Both Kinds of Music

Both Kinds of Music

Elwood: What kind of music do you usually have here?
Claire: Oh, we got both kinds. We got country *and* western.
- The Blues Brothers

This ain't your Dad's country music. It's your Granddad's! None of that new Nashville bullshit either.

Both Kinds of Music digs deep to find musical ephemera from Country Legends, Seasoned Pros and Fresh Upstarts.

Started in 2009, BKOM has over 4,000 unique posts related to country music, including western wear and folk art. Explore the archives to find your favorites.
Contributing Authors

Ray Charles - Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music

Here’s a playlist of the entire album PLUS what’s more or less the originals on which Ray based his interpretations. Enjoy!

264 plays

Ray Charles - Hey Good Lookin’

The big band sound of country music.

Ray Charles - I Can’t Stop Loving You

There aren’t many videos of the songs from Modern Sounds, but I found three and created a playlist, which includes this song, plus You Don’t Know Me & Just A Little Lovin’ 

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Let’s get this out of the way from the get go: Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is not a country album.

It doesn’t look like a country album. Doesn’t sound like one. Sure doesn’t act like one. Even so, it’s one of the most important and essential country albums of all time. Brother Ray flipped these twelve country standards on their heads by taking the drawl and twang out and turning them into a combination of big band style jazz standards and pop songs with lush orchestrations. It marks the first time a major mainstream artist tackled country music without going country. Sure sure, Tony Bennett’s cover of Hank Williams’ Cold, Cold Heart was a big hit in 1951 but that was a lone song and 11 years before this album was released.

What might even be more astounding is that this was recorded in 1962 by a prominent black musician. I don’t know how much you look at old Billboard charts, but the number of black artists in country back then was a big fat goose egg. And when I say back then, I mean the entirety of country music up until that point. When you think about it, the idea of a blind black man making country music palatable for the ears of white city dwellers in the early 60s is kinda funny in it’s one-upmanship.

Modern Sounds features some of the most important country songs recorded by the likes of Hank Williams, Eddy Arnold, Don Gibson and Floyd Tillman. Charles digs deep into country’s history to grab important tunes like Born To Lose and It Makes No Difference Now, but also stays contemporary with recent songs like I Can’t Stop Loving You, which he also made a #1 crossover. All of that is sort of immaterial to the listener because the beauty of this album is that if you didn’t know these were country songs (by somehow missing the title of the album), you’d come away none the wiser; that’s how definitive these versions are. Ray owns these.

If you’ve never heard this record before, it’s easy to dismiss it as schlock. Imagine driving down the road, playing it loud in your car and stopping at a light – it would be nearly impossible to look cool. The pop arrangements sound very Music of Your Life/Ray Conniff (ask your grandparents); still, these are far richer than anything Conniff ever put to vinyl. Add in the five big band numbers that punch up the country with soul and you’re got a tremendous genre-bending effort that made it OK for people with no country roots to enjoy country music without even knowing it.

Rating: 9.4/10

- Don Sticksel

Modern Sounds in Country and Western Music is available on CD from Amazon (not MP3 surprisingly). This includes the second volume of songs he recorded almost immediately after the success of the first album. 

Track list:

"Bye Bye Love" (Boudleaux Bryant, Felice Bryant)
“You Don’t Know Me” (Eddy Arnold, Cindy Walker)
“Half as Much” (Curley Williams)
“I Love You So Much It Hurts” (Floyd Tillman)
“Just a Little Lovin’ (Will Go a Long Way)” (Eddy Arnold, Zeke Clements)
“Born to Lose” (Ted Daffan)
“Worried Mind” (Ted Daffan, Jimmie Davis)
“It Makes No Difference Now” (Floyd Tillman, Jimmie Davis)
“You Win Again” (Hank Williams)
“Careless Love” (Traditional, Arranged by Ray Charles)
“I Can’t Stop Loving You” (Don Gibson)
“Hey, Good Lookin’” (Hank Williams) 

130 plays

Tommy Collins - Sam Hill

Vastly underrated country artist who helped define the Bakersfield sound. Buck Owens played in his band and Merle Haggard recorded a bunch of his songs, including this one.

