Tonight I put the radio on the "community radio" station (i.e., left of NPR), which just this morning had had an interesting talk show on the issue of reparations for African/American slavery. This evening a bluesman with the name Texas Slim was on. I picture the name Texas Slim to fit someone roughly 60, whose between-song patter includes "I remember when Ella and I....", but in fact this Texas Slim sounded about 25. As his song began to play, I reflected on how odd it is that I love rock, folk, r & b, and even traditional country western, but I am almost immune to electric blues. Then I remembered the night in the early 1980s that Stevie Ray Vaughan opened for The Call in a show at a state fair agricultural animal exhibition barn in Little Rock, Arkansas. He was incredible. My friends and I, none of us remotely blues fan (we all owned a Foghat album or two, but that hardly counts) were captivated. Then the Call came out, played their entire first album worth of songs, and were so beloved, that they encored each of the songs all over again. God bless good bluesmen and bands with twelve song repertoires. Michael Been of the Call looked really happy that night, which, if you've ever heard an early Call lyric, is a thing to discuss in and of itself. Still, tonight it was time to switch the dial to AM 1400, where a radio station in Greenville, Texas, fifty miles and nearly half a century away, plays "prime" country western, which translates to *very* Nashvilleish late 60s and early 70s stuff. You know, D.I.V.O.R.C.E. and Glen Campbell before his cowboy hat had rhinestones.
Just the other morning AM 1400 had the "trading post" show, where everybody can list items for sale for free, a sort of community flea market of the ether not uncommon in small towns in my rural townboy childhood. Tonight the repertoire seemed even more Nashville than usual. I spent my childhood with a deep revulsion for this seeminly inescapable combination of bathetic lyrics,
twangy guitars, and misplaced production values.
Now it seems like home to me, somehow. I had a quick, half-formed reflection about how only
Waylon and Willie and the boys' immense native talent concealed the fact that what came next, the outlaw movement which ended 'the Nashville years', was, like progressive rock, merely a side road in the c & w genre, and an odd one at that, but then I got lost on whether my analogy would then make those odd dance bands who comprise "new country" into the equivalent of punk, and the whole idea lost me so much that I was holstered by my own pony, or hoist by my own petard, or something, and then I thought about how great it was that I actually mowed our postage stamp back yard and then it was allright.