The River's Badge

Friday, September 26, 2008

The CMA Awards - 1969

The third annual CMA awards, in 1969, were, like 1967's, kind of a rout. One guy took home five of the ten awards.

But, before we get to the big winner of the evening, let's take a look at some of the other winners, shall we?

SONG OF THE YEAR Carroll County Accident - recorded by Porter Wagoner, written by Bob Ferguson



See? Porter actually had hit songs even before Dolly came along! This was, by far, Porter's biggest solo hit.

I'm not saying that one could listen to this song over and over, because, face it, once you know the "punch line" (so to speak), it kinda takes the fun out of it.

(This is coming out all wrong; I don't mean to imply that the song is funny or fun; although it is pretty corny, when you think about it.)

I will say that my friend, Alice, and I did rewrite the words to this song, and that actually was funny.

But, getting back to the song....You gotta love Buck Trent's electric banjo.


FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR Tammy Wynette



Here's Tammy doing one of the songs that won her the female vocalist award in 1969, "I Don't Wanna Play House". This song was written by Billy Sherrill and Glenn Sutton (who just passed away this week). Sherrill and Sutton wrote other hits songs for Tammy, including another of my favorites, "Take Me To Your World", as well as many, many hit songs for David Houston.

As you know by now, Tammy is one of my all-time favorite singers. And very classy, as demonstrated by this performance. Miss you, Tammy.


INSTRUMENTALIST OF THE YEAR

Chet Atkins


INSTRUMENTAL GROUP OF THE YEAR

Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass

Yup, Chet won again - third year in a row! And for the first time, Danny and his Brass took home the instrumental group honors.

Sadly, I cannot find any videos on YouTube of the Brass's performances, but here is two birds, one stone:

Danny Davis & The Nashville Brass with Chet Atkins (not a "video", per se - sorry):



I liked the Nashville Brass. It was an acquired taste, to be sure. There wasn't a lot of "brass" being heard on country records at the time (or ever), except for "Ring Of Fire".

I wasn't aware that Danny was actually a producer for RCA Records, and (not surprisingly) the story is that Waylon pulled a gun on him at one point. Apparently, they did not work well together (although if I have a problem with a co-worker, I just generally try to avoid them. Gunplay is frowned upon in my office.)

Anyway, with Waylon nowhere in sight, Chet and Danny put together this number, and the song was always a favorite of my dad's (as recorded by Billy Vaughn).


COMEDIAN OF THE YEAR Archie Campbell

You know, I can kinda see why the CMA eventually did away with this award. Rarely do music awards feature "comedian" categories. You know, the Grammys and what-not. And by rarely, I mean "never".

Because, what's comedy got to do with music? (Oops, what century am I living in? It's got everything to do with music nowadays, albeit not intentionally.)

But, with this category, I can see where country music got its "hick" reputation. I mean, c'mon guys (and gals), couldn't we just focus on the music? Did we really need to hand out an award to some refugee from Hee Haw? I'm not trying to come off as an elitist; I just don't (and didn't ever) find this stuff very funny.

But anyway, with that rousing introduction, here's Archie Campbell (God love 'em):



The good news is, this award was only given out one more year.

And now we get to the "rout" portion of our awards presentation. We'll start it off with the:

SINGLE OF THE YEAR A Boy Named Sue - Johnny Cash



Hey! This version doesn't have the, "I'm the BOOOOOP that named you Sue"! Kind of a surprise! Man, censorship was tough back then! They say a lot worse stuff now! And, you know, there's a difference between "swear words" and stuff that's TRULY offensive.

Anyway, this was the original version, recorded live at San Quentin, and released as a single (with the "BOOOOP", of course.) And there's Carl Perkins on guitar!

Nice to see this. Johnny looks like he was having a heck of a time, and the inmates were, too. Bet Merle was wishing he was still incarcerated, so he could have been there (okay, maybe not).

ALBUM OF THE YEAR

Johnny Cash At San Quentin



You gotta hand it to old Johnny. Who else was putting on concerts in prisons back then? Nobody. And he was having a good time, you can tell. I think he deserved the album of the year award, not only because "albums" weren't country music's forte back then, but because he had the moxey (I wanted to use a different word) to go to San Quentin and entertain those guys.

VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR Johnny Cash & June Carter



There are several versions of this song available on YouTube, but for historical accuracy, I wanted to feature a performance from that era.

Oh, and coincidentally, they were introduced by that master of mirth himself, Archie Campbell!

ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR


Surprise! Johnny Cash



This is a fun video to watch. Look how young the Statler Brothers look here! And there's Lew DeWitt! I don't know if you know this, but a lot of people don't: June Carter did not sing the "mama sang tenor" part on the recording. I guess she was unavailable or something, but it was Jan Howard who sang the part on the record.

A side note, if you will permit: While June may be (okay, is) the most famous Carter Sister, have you ever heard Anita sing? She had a pure, lovely voice.

I found a rare video treat, and while it doesn't have anything to do with the 1969 CMA awards, I have to share:



Hey, who's that guy she's singing with? I think he might have had some country songs that hit the charts awhile back. Can't think of his name, though........

COUNTRY MUSIC HALL OF FAME

Gene Autry

Okay, here's what I know about Gene Autry in a nutshell (and it's a very small shell): He did cowboy movies (or serials); he sang cowboy songs; he recorded "Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer"; he wore a big white hat; his biggest non-holiday song was, "Back In The Saddle Again".

You know, I haven't lived forever! I don't know about people who came to prominence in the 1940's.

Anyway, here's a compendium of Gene Autry snippets:



Interestingly, while researching Gene Autry, I found that he recorded this song, and since 1969 was definitely Johnny Cash's year, how about this for a finale:



So, all in all, for 1969's CMA awards, pretty much everybody could have stayed home, except for Tammy Wynette, because the female vocalist award was the one category that Johnny wasn't eligible to win.

Kudos, Johnny! Good work. You came a long way from Dyess, Arkansas.

1970 is next! A personal favorite of mine!

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