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I Hate Country Music, But Not Country Songs

I Hate Country Music, But Not Country Songs cover

I don't like country music at all; the instruments used, the style of vocal delivery, even the 'look' of country artists puts me right off ….. .... plus I have painful memories of going to the Greyhound pub in Edlington for soul nights and being confronted by loads of idiots dressed in cowboy gear & stetsons, wearing imitation colt 45 guns who thought it was their C&W night. ANYWAY, that aside, I have known that I like some country songs for many years …. the ones performed by Candi Staton, Bettye Swann, Joe Odom, Joe Tex, Moses & Joshua Dillard & the like.

But I never knew so many decent recordings started out with a simple country song .... songs like “Green Green Grass of Home, “My Elusive Dreams”, “Son Of A Preacher Man” & “Love of the Common People”, … mind you there are many such songs that, no matter which pop / soul singer tackled them, I'd always hate them (D-I-V-O-R-C-E being just one of these). Why am I wittering on about such matters, well I'll tell you.

All the above songs (excpet “D I V O R C E) and others recorded by the likes of the Daydreams plus Candy & the Kisses were all written by a combination of 3 guys who were signed to songwriting deals by Nashville's Tree Publishing Company (linked to Buddy Killen's Dial Records). The first of the trio of John Hurley, Curley Putman & Ronnie Wilkins to find success was Claude 'Curley' Putman. His song “Green Green Grass of Home” won a country music award in 1966. In 1968, his “My Elusive Dreams” won a similar award with “Love of the Common People” doing similar for John Hurley & Ronnie Wilkins.

Ronnie Wilkins was from a small town in North Carolina but he was to find success after he moved to Nashville. Initially he worked on his own, writing songs that the likes of the Buttons (Columbia), Evaline (SS7) & the Avons (Groove). He initially seemed to aim his compositions at soul acts, but Nashville soon turned him to the dark side. By 1965, he had teamed up with Hurley and they were writing for Joe Tex and the Illusions. John Hurley was a singer / songwriter and they soon hit it off. By 1967 they were a well respected team, both working for Tree Publishing, where they met up with Curley Putman. This teaming sometimes worked on songs as a trio but on other occasions it would just be Hurley & Wilkins writing together.

The team were soon having their songs selected by outside producers / acts on the soul scene. In 1966, Candy & the Kisses cut the Hurley – Wilkins song “Sweet & Lovely” with Tom Jones having an international hit with Putman's “Green, Green Grass”. Dial act, the Dreams, got into the act when they recorded “(Just to Keep On) the Lovin' Side” written by all three of them.

While down in Muscle Shoals in 67, Hurley & Wilkins were asked by Jerry Wexler to write a song for Aretha Franklin (Wilkins was playing organ on a studio session for Aretha at the time). Knowing that Aretha's father was a famous preacher, they used that link to craft the song they wrote for her. Aretha cut her version of the song but Wexler didn't think it fitted in with the otther songs on her upcoming album, so it was left in the can. Not long afterwards (early 68), Dusty Springfield traveled down to Memphis to record for Wexler. He immediately thought of the song Aretha had already cut & got Dusty to lay down her version of it. In November that year, the song was released on a 45 (Atlantic in the US, Phillips in the UK) and it went straight onto the charts in both countries.

Other artists were now picking up on songs the trio had written and it wasn't too long before other compositions of theirs were hits. “Love of the Common People” was recorded by many acts but it was a reggae version by Nicky Thomas (Trojan) that did best. This was a top 10 pop chart hit in the UK in summer 1970. By that time, loads of people were recording their songs with high profile singer / songwriters such as Elton John also joining the throng. The guys moved on, Ronnie relocating to California. New songs dried up, but new versions of their old ones (& film's using old tracks) kept the money rolling in. “Love of the Common People” returned to the charts in 1983 via Paul Young's version.

All in all then, these 3 guys who set out to write country songs back in the early 60's made quite an impression on the world outside of country music. However, it will always be the soul (& reggae) takes of their efforts that are the ones that will bring me joy.

                     JRS

 

 

DaydreamsSongWriters2.jpg

 

 

site note - article cover photo from
 https://www.flickr.com/photos/welovethedark/welovethedark





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........... Ronnie Wilkins was originally from North Carolina ....

The Daydreams were a local act that played the famous Williams Lake Dance Club (located to the NW of Clinton, Nth Carolina) ...

