Music on Mondays (10-9-17)—Cathy’s Clown is Downtown at the House of the Rising Sun

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

My favorite songs list is coming along nicely. I think this list also might tell me what my favorite albums are. For example, four songs off of “Bridge Over Troubled Water” by Simon & Garfunkel made the last. However, eight songs off of “Let It Be” by The Beatles made the list. I like both albums but after listening to them one right after the other, yeah, I like “Let It Be” more. It doesn’t hurt, of course, that I already know that The Beatles are my top group of all time….

One of my commenters last week said that he detected a theme, something about death and war. Hmmmm. It was the 1950s with an undeclared war called the “Korean Conflict,” as opposed to World War I, World War II, Civil War, Revolutionary War, Vietnam War, War of 1812. But out of the five songs last week, only two had anything to do with war. Nonetheless, considering that the United States and its immediate predecessor, thirteen colonies, have been in existence for 241 years and at war for 224 of those 241 years, it shouldn’t be any surprise that there are some good war songs and anti-war songs.

Today’s post will be the last time that I group several years together, 1960-1964. My music collecting started in 1965, and my favorites list definitely shows that. So without further ado, let’s start 1960-1964 with, uh, two war songs:

“Ballad of the Alamo” by Marty Robbins, 1960—My youngest uncle who introduced me to Gogi Grant on last week’s list also introduced me to Marty Robbins via his “More Greatest Hits” album of 1961. I can tell you that Marty definitely is my favorite country singer.

“Sink The Bismarck” by Johnny Horton, 1960—Johnny made last week’s list with “The Battle Of New Orleans.” I might have to see if there is something in Johnny’s background that made him sing about specific incidents in war or if he just had a general interest like me.

“Cathy’s Clown” by The Everly Brothers, 1960—The Everly Brothers will have quite a few songs on my favorites list. This probably is my favorite of theirs. I have been singing this since I first heard it many decades ago.

“Downtown” by Petula Clark, 1964—We didn’t have country music in northern Utah where I lived from 1961-1965 so I didn’t hear this song, or anything by Petula, until I went to live with my wise old grandmother in deep South Texas in December 1965. Another one from my youngest uncle.

“House Of The Rising Sun” by The Animals, 1964—I first heard this song on KLOL FM out of Corpus Christ, Texas, in March 1973. Some friends and I were driving from Kingsville to Alice to buy booze for our senior prom. The drinking age was 18 but Kingsville and Kleberg Country were dry, so it was a 20-mile drive to get real booze. I was 18, so I had the privilege of buying a lot of booze for friends. The rights of passage and the price of admission to the In Crowd.

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15 thoughts on “Music on Mondays (10-9-17)—Cathy’s Clown is Downtown at the House of the Rising Sun

    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      I don’t like the twangy country like Hank Williams and Hank Jr. Pretty much the extent of my country likings are Robbins, Johnny Cash, Alabama, and Garth Brooks, but not all of their stuff by no means.

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  1. Baydreamer

    Loved “Downtown” and it’s so fun going back in time. I just bought a new acoustic guitar yesterday, ready to pursue an old passion. I used to play and sing when I was younger and dreamed of singing professionally. Believe it or not, I had some “spotlight” moments singing solos that went well, but then I chose a different path. Music has always been a part of me though. So, here we go! You’re never too old, right? By the way, I’m only 56, not too old. 🙂

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    1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

      If I didn’t think I was too old, I would take up the guitar. We didn’t have guitars in Utah when I was growing up–the Mormon church probably thought it was the instrument of the devil. I had to wait until my wise old grandmother adopted me at the age of 11 before I heard guitar music. By then I was already a pianist, violinist, and classical singer and din’t have money to buy a guitar. Didn’t even have money to buy a piano. Had to go to the local university to practice piano.

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      1. Baydreamer

        Oh, wow, you’ve accomplished quite a bit then. My experiences pale in comparison because even though you didn’t learn the guitar, look what you’ve done! I’m so impressed. Learning music is another version of math; some aspects of it are difficult for me. But I’m so excited right now and hope I can be taught once again. I don’t know how old you are, but age is only a number. 🙂

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        1. Russel Ray Photos Post author

          62. I gave up the piano and violin when I moved to San Diego in April 1993. I wanted to be an accomplished beach bum, and pianos and violins just don’t react well to sand, water, and salty air.
          I am considering taking up the hammered dulcimer. All of our Renaissance fairs are coming up in the next 30 days. I might find one that I like and bring it home with me.

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