Charlie Rich Burns John Denver [VIDEO]


At the 1975 Country Music Association awards in Nashville reigning Entertainer of Year recipient made a statement still talked about today, but now available on YouTube (for now)

The “Silver Fox” had won the honor the year before and obligated to announce the winner of the category the current year.

A visibly buzzed Rich made his way to the stage and proceeded to milk the moment or effect and, apparently, torture the nominees
“I know the people that are up for it are suffering right now.”

As he reads the list of nominees – John Denver, Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn (who he proceeds to ask on a date in front of her husband, Mooney) Ronnie Milsap and Conway Twitty.

The audible scattered laughter from the crowd when John Denver’s name was read told you what you needed to know about the attitude in the room to the pop-folk newcomer.

The winning envelope is torn (annihilated) open and the winners name is announced. “My friend, John Denver.” Just after setting the naming card afire.

Talk about an outlaw move.

But Rich was anything but an outlaw. He tore up the charts with singles like “Behind Closed Doors” and “The Most Beautiful Girl.” Pop-country fair that was key in moving country music into cross-genre audience expansion.

Denver was a natural extension of Rich, Eddie Arnold and Glenn Campbell to fuse pop and jazz elements into country, softening it’s edges and filtering out the twang that alienated a coveted uptown audience.

Whether Rich was joking or not is only known by him. Whether he was making some great gesture or just trying to get attention in a drunken stpor has been fodder for speculation for years.

Rich stayed publicly mum on the controversial event. But many in the tight-knit industry took his insubordination seriously and his career suffered as he found it increasingly hard to find work afterword.

The world the Rich and Denver shaped now dominates the industry, airwaves and filled arenas across the nation. There’s not enough lighters in the world to change that fact.

Music review: Dale Watson & The Texas Two – The Sun Sessions [Red House Records]

On his new release Texas country music traditionalist Dale Watson goes back to the roots of by recording in the historic Sun Studios of Memphis, TN. It was here that owner and chief producer Sam Phillips changed the face of 20th century music by manning the board for the likes Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins, Roy Orbison, Charlie Feathers, Ray Harris, B.B. King, Joe Hill Louis, Rufus Thomas, and Howlin’ Wolf, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis among many others.

Dale scales down his band for the sessions to drummer Mike Bernal and Chris Crepps on upright bass, or as they have been christened the “Texas Two.” This band title is not the only     testimonial to Johnny Cash’s 1954 to1958 sessions with his Tennessee Two.”   The spirit of Cash is also evoked on nearly every song with the use of his trademark boom-chicka-boom sound  as well as the class atmospheric “slap-back” production that helped make the Sun Studios famous.

This is not the first time Dale has gone to hallowed ground to summon the spirit of Cash. His 2007 album, from the Cradle to the Grave was recorded in a cabin near Nashville formally owned by Cash and  graciously loaned to him by his friend and current owner Johnny Knoxville of Jackass fame.

Wason and his Texas Two peer from the cover with the iconic beaming sun set above them. These days Watson is looking less like Paulie Walnuts from the Sopranos and more like an older Unknown Hinson.

Also in line with Cash’s Sun Studio sessions is each songs brief duration. The 14 songs here clock in at less than a half-hour overall with the longest song, an ode to love and Southern cooking My Baby Makes Me Gravy, at 2:45. A way to a man’s heart is through his stomach but apparently it doesn’t take long to get there.

The songs are mostly all new with the exception of Johnny at the Door from Watson’s album People I’ve Known, Places I’ve Been (1999) and Elbow Grease, Spackle And Pine- Sol, which is a renamed version of Holes in the Wall from the Watson’s first album Cheatin’ Heart Attack (1995)

The genesis of the album began on Watson’s 16-ton Eagle tour bus bus after learning that the gig they were headed to in Memphis had fallen through. He then called up Sun Studios to see if they had an opening and they said “Come on in.” Watson then used his iPhone to record his voice as he worked out some songs while sitting behind the wheel.

Down, Down, Down, Down sets the pace with a boom-chicka-boom fright-train-like opening as Watson’s baritone breaks down a song of a life misspent on woe, sorrow and hell-raising ultimately asking for redemption. The Cash vibe is strong on Johnny at the Door, a tribute to a “good ol boy” Austin-area bar doorman and Drive, Drive, Drive that often echos Cash’s own Cry, Cry, Cry. Elbow Grease, Spackle And Pine- Sol is a guide to man’s reaction to being served divorce papers by his wife through aggression, he apologizes but sound like he does it with a smirk and doesn’t sound like he’s sorry at all for the “holes in the wall.”  Her Love has Watson conjuring one of the other ghosts of Sun Studio. The sentimental , heartfelt ballad has the mark of Elvis Presley running all through it.