The Daydreams just have to be the group that cut for Dial in spring / summer 1966 & recorded a Hurley - Putman - Wilkins song ....

... maybe It was even Ronnie that got them the deal with Dial ... he had songs that he'd written cut by 2 Dial acts in 1965 ...

WilliamsLakeClubAct.jpg

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I have the 2nd of these CD's ... anyone know (Mark Windle?) if the tracks on the 1st one are of equal quality (I guess they are as that was the initial compilation) ??

Sounds like quite a few of these selections started out as country songs.

 

NashvilleB&S.jpg

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14 minutes ago, Roburt said:

I have the 2nd of these CD's ... anyone know (Mark Windle?) if the tracks on the 1st one are of equal quality (I guess they are as that was the initial compilation) ??

Sounds like quite a few of these selections started out as country songs.

The tracklisting of the first one looks quite good

Sam Baker - Slow Down Baby

Sam Baker - He'll Be Sorry
Sam Baker - You'd Better Check What You Got
The Mighty Men - No Way Out
The Mighty Men - I Had a Dream
The Mighty Men - You Too Much
The Mighty Men - Somethin' Else
The Mighty Men - Don't Stop Now
Rudy Greene - Oh Baby
Earl Gaines - Let Me Down Easy
Earl Gaines - Show Me Something
Dee Brown - Bad Habit
Dee Brown - Heap of People
Eddie James - Reap What You Sow
Gene Allison - Walking in the Park
Bobby Lindsey - Sugar Booger Baby
Levert Allison - Can You Handle It
Levert Allison - The Shape I'm In
Levert Allison - You Made a World
Rodge Martin - When She Touches Me
Rodge Martin - Close My Eyes
Luvenia Lewis - Let Me Be the One
Luvenia Lewis - Not Strong Enough
Dottie Clark - Since I Fell for You
Roscoe Shelton - Yesterday's Mistake
Edited by John Reed

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With regards to the country - R&B link in Nashville, key country 'crossover' writers and producers through the 60s included Buzz Cason, Mac Gayden and Bob Johnston (under the disguise of wife Joy Byers for contractual reasons as the rumour goes). Some songs, like Freddie North's "The Hurt", has obvious country influence, though these writers / producers involvement with black artists often leaned very much more toward true R&B / soul than country soul. Their ability to crossover from country to soul in a more than token fashion, was testament to their true musicianship, though also often with Ted Jarrett in the collaboration, who had a desire to create a soul groove more akin with the cities of the north than some country hybrid.

Folk will be aware of Buzz / Cason work with Robert Knight, Joe Simon etc. as this perhaps represents their most commercially successful endevours as far as R&B went. Joe Simon on his SS7 stuff admittedly showcases the country-soul thing perfectly  (Mac Gayden wrote a lot of his material and managed him for a while). However people forget / don't immediately realise Gayden and Cason were also involved in some of the Hit / Poncello / Spar product. Some may/ not realise that Gayden wrote Herbert Hunter's northern classic, again demonstrating the desire to capture something that was happening elsewhere,  as already mentioned. The likes of "I was born to love you" were hardly favourites on Music Row in the mid 60s. As Gerry Fleming of Athens Rogues said of that period, "Nashville could eat its young", and labels were often  just too consumed by the country machine.

 

 

Edited by Windlesoul

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Mark, no doubt your new book will deal with these matters in full ....

... do you have any info on the Daydreams ??

 

 

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Percy Sludge's take on Curley's "Set Me Free" (off the 68 LP 'This is Calarence Cater')  .... also done recently by Percy Wiggins & the Bo-Keys ...

 

 

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Just like soul music, there is amazing & terrible country music, to say that you hate country music is a bit of a broad stereotype :(

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Doesn't matter what anyone else tells me, I HATE country music ... makes me grate my teeth & stick my fingers in my ears, it's that BAD.

Here's a soul song that the country folk picked up on ... soul version; great ...  ....   .... country ... YUKKK ... 

 

 

Edited by Roburt

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Southern Soul and Country have a proud and deeply satisfying connection. A good country song, performed by a soul singer is often an unbeatable combination. There are dozens examples of such a happy union.

To each his own of course but to hate the timeless music of Hank Williams, Loretta Lynn, Emmylou Harris and Johnny Cash strikes me as a little extreme. 

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Hey Rob how can you not like Anita Carter and Hank Williams. Such a beautiful song and there is chemistry fizzing between them LOL! 

