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

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1 hour ago, DougO said:

It is still an enjoyable watch, except fuck Garth Brooks. I hope Burns doesn't do a rock and roll doc that glorifies Nickelback and Maroon 5.

not surprisingly you are missing the point.  garth brooks is the best representation of country music’s evolution to a more mainstream audience in the 90s and therefore was very pertinent to the scope of the documentary. 

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25 minutes ago, WBT said:

I found the Dwight Yoakum story pretty interesting.  For whatever reason, I've never listened to him much and didn't know much about him.  The story he told about the accordion in Streets of Bakersfield reflecting the influence of the hispanic migrants working the same fields that the okies had worked back in the day was pretty cool.

I listened to him back in the 80's, but I think Burn's gave him too much credit for being an influencer during that time span like he did a few others in the decades before.  

It was a good documentary, but it was not one of Burn's best efforts  and certainly lacked compared to Civil War, Baseball, and Vietnam War docs he produced.   But I do put it in the context he's from the Northeast and I bet most of his staff is from there as well where many didn't grow up around it  or were even indirectly influenced by music and the culture around it.   But I do give him credit with getting some of the artists on film now that many of them are no longer performing to give their take before they either pass on or forget their own roles in the history.

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I think ya'll are just upset it didn't cover your particular favorites. There's no way they could cover everybody without making it a never ending weekly series. They ran into a bunch of roadblocks with families and estates, too. Burns explored the roots, hit the highlights and told some powerful stories. 

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7 hours ago, futureman said:

not surprisingly you are missing the point.  garth brooks is the best representation of country music’s evolution to a more mainstream audience in the 90s and therefore was very pertinent to the scope of the documentary. 

Yep he certainly helped create the crossover, and damn him to Hell, for doing it, even though I like the guy. He seems like someone ya wanna sit on a bar stool, and drink a beer or 2 with (like most music folks).

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7 hours ago, Nueces River Rat said:

But I do put it in the context he's from the Northeast and I bet most of his staff is from there as well where many didn't grow up around it  or were even indirectly influenced by music and the culture around it.

Bill Malone and his book were apparently a big part of this (and obviously Malone was on the air a lot), and Burns's researchers/archivists were from all over the country.  As RPM said, there were roadblocks.  Putting aside the Twitty family shitshow, I'd be curious if some of those who were left out or glossed over (minus the '80s episode) were from one label/company/whatever.  Just one company holding back their rights (or wanting something ridiculous) could put a dent in things.  Then again, after the Vietnam series, where all of the music involved was donated/released by the artists/companies, who all saw a good bump in sales, you'd think music companies would be bending over backwards for Burns.   But families/estates/rights holders do have to sign off on things.

Lest we forget, Burns is a Baby Boomer, and I think that had more of an influence than anything.  I saw people bitching that there was too much Johnny Cash and Vietnam covered in Episode 6, but as my dad said, Johnny Cash was the public face of country music for the latter 60s, and Vietnam dominated the airwaves every single night, and a big chunk of the country music audience back then was eligible to be drafted and sent off - they even mentioned how popular country music was among the armed services.  

And with all of that said, when you task somebody with covering a 2-hour show covering a certain time period, they are going to leave people out.  They might gloss over a Jim Reeves - country music had a shit-ton of crooners who were crossing-over back then, for instance.

I keep coming back to the fact that many of those who were left out, while they may have been popular, but they weren't pushing the music in any certain direction, or there were half a dozen other folks playing/sounding just like them.

Having rewatched some of it, I think the big glaring omission that makes no sense was Billy Joe Shaver, especially since they covered Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.

I also, as I said, think they should have done 9 episodes, with episode 8 overlapping with the late 70s (to pull in the non-Texas stuff that was happening) up through either '88.  Start episode 9 in 1989 (Alan Jackson, Clinton Black, etc.) and cover the early '90s, and have a retrospective (Bill Monroe, Cash, Jones, etc.).

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I was one of those who actually questioned why Yoakam got so much airtime, but he told good stories, he was a good link to the past, and he was stirring shit up with the label, and he was unabashedly old-fashioned in certain areas when things were trending towards what was going to be the Garth Brooks part of country music.  He fit perfectly into the theme of "country music is a circle, and somebody is always trying to pull it back around to its roots".

Oh, and moving past George Strait quickly felt like a travesty of sorts, but poking around some country music sites, a lot of people are not surprised because he just doesn't do interviews, and doesn't like to toot his own horn.

