Country Funk Comp Shows the Strange Treatment of Country Music

I wrote about a new compilation of country music and the strange way the genre is treated by the press for the Atlantic. Below, one of the songs off the compilation, which shows the singer Bob Darin basically rapping–in 1969.

Merle Haggard and “Okie From Muskogee”

I wrote about Merle Haggard and the 45th anniversary of “Okie From Muskogee,” his famous single (and the accompanying live album). This song threw Haggard into the ’60s culture wars and ultimately prevented him from crossing over in the manner of Willie Nelson or Johnny Cash. Here’s “I’ll Always Know,” from one of Haggard’s greatest albums, Mama Tried.

Lonesome, Down, and Out

I wrote about Jason Eady’s excellent new country album, Daylight and Dark, for Splice Today. Read the piece here. I got to interview Eady for the piece as well. A live performance of Eady’s “Lonesome, Down, and Out” below.

 

Roll Me Up

I reviewed Willie Nelson’s new memoir, Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die, for Paste.  One of my favorite Nelson songs below.

Same Name, Different Tune

I’ve been reading Willie Nelson’s memoir, Roll Me Up And Smoke Me When I Die, for a review I’m writing, and I’ve been listening heavily to Nelson’s music at the same time.  Nelson has put out a massive number of albums in his lifetime, but I’ve been mainly focusing on his work from the 70s, which is often remarkably spare and wonderfully simple.  In 1977, he recorded To Lefty From Willie, a short tribute album to the country singer Lefty Frizzell.  It includes the song “That’s The Way Love Goes,” a pretty little ditty:

 

Janet Jackson also recorded a “That’s The Way Love Goes,” the highlight of her 1993 album Janet (it shares nothing with Nelson’s tune, aside from the use of the title phrase for the hook).  Jackson steals the circular guitar riff from James Brown’s “Papa Don’t Take No Mess” for the song’s backbone, but she removes its thinness and tension, transforming it into something secure and soothing.  Where Nelson goes for satisfying chord changes and interlocking parts, Jackson locks in a single, unified pulse.

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