Category Archives: country music

If French Fries Were Fat Free

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Lost Hits of the New Wave #6

“Clones (We’re All)” by Alice Cooper.

This is notoriously the New Wave song from Alice Cooper, trashed at the time as cashing in and selling out to popular music, the album “Flush the Fashion” is now considered something of a lost treasure. It was one of my faves of the time even though it disappeared quickly. I remember it being in the nightly ‘top five at ten’ on WPST for a week or so.

Selling out or not, the tune is vintage Alice, and fits it perfectly with his repertoire. Alice was the monster guy when I was in elementary school, and was now the scifi guy with this comeback while I was in junior high. Do you hear the Gary Numan “Cars” vibe in there? I like it.

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Jimmy Dean Passes Away

Most folks knew him as the visible head of his sausage company, but generations previous knew him for his music and his television series. Yesterday Jimmy Dean passed away at the age of 81.

We all know Jimmy Dean Sausages but I remember fondly his crossover hit “Big Bad John” and even its two sequels. I also remember his various TV shows that first featured the piano-playing muppet Rowlf the dog, who was notably the first muppet star – even before Kermit the Frog. And then there’s his film role as Willard Whyte in one of my favorite James Bond flicks Diamonds Are Forever. He’ll be missed.

Below is an October 2009 performance at the Grand Ole Opry by Jimmy Dean of his classic “Big Bad John.” Enjoy.

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Golden Rain?

“Golden Rain” really isn’t a very appetizing title for a song, but that’s how “Il Pleaut de Lo’r” translates into English.

This year’s Swiss entry into Eurovision is by the young man with the interesting hair, Michael von der Heide, who has been on the top of the Swiss chart since the 1990s.

I still haven’t seen or heard anything this year that grabs me, but at least this isn’t a ballad… even though I shudder when I think about what it could really be about…

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Avenged Sevenfold Drummer Dead

Praised by some as one of the world’s best drummers, Jimmy “The Rev” Sullivan of Avenged Sevenfold was found dead in his home yesterday. No cause of death has been revealed as yet.

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The Boys Are Back

The Boys are back. I’m not talking Backstreet, Beach or even High School Musical, I’m talking ‘bout Oak Ridge, baby.

The Oak Ridge Boys are back with their old line-up and a fairly recent (May) album. The title track, “The Boys Are Back,” is a gospel-tinged almost slow-motion rap written by country rebel Shooter Jennings. It’s a mission statement, catchy and repetitive that even digs up a Fleetwood Mac “Tusk” vibe toward the end.

Much of the album is composed of covers, and this isn’t the first time the Boys have ventured there. One of my favorites from 2002’s compilation When Pigs Fly: Songs You Never Thought You’d Hear is their “Carry On Wayward Son.” Here the Boys shine on stuff as arcane as John Hooker’s “Boom Boom” and Neil Young’s “Beautiful Bluebird.”

The true gem on The Boys Are Back is both surprising and surprisingly good – the Oak Ridge Boys take on “Seven Nation Army” by the White Stripes. The Oaks use their versatile voices to replicate the bass and percussion that make the song so hot in any version. Amazing.


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Neal Hefti RIP

Composer Neal Hefti has passed away. Among his work were the scores to two of my faves, How to Murder Your Wife and Boeing Boeing, as well as Barefoot in the Park and of course the TV themes to “The Odd Couple” and “Batman.”

“He told me he tore up more paper on ‘Batman’ than on any other work he ever did,” his son Paul told the New York Times. “He had to find something that worked with the lowest common denominator, so it would appeal to kids, yet wouldn’t sound stupid. What he came up with was a 12-bar blues with a guitar hook and one word.” It’s a hook that will never be forgotten. This great composer will be missed.

Porter Wagoner 1927-2007

The man was a hardcore country & western singer, and without him neither country music nor rock and roll would be what it is today. I grew up watching his TV show on Saturday nights and even though country isn’t one of my favorite kinds of music I still respect and acknowledge the man’s undeniable talent and charisma. Rock on, Porter.