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Amazon's top/best-selling country charts today (updated hourly)

1. Garth Brooks - Ultimate Hits

2. Nittty Gritty Dirt Band - Will the Circle be Unbroken

5. Willie Nelson - Red Headed Strang

6. and 7. County Music Soundtrack

8. The Very Best of Emmylou Harris

9. Garth Brooks - Fun

10. The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam

Given the olds like to buy physical media, we will supposedly see any bumps in sales in that area in a week or two.

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6 minutes ago, atomheartbevo said:

Amazon's top/best-selling country charts today (updated hourly)

1. Garth Brooks - Ultimate Hits

2. Nittty Gritty Dirt Band - Will the Circle be Unbroken

5. Willie Nelson - Red Headed Strang

6. and 7. County Music Soundtrack

8. The Very Best of Emmylou Harris

9. Garth Brooks - Fun

10. The Very Best of Dwight Yoakam

Given the olds like to buy physical media, we will supposedly see any bumps in sales in that area in a week or two.

I can't tell you how many times I've listened to Red Headed Stranger straight through.  It's kind of a family staple.  When we have our big family gatherings (4th of July, Labor Day/Opening Day, etc), we sit around in a big circle, drink beer, take a 1.75 of some Weller and throw the lid into the fire, and play many of these old songs in the documentary.  Red Headed Stranger is one we roll through the entire album, in order.  Pretty fun stuff (until the next morning of course).  It's always funny that the later we go, the more gospel songs start appearing.  This documentary was more or less a collection of generations of memories for our family.  It just meant more (no S-E-C S-E-C).  

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10 hours ago, 4th&Five said:

That was the criticism in some of the reviews I read too. I will say it spent a crazy amount of time on Cash. He’s obviously important but it seemed like they kept trying to tie everything back to him. 
 

I thought it was really good overall but there was plenty of stuff that didn’t interest me at all and some of the stuff I found most interesting was glossed over quickly. 

From Carters through Cash you basically get to tell the entire history of Country Music through the vehicle of one family.  I can see why he did that.

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9 hours ago, futureman said:

not surprisingly you are missing the point.  garth brooks is the best representation of country music’s evolution to a more mainstream audience in the 90s and therefore was very pertinent to the scope of the documentary. 

Plus "Garth Brooks" and "No Fences" are two of the greatest country records of the 90s.  That gets missed when looking back through the crazy Chris Gaines filter.

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3 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

Bill Malone and his book were apparently a big part of this (and obviously Malone was on the air a lot), and Burns's researchers/archivists were from all over the country.  As RPM said, there were roadblocks.  Putting aside the Twitty family shitshow, I'd be curious if some of those who were left out or glossed over (minus the '80s episode) were from one label/company/whatever.  Just one company holding back their rights (or wanting something ridiculous) could put a dent in things.  Then again, after the Vietnam series, where all of the music involved was donated/released by the artists/companies, who all saw a good bump in sales, you'd think music companies would be bending over backwards for Burns.   But families/estates/rights holders do have to sign off on things.

Lest we forget, Burns is a Baby Boomer, and I think that had more of an influence than anything.  I saw people bitching that there was too much Johnny Cash and Vietnam covered in Episode 6, but as my dad said, Johnny Cash was the public face of country music for the latter 60s, and Vietnam dominated the airwaves every single night, and a big chunk of the country music audience back then was eligible to be drafted and sent off - they even mentioned how popular country music was among the armed services.  

And with all of that said, when you task somebody with covering a 2-hour show covering a certain time period, they are going to leave people out.  They might gloss over a Jim Reeves - country music had a shit-ton of crooners who were crossing-over back then, for instance.

I keep coming back to the fact that many of those who were left out, while they may have been popular, but they weren't pushing the music in any certain direction, or there were half a dozen other folks playing/sounding just like them.

Having rewatched some of it, I think the big glaring omission that makes no sense was Billy Joe Shaver, especially since they covered Guy Clark and Townes Van Zandt.

I also, as I said, think they should have done 9 episodes, with episode 8 overlapping with the late 70s (to pull in the non-Texas stuff that was happening) up through either '88.  Start episode 9 in 1989 (Alan Jackson, Clinton Black, etc.) and cover the early '90s, and have a retrospective (Bill Monroe, Cash, Jones, etc.).