Her sister June married Johnny Cash so one of the great Country Music dynasties going on there.

Hank Williams achieved amazing things and died aged just 29 years old. Even if you don't like his music you have to respect his talent.

I'll find a chink in your armour eventually! LOL! :)

 

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Both country and soul share the same roots - they're forms of folk music. While the term "folk music" has taken on a different meaning over the years to something involving woollen jumpers and homely rocking chairs, it originally meant exactly what it says - the music of the people.

Both are connected intrinsically by their common theme - that in the space of three minutes, or there abouts, each song exists to tell a story. Blues, of course, just like other folk music styles such as prison songs and gospel, is all about story telling, usually in a vernacular style - and from that comes soul. 

It's interesting to note that in the 2nd half of the 60s, Atlantic made a conscious move towards country soul/blues. If I remember correctly Jerry Wexler was interviewed multiple times in the likes of Billboard magazine on exactly this topic - and it was his deliberate choice to move Atlantic from New York and the soulful South to Nashville and thus helped create a type of music for white people thinking he was doing for the same deep-pocketed Caucasians that Berry Gordy did when he blanched Detroit's "soul music". 

For me it's just as important to understand "country" music as it is "soul" if you wish to get an insight into how the latter developed. They're both intrinsically linked to the culture of the USA, and the home of the music we love.

And the ultimate conclusion for me is that hating one because it's "white" in favour of the other because it's "black" just doesn't make sense. It's all about the folk.

 

 

Edited by Russell Gilbert

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12 hours ago, Russell Gilbert said:

And the ultimate conclusion for me is that hating one because it's "white" in favour of the other because it's "black" just doesn't make sense. It's all about the folk.

I don't hate country music coz it's made by whites ... I hate it coz it's crap.

I love most (the vaste majority) of Muscle Shoals recordings & just about all the muscians on those tracks are white ... BUT ... they're playing good instruments in the right way .... next to no country influence at all ......

Here's one that does have a country feel to the instrumentation but the vocals are pure deep soul .... so it's great .... has a CC 'Patches' styling to it at the start but then it becomes 100% deep soul ... ... 

 

 

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On 29 August 2016 at 01:20, Roburt said:

Doesn't matter hat anyone else tells me, I HATE country music ... makes me grate my teeth & stick my fingers in my ears, it's that BAD.

Here's a soul song that the country folk picked up on ... soul version; great ...  ....   .... country ... YUKKK ... 

 

 

Truly woeful fodder. Doomed the moment the songwriters believed that " brambling " could seriously be introduced into a lyric :lol: Artists and musicians not at fault as they no doubt went along with it for the money. 

Lee Fields & The Expressions faithful take on JJ Cale's Magnolia is how it should be done. Band/Producer even had the imagination to add pedal steel guitar, not used on the original, an instrument normally reserved for country music.

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1 hour ago, Roburt said:

I don't hate country music coz it's made by whites ... I hate it coz it's crap.

I love most (the vaste majority) of Muscle Shoals recordings & just about all the muscians on those tracks are white ... BUT ... they're playing good instruments in the right way .... next to no country influence at all ......

 

so when Norman Putman, Jerry Carrigan, David Briggs, Earl Montgomery,  Donnie Fritts et al left Rick Hall at Muscle Shoals and re-located to Nashville they started to play 'bad' instruments in the 'wrong' way ??

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..... didn't say that.

But I will say Charley Pride (a black guy) sounds awful to me ... WHEREAS ... Eddie Hinton (a white guy) sounds bloody great.

Whatever you say, I ain't gonna change my spots after all these years, so I'd just write me off as a lost cause if I were you. Don't like / won't like country music.

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I'm not sure what you are saying really.......and i'll write you off if you like but I don't really see the point in you writing these extended articles about something you don't like, why not focus on something you do?

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My article is about country songs recorded by soul artists ... I DO LIKE THESE ... ... ....  just not the C&W versions of the same songs.

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Rob

This will be the one to snap you out of your "I hate Country Songs by Country Artists" comfort zone.

At first you may feel a little uncomfortable but then losing those shackles will be quite exhilarating. :)

 

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On 29/08/2016 at 01:20, Roburt said:

 makes me grate my teeth & stick my fingers in my ears, it's that BAD.

 

If you're hearing that here I'm shocked . . . . . . and disappointed! :(

She's talented, and beautiful, and a Brit. And she sends shivers through me. :)

(Type I HATE IT if you dare. LOL!)

 

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