Friday, September 10, 2010

755 Part Time New York City Hillbilly

755 Part Time New York City Hillbilly

You don't have to be from the blue grass of Kentucky or the back woods of Tennessee or the ranches of Texas to know and understand what they used to call Hillbilly music. That's no longer politically correct, so now it's "country" or "Americana." Whatever.

Some of us appreciators don't like the twangy nasal singing, but you can still love the melodies and arrangements. As someone said "Four chords and the truth." Probably was Boudleaux Bryant, who wrote almost as many hits as Lennon-MCartney, though we can't locate a legit attribution. But if you think the melody lines are simple or primitive, listen to Mozart for awhile and then see what you think of Hank Williams or Waylon Jennings.

Simple stuff. Clear messages. Tall stories. Mid-sized stories. Outright lies. Put aside trucks and trains for the moment and what you find here is a warm hearted but coldly rational look at the human condition. Cheating spouses, alcohol, lost love, found love, poverty. It's all part of all of our lives in some form and to some degree.

Country radio has never really been a hit in New York, and probably never will be. There just aren't enough appreciation. And too much twang. At WYNY, we once scored a 3.5 in the ratings. That's not great. But for Country 103.5, that was a break-out-the-bubbly occasion. Good thing we did, because it never happened again. And today's country is kind of ruralized rock. Not the Buddy Holly or Everly Brothers kind of rock which might be more appealing if we didn't have a built in wall against "old stuff."

So the city-billies that want real country listen to Pandora or their iPods or their CDs or even the old 45s. On a good night, the Mother Church, WSM, Nashville comes in like a local. That's good enough. The dance music crowd, the pop standards crowd, the serious jazz-o-philes had to learn to make do. It's not that tough.

Shrapnel:

--Remember Stewie Parnell, who hid behind the Fifth Amendment after his killer Peanut Corp. of America came down in a shower of filth, salmonella, nine deaths and hundreds of stomach aches? You'll be happy to know he has found a new job despite the recession -- consulting for other peanut companies, while the case against him remains unresolved. No doubt he can teach his former competitors plenty -- the guy knows how to dish the dirt, alright.

--Breakfast at a restaurant on a recent morning and we brought along a ping pong net, ball and two paddles and left them in plain sight. "Why?" asked the waitress? Answer: "so when you come back and ask us if you can 'take the plates out of your way,' they'll really BE in the way -- and we'll set up this net and start playing."

--Okay, okay, purists. It's table tennis not ping pong. Well maybe when YOU play it is -- just not so for most of the rest of us.

I'm Wes Richards. My opinions are my own but you're welcome to them.®
©WJR 2010

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