Thursday Tidbits

Posted on September 12, 2019 under Thursday Tidbits with 2 comments

Country Len


I’m pretty sure that I’ve already done a story on this subject but bear with me as I launch into yet another nostalgic trip through time.

Music has been as important in my life as breathing. I don’t think there has been a single day that I haven’t listened to music, sang a song or had an old tune rattling through my aging brain. I was brought up in a musical home and long before television (I’m dating myself), singing was our pastime. We would gather around the piano on a Friday or Saturday night where we learned how to sing four part harmony to all the old war era tunes, and church music. The appearance of Elvis and The Beatles altered our musical tastes significantly.

I was never much of a country and western music fan. My soundtrack was more soft rock and folk music. The Eagles remain one of my favourite groups of all time mainly because of their incredible harmonies. Check out “Lyin Eyes” if you don’t believe me. Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” still ranks high on my list of all -time great albums and I wore the grooves off Neil Young’s “Harvest “album back in the early 70s.

With only one radio station available back in the 50s, we were exposed to country music as our local station aired a daily show featuring the legends of C&W.

Only recently have I had a conversion of sorts and now country music seems to be growing on me. The music is uncomplicated. You don’t need a thesaurus to decipher the lyrics. The themes are real and often poignant. I mean, let’s face it, everyone loves a hurtin song!

For the past year, I have been singing at a local nursing home. I felt comfortable taking on the engagement because of my aforementioned knowledge of some really old songs but it became abundantly clear that if I was going to maintain the interest of the seniors, I would have to learn some country music – which I did. I now possess a full binder of old classics.

A few evenings ago, I invited friends over for dinner. Like country music, the meal was uncomplicated. It was typical meat and potatoes fare that would have appeared on any table 50 years ago. The dessert was leftover butterscotch cream pie, a survivor of last weekend’s hurricane! My guests were hard core country music fans so after dinner, we sat and listened to a compilation of some of the greatest country hits ever.

Patsy Kline – Crazy; Don Williams – You’re My Best Friend; Jim Reeves – He’ll Have to Go; Dolly Parton – Coat of Many Colors; George Jones- The Race is On; Hank Williams – Your Cheatin Heart; Charley Pride –Kiss an Angel; Marty Robbins – El Paso; Johnny Cash – Ring of Fire; Tammy Wynette – Stand by Your Man; Randy Travis – Forever and Ever; Merle Haggard – Mamma Tried.

A few years ago during my time in India, I was approached by two Indian men who saw me playing my guitar. They asked me to play something that they might know. As odd as it might appear, I sang Jingle Bells. It was 40 degrees at the time! When I asked them if they knew any English songs, I was shocked when they asked me if I knew anything by Jim Reeves. I did a quick Google search for words and gave them my rendition of “In the Misty Moonlight”.

This past May during my walk across Spain, I stopped in the village of Rabanal del Camino to check my aching feet and have some sustenance. A familiar voice was blasting from an outdoor speaker; it was none other than Johnny Cash singing I Walk the Line. How appropriate! On my way to get a drink, I stopped and sang along with Johnny. Several other pilgrims on the patio joined in. I hung out there for the better part of an hour, listening to several more of his tunes.

The influence of music is quite amazing, especially country music. It doesn’t seem to matter which country you’re in; you’ll frequently hear the old Country and Western Classics, sometimes in the most unexpected places.

One of my guests told a funny story. She lives in the country and has a very large lawn to mow requiring a ride on mower. Recently while mowing, her neighbor came rushing through a clearing in the trees looking quite alarmed. He feared that my friend was being attacked by wolves or coyotes. Fear not. My friend had her earphones on listening to her favourite country songs. She was singing at the top of her lungs. Hurtin and cheatin songs evoke strong emotions…. and sounds!

Have a great weekend.

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2 Responses to Thursday Tidbits

  1. Anna Mac Donald says:

    Country music—–I call them singing in your beer songs

  2. Klaus Hübner says:

    It´s always a pleasure to hear about your wonderful walks around the world. It was a great luck to meet you on CAMINO…I always remember this great time if your post are arriving! Thank You Len!!!

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