The River's Badge

Saturday, March 23, 2013

I Want My CMT






Well, here's the deal:  I was completely enamored of MTV in the 1980's.  Sure, one wouldn't call the music "rock"; more like rock-pop or something; but it was GOOD.

The one and only reason I switched back to country music was because I happened to flip my radio dial one day, while waiting in my car for my kids to be dismissed from school; and I heard a song by somebody named "George Strait".  I said to myself, well, that sounds good!  Maybe I've been missing out on something, lo these five or six years that I've been away from country music.  (Isn't it just like music to flip on you when you least expect it?  And suddenly become good, when you turned away from it because it was so putrid?)

After hearing a song by this "George Strait" guy, I chanced to give country music another go.  I honestly had never heard of any of these artists that were suddenly wafting out of my speakers.

The first cassette tape (remember those?) I purchased was by somebody who called themselves the Sweethearts of the Rodeo.



I carried my boom box around while pseudo-cleaning my house, and I played that tape endlessly.  Why I had glommed on to this particular group, I don't know.  I know that I was reticent to embrace George Strait, because my mom and dad thought he was so good, and I wasn't about to bow to Mom and Dad's whims.  While I was visiting them one evening, they popped in a VHS tape of a George Strait live concert, and I watched it half-hardheartedly between snippets of conversation, and I still didn't get it.  Or chose NOT to get it.  I came late to the George Strait party, but when I finally climbed aboard, I turned into a giggly adolescent girl; devouring anything and everything that had the Strait name attached.

Meanwhile, though, there was this other guy, who had sort of a nasally sound, but, boy!  Those guitars sure rang!  This was like Buck Owens and the Buckaroos on steroids.



FULL DISCLOSURE:  Even better than George Strait!

This was a weird time in music for me.  Number one, aside from SOTR (or, Sweethearts of the Rodeo), everybody I liked was male.  I'd come of age during the time of Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette and Lynn Anderson; but no girl singers (except for one) were even a blip on my country music radar.  What had happened since I'd been away? 

But when the girls were good, they were good:



I sat behind my steering wheel, parked in front of my kids' elementary school, when this song accosted me from my radio speaker.  The first time I heard it, I believe I actually swooned.  I simply wanted to hear it again...and again; but I had to wait for the damn album (or by this time, CD) to be released before I could listen to it as many times as I needed (George never made a music video for this song ~ huge mistake):



(Admittedly, that song wasn't from the eighties, but I just wanted to include it.)

This song, too, had no official music video, but wow ~ what a great song!



Speaking of George (again), and speaking of swooning, well, here I went again:



And, again, there was Dwight:



But it wasn't all George and Dwight.  It was Clint:



It was Randy:



And did I forget some girl singers?  Apparently!



Some guy I'd never heard of before recorded an album of songs that took the 1989 CMA award for album of the year, and I knelt in front of my TV that night; cheering him on:



Sitting at a table at the Dakota Lounge one Saturday night, this new guy managed to strangle my heart strings with this:



Another really great song to two-step to was this, by Steve Earle:



"Got a two-pack habit and a motel tan" ~ I so admire great lyric writers.  FOUR STARS on this song!

Country music in the eighties wasn't all George and Dwight and Randy and Clint; however.  I want to also feature some of my favorite eighties country by some artists that might not readily spring to mind when we think about that decade:

Foster and Lloyd:



Rosanne Cash:



Singing background vocals on Roseanne's song segues us into Vince Gill:



Singing background vocals on Vince's song leads us to Patty Loveless:



Singing background on nobody's here-to-fore mentioned songs, and unfortunately a video with poor sound quality (but I wanted to include it, just because), here is Steve Wariner:



(For unknown reasons, in the days when I went out dancing on a Saturday night, whenever the band played the part in "Lynda" that went, "I woke up screaming this morning", all the patrons were apparently obliged to scream.  Naturally, I abstained.)

Speaking of live music and dancing, this next song is essentially impossible to dance to.  I'm thinking it's because the tempo changes between the intro and the rest of the song; and then back again.  If you want to look really foolish out on the dance floor, try dancing to the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and this:



Like Patty Loveless, Kathy Mattea has a great voice, and I love this song:



Please don't forget Restless Heart (another song I love):



I have no doubt forgotten to include some artists.  After all, it was more than 20 years ago (really?)

You can shoot me now, but I just never was a big Garth Brooks fan.  I certainly didn't hate him; I was simply ambivalent.  That is why I have not included any Garth Brooks videos.  Feel free to hum, "If Tomorrow Never Comes". 

I do believe I have made my point, however.  The 1980's were the prime time for country music; and alas, it will never be the same again.  I don't begrudge anyone their taste in music.  I like a ton of stuff that would cause people to scratch their heads.  That's why we're called "individuals".  For me, however, I choose not to listen to "today's country".  But who knows?  If a Randy or an Alan or a Rodney comes around again, and shakes things up, chances are I would be right back listening to radio again.  Luckily, in the absence of that, I have music videos.



























2 comments:

Marla said...

You found country music before me, but I'm with you know! I love it! (Except Garth too... I have always thought he was too into himself. And, after reading Trace Atkins' book I learned he got too much attention from the label too). Have you been to Nashville? And to the CMA Festival? It's the best!!

Michelle Anderson said...

No, Marla, I've never been to Nashville. Always wanted to go. Ha - actually dreamed about moving there when I was in high school. I should read Trace's book. I like learning the inside scoop about the music biz.