Tag Archives: johnny horton

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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Music on Mondays (10/2/17)—The start of my favorites list

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

I’m into another rotation of my non-classical music collection, and this time I’m making a list of my favorite songs with the intention of eventually making a USB drive for my portable music player that will play all the time, wherever I am, when I’m not in the office or the car.

Following are the first five on my list, the only ones from before 1960.

“The Wayward Wind” by Gogi Grant, 1956—My youngest uncle was still living at home and going to college when my wise old grandmother adopted me. This was one of his favorite songs, and although we became estranged from each other in 1994, I still love this song.

“I Walk The Line” by Johnny Cash, 1956—I heard through the grapevine that I used to sit in the backseat of the car and sing along with Johnny Cash whenever this song came on the radio.

“Tom Dooley” by The Kingston Trio, 1958—This was one of my wise old grandmother’s favorite songs. She had it on a vinyl 45, which she gave to me in 1994 when she moved from her home of 57 years into an assisted living facility, called nursing homes back then.

“Soldier’s Joy” by Hawkshaw Hawkins, 1959—Each day I go through a couple of pages of Joel Whitburn’s “Top Pop Singles” book looking for songs that I like but for some reason missed. This is one such song that I discovered.
Interestingly, according to the Library of Congress, “Soldier’s Joy” is one of the oldest and most widely distributed tunes in the English-speaking world, showing up in sheet music on both sides of the Atlantic from the late eighteenth century.
Also interestingly, soldier’s joy can also refer to morphine, although morphine was not isolated until the early 1800’s. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean people didn’t know that they could get a natural high from poppie.

“The Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton, 1959—I first heard this song in February 1974 at Mardi Gras in New Orleans. In the following months I discovered much more in the Johnny Horton catalog.

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Music on Mondays — Happy Memorial Day!

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I have always loved history, especially war history, and on this date in 1941, the British Navy sunk the German battleship Bismarck in the North Atlantic near France.

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

The Bismarck was launched at Hamburg, Germany, on February 14, 1939. At 823 feet long, Adolf Hitler believed that the start-of-the-art battleship would mark the rebirth of the German Navy. The British Navy heavily patrolled ocean routes from Germany to the Atlantic Ocean, though, and only German submarines were able to move freely in the Atlantic Ocean.

In May of 1941, Hilter gave the order for the Bismarck to break the British patrols and get out into the Atlantic Ocean where it might wreak havoc. Britain sent much of the British Home Fleet in pursuit, and the British battle cruiser Hood and the battleship Prince of Wales found the Bismarck near Iceland. A fierce battle ensued but ultimately the Hood exploded and sank, taking 1418 of its 1421 crewmen to a watery grave.

Although the Bismarck escaped, it was leaking fuel and fled to occupied France. On May 26, British aircraft sighted it and crippled it. The next day, three British warships descended on the Bismarck and finished it off, sending it to join the Hood below the waves.

Thank you, Veterans!

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Music on Mondays — A little restraint would be nice

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

A recent post of mine (I wanted to follow you but, uh, no) has sparked a couple of reblogs and a great follow-up article by Marcus Ampe (Alternative four-letter words).

Marcus’s article reminded me of music, how it used to be fun, used to tell a story, used to be listenable, used to be singable…. Then it got corrupted with vileness and vulgarity.

I thought for today’s Music on Mondays we would go back to 1959, to the song “Battle of New Orleans” by Johnny Horton.

At the 1:09 mark is the phrase, “Then we opened up our squirrel guns and really gave them, well, we fired our guns….” Of course, the listener is wont to change “well” to “hell.” What the listener does is beyond Horton’s control, but I love him playing with us. If only most of today’s music, especially rap and hip-hop but I’m not going to let rock and pop off the hook, would exercise a little restraint….

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos

I'm Zoey the Cool Cat, and I approve this post

Looking for real estate services in San Diego County?
I can highly recommend
James Frimmer, Realtor
Century 21 Award, DRE #01458572

If you’re looking for a home inspector,
I recommend Russel Ray — that’s me!Real Estate Solutions

Pictures copyright 2012 Russel Ray Photos