Somebody told me once it takes an Americana song five minutes to say what a country song says in three — so I try to write country songs.

Sturgill Simpson

When putting together radio show playlists, I found this to be especially true. “Why are these songs all so long? Get to the point english major!”

200 plays

Hank III - Dick In Dixie

Carlene’s comment about putting the see you next tuesday in country inspired Bocephus Jr. to address critics of his music.

212 plays

Carlene Carter - Swap-Meat Rag

The song that Carlene, daughter of June Carter and Carl Smith, infamously introduced by saying, “If this song doesn’t put the cunt back in country, nothing will.” It’s about swinging.

To have and hold suburban life
Forever live as man and wife
Welcomed by the neighborhood
The neighbors here are really good
They say “What’s mine is yours
And yours is mine”

Swap-meat the American way
You can have it twice a day
Swap-meat the American way
It’s indoor recreation at its best

Hold me back, it’s just too much
I’ve never seen the like of such
I must admit it beats the bars
No broken hearts or nasty scars
Just carpet burns and wait your turns

Swap-meat the American way
You can have it twice a day
Swap-meat the American way
Ahh it’s strictly code of the road

Detectives breaking down the door
The evidence laid on the floor
Pistol-packin’ romeos, stop illegal loops and holes…
My old man says it’s time to go
But I just wants to do-si-do
I can’t stop this jig and jag
I wanna swing my little honey
To the swap-meat rag
Community property, it’s all in the family

honkychompin:

Happy 82st birthday, Roy Clark! Here he is playing Alabama Jubilee on the Porter Wagoner Show.  His guitar skills are insane. Also, watch him SLAY Malaguena in this cameo appearance on The Odd Couple.

***Porter’s laugh at the beginning of his video is amazing. His Nudie suit was always on point**

(Allerbammer)

An underrated classic country musician.

Sturgill Simpson - Turtles All The Way Down

"I just reached a point where the thought of writing and singing any more songs about heartache and drinking made me feel incredibly bored with music." - NPR interview

Sturgill is getting heady on his upcoming album, Metamodern Sounds in Country Music. I’m going along for at least one trip to see where he’s going. 

The album is available for preorder on his bandcamp page.

shopmidnightrider:

This rare archival footage finds everyone’s favorite on a hot July night in Jersey amidst its final summer tour, just under a month before the much-acclaimed King Biscuit Flower Hour set at the Carter Baron Amphitheatre in Washington, D.C. Sure, the track list is basically the same as that show—the Band throws in a couple of extra cuts this night—but this is a video of an entire performance.  It’s a nearly flawless one at that, save some early feedback and a rough spot in the mix during “Forbidden Fruit.” No frills, no special guests, just the band at peak live powers transmitted through the haze of aging film and tape. Titans in the clouds.  Reminding us again that we should say our prayers to the Band before we go to sleep, and that Rick Danko will always be the scrappiest dog in the fight.    words / j steele   - AquariumDrunkard.com

Just put it on in the background at work and let it play.

1) Get DRESSED.
2) Set up outside your motor home.
3) Look cool
4) Let the fingers fly.

1) Get DRESSED.

2) Set up outside your motor home.

3) Look cool

4) Let the fingers fly.

(via pickinpluckinstrummin)

"Take Me to Your World"— It’s easy to view this song as a likely precursor to "Stand By Your Man," portraying a male as a stronger character than the woman Wynette assumes the role of. But as many songs on Take Me To Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House reveal, the First Lady of Country Music also told stories of what it meant to leave a man when he proved unworthy.

202 plays
Tammy Wynette,
Take Me To Your World - I Don't Wanna Play House

The most mysterious track off the album. Where is she calling from so frantically, and what has she escaped? 

Hello, who’s speaking? Mama, I didn’t think it was you
I’ve had a hard time reaching you
Now mama, don’t start crying, don’t worry, I’m all right you see
You know how he’s mistreated me
If I’d stayed at home, what would people say?