Watson continues to be the cure for the contagion of  Music City pop-country.

Be sure to check out the Facebook campaign to get Dale Watson on the legendary Austin City limits show.

Official Site | Buy

Dale Watson & The Texas Two- My Baby Makes Me Gravy


Dale Watson: The Titanium Fox

  • Patterson Hood and the Screwtopians stopped by the Daytrotter Sessions to lay down some Southern fried goodness.
  • The Texas Country Music Hall of Fame have inducted Texas natives Neal McCoy, Michael Martin Murphey and Linda Davis to be added to the previous years members that includes Willie Nelson, Tanya Tucker and Jimmy Dean.
  • Producer and musician and Jim Rooney will be honored by the Americana Music Association with the Lifetime Achievement for Producer/Engineer award at the 8th Annual Americana Honors & Awards ceremony, scheduled for Thurs., Sept. 17 at the Ryman Auditorium in Nashville. Rooney has worked with John Prine, Iris DeMent, Tom Paxton and Peter Rowan – as well as his work on Nanci Griffith’s Grammy-winning “Other Voices Other Rooms. Rooney’s contributions as an engineer, musician, producer and songwriter has reached almost 150 albums to date.
  • Alluding to  Charlie Rich’s moniker The Silver Fox, The Scene designates Dale Watson the The titanium fox in this great interview featting classic exchanged like this:

SCENE: You write about the trucking life in the spirit of Dave Dudley and Red Sovine with maybe a touch of Cledus Maggard. What is the allure of that subject matter?

DW: I grew up when CB was king. There was an appreciation of the open road and the usefulness of the citizens band radio. Cell phones are great to keep in touch with the ones you love, but the CB is a useful tool to avoid some hazardous situations. Back then, Conway Twitty was big, the movie Convoy was popular, and the show BJ & the Bear was on TV.

SCENE: What the hell was happening on BJ & the Bear? At the end of each show the monkey would walk away with chicks in hot pants. What was supposed to happen between a monkey and human women?

DW: (laughing) I don’t want to think about it.

Unfortunately Dale is still raising his goofy Ameripolitan flag to describe his throwback honky-tonk sound.

The Devil Makes Three Readies “Do Right Wrong.”

  • Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum will hold its quarterly series, Nashville Cats: A Celebration of Music City Session Players on Saturday, Feb. 21, with a salute to drummer Jerry Carrigan. Among his many sessions, Carrigan played drums on Jerry Reed’s “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot,” Charlie Rich’s “The Most Beautiful Girl in the World,” Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler” and Tony Joe White’s “Polk Salad Annie.” Carrigan also played on sessions with Johnny Cash, John Denver, George Jones, Don McLean, Dolly Parton, Johnny Paycheck, Elvis Presley, Charley Pride, Tammy Wynette and many more.
  • Speaking of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum; country music legend Ray Price will visit the Museum on Saturday, March 7, to share memories of his close friend and mentor, Hank Williams. The intimate interview, which is presented in conjunction with the Museum’s exhibition Family Tradition: The Williams Family Legacy, will begin at 1:30 p.m. also in the Museum’s Ford Theater.
  • The 9413 celebrates the greatness that was Lecil Travis “Boxcar Willie” Martin as part of their excellent and enlightening  Forgotten Artists series.
  • HearYa – Indie Music Blog posts that San Francisco roots trio The Devil Makes Three will release Do Right Wrong on May 5th via Milan Records.

The Devil Makes Three – Old Number 7


David Allan Coe and Shooter Jennings in Harp Magazine

A great conversation by a couple of bonafide country music outlaws reminiscing about the good old days. From the piece:

JENNINGS: Nashville’s never going to change. They’re always going to be the same. They play by the rules. And it’s all still a pop thing. Nashville controlled it in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It was just the reckless people that did it their own way that broke out [into the mainstream].

COE: The greatest example of that is Charlie Rich. Charlie Rich was just coming off of Behind Closed Doors, which was the biggest fuckin’ record. And if you went up by Sony Records, they would tell you-you couldn’t walk in a building, you know. Because Charlie was in the building, they had the doors locked. Security had to check you out first before you could get in the building. Then they had the awards show. And he was supposed to read the winner of male vocalist of the year. And he just opened the envelope and read it and took his fuckin’ lighter out and set it on fire.

JENNINGS: When John Denver won.

COE: Yeah. He refused to announce this guy as male vocalist of the year. And I thought it was the greatest fuckin’ thing I ever saw in my life. And you know what? You never heard Charlie Rich’s name again ever. That’s how powerful that town is. I just think music should be good or bad, period.