Tag Archives: marty robbins

Music on Mondays—Working for a living

The Music Chronicles of Russel Ray

There are many things I don’t like from my childhood. Okra gumbo, eggplant, salmon croquettes, potato cakes, oatmeal, and grilled cheese sandwiches come immediately to mind. And blue jeans. I had enough of those while living with my wise old grandmother from December 18, 1965, to August 30, 1973, to last me several lifetimes. So I don’t do those anymore.

I also had quite a bit of country music, which could explain why I don’t have an abundance of country music in my non-classical music collection. I probably have no more than one album from any of the country stars, and that album usually is a “Greatest Hits” album. Marty Robbins. Johnny Cash. Hank Williams, Junior & Senior. George Strait. Alabama. Maybe I have more if we include The Eagles in the country category but I tend to put them in “country rock.”

Here’s what is quite possibly my favorite song by Alabama, somewhat prescient in today’s world of Twitler destruction of all things that used to make the United States a great country and a great place to live.

“40-Hour Week (For A Livin’)” by Alabama, 1985

Alabama formed in Fort Payne, Alabama, in 1969 as Wildcountry. Founded by Randy Owen (lead vocals, rhythm guitar) and his cousin Teddy Gentry (bass guitar, background vocals), and soon joined by their other cousin, Jeff Cook (lead guitar, fiddle, and keyboards). They changed their name to Alabama in 1977.

Alabama’s greatest success came in the 1980s when they had over 27 number one hits and seven multi-platinum albums. Their first single, “Tennessee River,” began a streak of 21 number one singles, including “Love in the First Degree” (1981), “Mountain Music” (1982), “Dixieland Delight” (1983), “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” (1984) and “Song of the South” (1988).

They have sold over 75 million records, making them the most successful band in country music history.

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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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