Agreed on the last part  about needing the break up the series to allow more on the early to mid 80's angle.  It's kind of like Rock/Pop/Adult 

And really I don't understand  a   company (or the families/ estates, etc)  would be holding back rights for stuff that probably had little to no revenue stream coming for years and then boom you get a short infusion with not one penny of their own money being spent to produce the uptick.   I understand some of the estates are shit shows, but it doesn't make sense if some of the recordings are now held exclusively by others.   Perhaps Burns ticked off some of them in prior efforts and this was a way of saying FU?  

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1 hour ago, Nueces River Rat said:

Agreed on the last part  about needing the break up the series to allow more on the early to mid 80's angle.  It's kind of like Rock/Pop/Adult 

And really I don't understand  a   company (or the families/ estates, etc)  would be holding back rights for stuff that probably had little to no revenue stream coming for years and then boom you get a short infusion with not one penny of their own money being spent to produce the uptick.   I understand some of the estates are shit shows, but it doesn't make sense if some of the recordings are now held exclusively by others.   Perhaps Burns ticked off some of them in prior efforts and this was a way of saying FU?  

I doubt he pissed any companies off for the reasons mentioned - this was an easy revenue and publicity bump for them, and he had no problems with the Vietnam series - groups like The Beatles were telling him to use whatever of their back catalog he wanted.    They sampled or mentioned something like 500 songs over the course of the Country Music series.

I think ultimately that many of those left out, were left out for reasons of time - maybe in an extended version they get a minute or two of mentions. 

The Conway Twitty thing though - the kids were going after Sony, wanting more money from royalties and/or wanting the contract torn up (claiming they or he didn't understand it originally), and they filed a year or two before CM started filming. That was an easy pass for Burns and Co., because something like that could have caused them to either have to yank the stuff out later, or after it was aired/released, caused another fight.

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5 hours ago, atomheartbevo said:

I was one of those who actually questioned why Yoakam got so much airtime, but he told good stories, he was a good link to the past, and he was stirring shit up with the label, and he was unabashedly old-fashioned in certain areas when things were trending towards what was going to be the Garth Brooks part of country music.  He fit perfectly into the theme of "country music is a circle, and somebody is always trying to pull it back around to its roots".

Another reason to focus on Dwight is that Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. is the best country album of the 80s and high on the list of best country albums of all time.  No filler . . . just bad ass country songs all the way through.  

 

Also, I don't understand blaming Garth for what has happened to country.  It would have happened without him.  Nashville was always trying to sell watered down pop music.  Guys like Kenny Rodgers sold a lot of records well before Garth.  

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Surprised at the backlash against Dwight's inclusion.  He's like a Bakersfield-specific Marty Stuart.

"This Time" was part of my old man's constant rotation as a kid.  I always loved it, even during my brief anti-country phase.

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My uncle sold a Harley to Dwight in the mid 90’s and they kind of became friends for a bit. He seemed like a really good dude and drank a few Coors’ with my grandma one night. I was always a fan after that. 

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27 minutes ago, Ollie Slatt said:

Also, I don't understand blaming Garth for what has happened to country.  It would have happened without him.  Nashville was always trying to sell watered down pop music.  Guys like Kenny Rodgers sold a lot of records well before Garth.  

It’s not Garth himself, and he’s actually a great musician, it’s the whole spectacle he was pushing, and people who followed him, who turned their concerts into fucking circuses or something that looks more like a pop concert   

You would never see George Strait flying around on wires above his audience.   

Although, come to think of it, the thought of George Strait flying around above his audience is hilarious.....

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17 hours ago, futureman said:

not surprisingly you are missing the point.  garth brooks is the best representation of country music’s evolution to a more mainstream audience in the 90s and therefore was very pertinent to the scope of the documentary. 

Like Kenny G did for jazz.

 

 

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I hate on pop country and it’s demon spawn bro country as much as the next guy. But those things have to exist so that the rest of it can live and breathe. There’s no good without bad, no light without dark. You don’t have to like it and don’t have to dislike those who do.

Visit the Isbell/Sturgill/Stapleton thread whenever you start gettin’ all get-off-my-lawn.

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On 9/26/2019 at 2:26 PM, Nueces River Rat said:


Never did and I kick myself to this day for not going since I lived so close. First time I saw him in concert was in San Antonio. Go figure.

I know this isn’t the George Strait thread but I have another somewhat CSB. Cajunhorn and I were regulars at the Broken Spoke in the mid 80s. One of Strait’s bus drivers was hurt in a crash and the Ace in the Hole band was going to put on a benefit concert at the SPJST hall in Round Rock. Our waitress at the Spoke told us that George was going to play the whole show. He just couldn’t announce it because of some contractual deal. We show up and sure enough got a 3 hour George Strait concert in a small venue with about 200 other people. 