After all that’s happened it doesn’t matter anyway
Mama, your little girl gets lonely in a big old town like this
I wish, I had my teddy bear to sleep with
But mama, how are you? Yes, I’ll call you in a week or so
My time is up, I’ll have to go
My time is up, I’ll have to go

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Tammy Wynette is best known for one song: “Stand By Your Man.” The hit created a stir with feminists when it debuted in October, 1968, and in the years following its release the singer would famously say time and again that she spent “fifteen minutes writing it, and a lifetime defending it,” vehemently denying that the song hints at male chauvinism.

It’s undeniable that Wynette’s promoters did all they could to capitalize on the public’s conclusions about “Stand By Your Man,” as evidenced by many similar hits that followed like “The Ways to Love a Man,” and “My Man (Understands).” But it’s important to note that Wynette was a lot more than the public’s view of “Stand By Your Man.” And it’s especially fascinating to look at her discography prior to the release of the song that completely reshaped her career.

Take Me to Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House, Wynette’s second release, is her richest album prior to “Stand By Your Man”— it delivers several excellent songs, and, most importantly, puts the singer’s complexities on full display. The album is most interesting because it hints at one particular theme that echoed not just “Stand By Your Man,” but Wynette’s personal life as well: the conflicted sense of independence and dependence on a man that strongly mirrored her life, the portrait of a woman with a strong mind, yet torn by gender-traditional values.

It’d be a far cry to try to make the argument that Take Me to Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House was meant to be a concept album, consciously dealing with gender issues. Rather, one should understand this album by taking into account the following: Wynette’s personal life and the ways it mirrored her songs, and the singer’s targeted audience, working to middle-class, and rural to suburban women. But though Wynette is not credited with any of the songwriting on this album, many songs on the record directly resonated with her personal life.

By the time Take Me to Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House was released, Wynette was a mother of three, and fast approaching her second divorce. So when Tammy, the product of an upbringing that sternly looked down on divorce, sang “I Don’t Wanna Play House,” her first number one hit as solo artist, there’s no doubt she felt every word of the heartbreaking story she was singing about. Referring to the times she had to perform the song live, Wynette once said: “There’s been many a time I’ve almost had to stop it.” This song can be viewed as the defining track on the album: lamenting, but not necessarily regretting a broken marriage.

The most common theme on Wynette’s second album is the on and off presence of a male partner. “Good” and “Take Me to Your World” are hopeful songs that depict a male as a savior; in each Wynette assumes the role of a morally degraded woman, admitting things like “temptation comes easy to a woman like me,” and that she’s in search of a male companion who can take her “away from bar rooms filled with smoke.”

But while Wynette may present males as moral saviors, more often, she explains that men have let her down— and shows she won’t stand by just any man. “The Phone Call” is the mysterious story of a young woman frantically calling her mother from an unknown location, revealing: “I’m alright, you see, you know how he’s mistreated me.” “I Don’t Wanna Play House” is the heartbreaking tale of the effects of a broken marriage. And “Fuzy Wuzzy Ego” and “Broadminded" are numbers that channel the feistiness of Loretta Lynn and challenge gender double standards of the time.

As was common at the time, Take Me to Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House features a number of covers. In the late sixties, country musicians often released multiple albums per year, and covers of popular hits were both an easy way to fill out an album, and draw appeal on the success of already known songs. “Cry” is an excellent cover of Johnnie Ray’s 1951 hit, whereas “Ode to Billie Joe” is a failing, distracted impersonation of Bobbie Gentry’s haunting song.

Every country fan should give Take Me to Your World/I Don’t Wanna Play House a listen— for not only is it a fun listen, but it’s a testament to the complexity of one of the greatest singers country’s ever seen.

 Grade: 8.7/10

- Amanda

This album is out of print and isn’t available to stream, but you can grab it on Amazon for fairly cheap, or listen to it via this Youtube playlist.