Watson" (3:16), "John McEuen: Earl Scruggs' Banjo Style" (5:36), and "Don Maddox: The Most Colorful Hillbilly Band in the World" (7:24). 
Disc 4
  • Interview (HD) include "Elvis The Hillbilly Cat" (8:01), "Patsy Cline: Tough Edges, Big Heart" (8:25), "Mel Tillis: Learning to Talk Through Singing" (3:34), "Johnny Cash: Poet and Performer" (12:05), and "The Bryants and Rocky Top" (1:42).
Disc 5
  • Interviews (HD) include "Music Row's A-Team" (10:07), "The Genius of Roger Miller" (4:23), "Jeannie Seely: Women in Country Music" (7:33), "Loretta Lynn on Songwriting" (2:06), and "The Artistry of Merle Haggard" (3:45). 
Disc 6
  • Interviews (HD) include "Help Me" (11:58), "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" (4:18), "Kris Kristofferson's First Song" (1:35), and "Old Dogs, Children and Watermelon Wine" (2:59). 
Disc 7
  • Interviews (HD) include "He Stopped Loving Her Today" (15:14), "Dolly Parton: The Songwriter and the Celebrity" (7:26), "Johnny Cash: Following the Gospel" (11:57), and "Hank Williams, Jr.: On His Own" (2:02). 
Disc 8
  • Interviews (HD) include "Marty Stuart's Mandolin" (1:56), "Johnny Cash: His Legacy" (5:19), "Marty Stuart: Back to the Source" (1:43), and "The Song Into Outer Space" (33:23). 
  • "Behind the Scenes at Florentine Films" (13:02, HD) makes the trek to the New Hampshire compound owned by Ken Burns, who explores the incredible labor required to assemble his documentaries. It's a group effort, and the featurette details specific jobs and passions for the topic, along with help from country music artists, including Marty Stuart and Kathy Mattea.
 

I definitely want to see all that.

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9 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

So a friend I was watching the game with bought the series.  He said there are plenty of extras, like over 3 hours, including some interviews that weren’t broadcast.  

Also, he said the ending in ‘96 was not about Garth Brooks getting big, but about the death of Bill Monroe, kind of ending the ties to the 30’s/40’s, similar to them ending other shows with the death of a superstar. 

Dammit !!  don't spoil the ending !!  ; )

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6 hours ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Dammit !!  don't spoil the ending !!  ; )

I'm not spoiling anything when I say they pulled no punches in how Roy Rogers handled the passing of Trigger and Dale Evans.  I forgot which was which, but one was mounted, one was stuff.

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32 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

I'm not spoiling anything when I say they pulled no punches in how Roy Rogers handled the passing of Trigger and Dale Evans.  I forgot which was which, but one was mounted, one was stuff.

I can fapp to that.....  

oh yeah,  *(stuff)('ed)

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1 hour ago, Onboard 2.0 said:

Ode to Billie Joe... may be the best country song ever, certainly one of the best songs regardless of genre.

The Cocaine and Rhinestones podcast episode on that song was excellent.

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