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2 hours ago, Lat22 said:

I know this isn’t the George Strait thread but I have another somewhat CSB. Cajunhorn and I were regulars at the Broken Spoke in the mid 80s. One of Strait’s bus drivers was hurt in a crash and the Ace in the Hole band was going to put on a benefit concert at the SPJST hall in Round Rock. Our waitress at the Spoke told us that George was going to play the whole show. He just couldn’t announce it because of some contractual deal. We show up and sure enough got a 3 hour George Strait concert in a small venue with about 200 other people. 

that’s pretty awesome, and thank god it was before cell phones.  today that would turn into a social media shitshow in under three seconds

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Speaking of shitshows...did anyone go to Gruene for Garth last week?


Saw social media from it, the whole town area looked like an absolute zoo on a weeknight no less

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still catching up, just got past the Townes bit and wanted to share this clip of possibly the same video they showed (definitely the same setting) from Guy Clarke's place.  Steve Earle in the mix, I thought I saw him in that clip

i need to watch Heartworn Highways

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Yes you do. They did a sequel a few years ago too with some of the old guys like Guy and some of the new school Americana guys. 

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Maybe mentioned up thread, maybe even by me but w/e.... the Townes doc be here to love me is a damn interesting watch. Tortured soul.

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On 9/26/2019 at 10:56 PM, WBT said:

For whatever reason, I've never listened to him much and didn't know much about him.  

Are you saying you didn't know him but you didn't like him?  Say you care less how he feels?

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On 10/3/2019 at 3:18 PM, Celery Man said:

still catching up, just got past the Townes bit and wanted to share this clip of possibly the same video they showed (definitely the same setting) from Guy Clarke's place.  Steve Earle in the mix, I thought I saw him in that clip

i need to watch Heartworn Highways

It's definitely worth the time. 

David Hoffman followed Earl Scruggs around for a while. He's another NYer that got bit by the bluegrass bug.

He's got a full movie of his time with Earl, but he's started breaking them down into parts with commentary.

 

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Love Doc Watson. His poor son Merle (in the video above) died fairly early when his tractor tipped over or something. The live recording with father and son duo is fantastic. 

Great work by Ken B. Just finished the series week. Nice touch that that they ended it with a picture of Mother Maybelle Carter. 

Also Heartworn Highways has a bonus disc with extra performances and I think some extra Guy Clark kitchen table songs. 

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On 9/27/2019 at 9:37 AM, Chad Fuck said:

From Carters through Cash you basically get to tell the entire history of Country Music through the vehicle of one family.  I can see why he did that.

Burns did the same thing in his Jazz series.  He weaved and vectored Louis Armstrong and Duke Ellington in through the whole thing.  I will admit that it made much more sense to do it with those guys.

CSB: Back in the fall of '85, the Longhorn Band played a halftime show at the TX/OU game with Willy Nelson.  We were supposed to have have two rehearsals with him in Austin the week of the game, which he no showed for.  Then he was supposed to be there for our morning run through, also a no show.  He came out and did the halftime show cold.  In spring of that school year Willy approached the band and we were all set to do an album with Willy.  I was selected to be one of just two trumpet players in the band to go into the studio and record.  Man I was so excited. I was just a freshman at the time and I thought I had died and gone to heaven.  The album was never recorded and I think it died under the weight of hippie lettuce and threat of IRS audit. Still love Willy even though he denied me of my uncle Rico moment. My oldest son became a professional trumpet player and has toured with the Squirrel Nut Zippers, so I guess I have that going for me. 

 

 

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If you're in Austin, we have 20.2, which is a country music TV station - forgot about it, until yesterday and I was flipping through, and saw it.  Watched Merle singing If We Make it to December, then Willie and Whiskey River, then Rodney Crowell, then some Johnny Cash.

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PBS is rerunning the series. Watched Ep 1 the other night, Ep 2 playing now.

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Johnny Cash and The Carter Family were the backbone of the series because they ran from the beginning of the time period all the way to the end.  I have no problem with that because it makes sense and because Johnny Cash is fucking awesome.  I don't think there was one episode that didn't hit me right in the feels.  Still remember riding around with my grandpa is his old work truck and listening to Roseanne sing Tennessee Flat Top Box.

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