The River's Badge

Thursday, January 1, 2009

The CMA Awards - Let's Hope They Were Great In '88!

Isn't it great to look back and remember all those things from, say, 21 years ago? Things that maybe we'd rather forget, but then again, who knows what we might rediscover? Maybe something good!

In the world of news in 1988, we got ourselves a new President. Remember this?



Yea, that guy did a lot of great things for us. Hmmm, let's see now. What did he do? Well, he went into Iraq, sort of, but didn't finish the job; leaving us to inherit this big mess that we found ourselves in, just a few short years later. He begot a son who single-handedly demolished the Republican Party. Oh yea, and he DID raise taxes. So, I guess our new President in 1988 hit a triple!

Which is why I prefer to talk about pop culture!

In 1988, we enjoyed this classic movie from Tim Burton. (And boy, doesn't Alec Baldwin look young here!)



Another hit movie from 1988 was "Cocktail"; a movie that I never actually saw. But I do own the soundtrack CD.

Why didn't I see it? Well, c'mon. It did star Tom Cruise.

The only reason I'm including it here is so that I can include the Beach Boys video of "Kokomo". For some reason, this song gets dissed a lot. I don't get what the vehement hate of this song is all about. It's catchy. It's the Beach Boys. I like it.



And it not only features the glorious voice of Carl Wilson singing the high parts, but also Mike Loooove "fake playing" the saxaphone!


I'm not sure what happened to pop music in 1988, but according to the top songs of the year, it took a steep nosedive.

However, here's a good one (did you forget about this one?)



Here's another pop hit from 1988. Remember Rick Astley? Of course you do! Sure, he looks like a little kid, but he does have a great voice. Although the whole disco beat thing is sort of dated - even for 1988.



So, with that bit of background information, let's move on to the 1988 CMA awards, shall we?

Probably the most amazing happening of 1988 was that Chet Atkins stepped up to again claim the prize for MUSICIAN OF THE YEAR! Sure, you (and I) thought that Chet's time in the spotlight had passed. Oh no! Chet was back! And frankly, I think the CMA should rename this award the "Chet Atkins Musician of the Year Award". I mean, really.

Here's a clip from way back in 1954, just for fun. Chet, playing "Mr. Sandman" (those red houndstooth jackets were BIG in 1954!):



VOCAL DUO OF THE YEAR was the Judds! Yes, I know that the Judds tended to waver between vocal duo and vocal group. But this time, it was vocal DUO!

Here they are, doing, "I Know Where I'm Goin'":



The SONG OF THE YEAR in 1988 was "Eighties Ladies", written (and recorded) by K.T. Oslin.



K.T. had that one big hit, in 1988, and I guess some smaller follow-up singles, but "Eighties Ladies" was her moment in the sun. As I watched this video, my thought was, "What exactly is the point?" But I'm sure there was one. Maybe I didn't get it because I was only 33 years old in 1988. But the thing is, I still don't get it. Nice song, though.

K.T. Oslin also garnered the FEMALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR award.

Never to be heard from again. Okay, I guess that's a little harsh. Harsh, but basically true.

1988 ushered in a new award from the CMA's, VOCAL EVENT OF THE YEAR. I guess vocal event means that some people get together, who don't normally get together, and they record a song.

These gals recorded more than a SONG. They did a couple of albums, I think. And henceforth, they will be known as the TRIO.....Emmylou Harris, Dolly Parton, and Linda Ronstadt. Three superior singers. A match made in heaven, as they say.



The MALE VOCALIST OF THE YEAR in 1988 was my friend, and everybody's, Randy Travis.

Here's a nice video from 1988, "I Told You So":

<a href="http://www.joost.com/082025p/t/Randy-Travis-I-Told-You-So-(Video)">Randy Travis - I Told You So (Video)</a>

For some strange, unknown reason, the Country Music Association apparently decided NOT to name a MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR in 1988.

Surely, it couldn't have been because there were no good videos! For example, what about this one?



Rodney Crowell got robbed in 1988 anyway (see ALBUM OF THE YEAR), so I'm happy to include him here. And I'm giving him my own personal MAA (Michelle Anderson Award) for 1988 Video of the Year.

Moving on to categories that were actually awarded by the CMA, the SINGLE OF THE YEAR was a good one!

Here's one of country's best voices, Kathy Mattea, with "Eighteen Wheels and a Dozen Roses":


And, hey CMA's! If you didn't like my Rodney Crowell video choice, how about Kathy Mattea's? See, I think there were a LOT of great videos in 1988. Morons.

The VOCAL GROUP OF THE YEAR happens to be one of my personal favorites, Highway 101.

I can't emphasize enough how influential Highway 101 was in the country music world of the eighties. The original members (the real band) were Cactus Moser, Curtis Stone, Jack Daniels, and, of course, Paulette Carlson. Paulette, the Stevie Nicks of country music (only better!)

There seems to be a dearth of Highway 101 videos available on the web, and this is really the only one I could find (of the original band). Chronologically, this is incorrect, since this recording is from 1989, but here's one of many good ones from Highway 101:



Paulette is originally from Minnesota, and she is just a very lovely person. I was sad when the original group disbanded.

1988's HORIZON AWARD winner was Ricky Van Shelton. Ricky is a fine singer, and he had a lot of hit songs. My one wish for Ricky, however, would have been for him to record more originals, rather than remaking so many older songs. I guess it was a managerial decision. I just don't know why. There's a lot of great songs floating around. I'm sure Ricky would have had many to choose from.

Here's "Somebody Lied" (originally recorded by Conway Twitty):



This leads us to our last two awards of the evening ~ ALBUM OF THE YEAR and, of course, the biggie, ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR.

Both awards were won this year by none other than Hank Williams, Jr.

ALBUM OF THE YEAR - Born To Boogie


Ol' (young?) Hank was on a roll!

Here's a video of one of the tracks from the album of the year, featuring a few people you'll recognize, such as Foster & Lloyd, Ricky Van Shelton, Highway 101, The George Satellites, Vince Gill, Restless Heart, Waylon, and many, many more. Here's "Young Country":




Hall of Fame Roy Rogers

Sure, we know that Roy Rogers was a singing cowboy, and that he had a wife who was named for a guy, and he had a horse named Trigger. And he did western serials and he had poor Trigger stuffed (after Trigger died, of course).

But Roy did much more. Roy formed the Sons of the Pioneers. Take a listen here:



And I always heard that Roy Rogers was a heck of a nice guy.

Loretta Lynn

Lorett-y (sorry, I just recently watched "Coal Miner's Daughter" again) was one of the female pioneers of country music. She followed in the tradition of Kitty Wells and Patsy Cline, but her songs had a perspective all their own, because she wrote 'em. Loretta would never had had a career in country music, had it not been for the hard work and perseverance of her husband, Mooney (or Doolittle - you choose). And I'm sure that Loretta would be the first to agree.

Here's Loretta performing one of her biggest hits:



So, we bid a fond adieu to 1988. A year that saw the rise of some of our (at least my) most cherished country stars. And Hank Williams, Jr., too.

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