Tag: country

Music from the Worst Album Covers — Ken, By Request Only

Music from the Worst Album Covers — Ken, By Request Only

Album Cover of the Week, Music
While opinions vary as to what the worst album covers of all-time are, By Request Only invariably shows up on just about every top 10 list. To be honest I don't really see why. Sure, it's kind of cheesy and good for a cheap laugh -- but is it really bad? I don't think so, but I'm just one man. Regardless, I made it my mission to track down this album -- issued only under the mysterious name "Ken" -- and check it out. So here's what you need to know. Ken is actually Ken Snyder, and By Request Only is a fairly typical contemporary Christian music album from the mid '70s. That is to say it's basically traditional gospel infused with contemporary country and even a little bit of rhythm and blues. The first track, "He Loves Me So," gives you a good idea of what you're in for on the rest ...
Desert Island Discs — Willie Nelson, Yesterday’s Wine

Desert Island Discs — Willie Nelson, Yesterday’s Wine

Music
I've toyed with the idea of writing a post about country music that even country music haters can appreciate. If and when I ever get around to it, Yesterday's Wine is absolutely going on the list. I have no idea if Willie Nelson ever performs material from the album in his concerts, but I would pay big money to watch him play it all the way through. If this album came out today it would be labeled "alt-country," for it bears little resemblance to the type of slick, radio-friendly music Nashville has been pumping out for decades. Yesterday's Wine is a deeply personal record, rooted in traditional sounds. It's warm and intimate, and suffused with a deep spirituality that always seems genuine. Oh yeah, and it's a concept album. Nelson assumes the role of an "Imperfect Man" who ha
Album Cover of the Week: Look At Them Beans

Album Cover of the Week: Look At Them Beans

Album Cover of the Week, Music
Ladies and gentlemen I give you Johnny Cash, the Man in... Beans? I would love to know the story behind this cover. I do know that the title is taken from a Joe Tex song called "Papa's Dream," which appeared on his 1973 album Joe Tex Spills the Beans. But anyway, about the Johnny Cash album. That's the Man in Black wearing blue on the front, and with his son John Carter Cash -- then just five years old and the only son of Johnny and June Carter Cash. Photography on Look at Them Beans (Columbia Records KC 33814) is credited to Marion Ward and Bill Barnes, and the design was by Barnes.
Retrotisement: Video Music Dynamite from 1986!

Retrotisement: Video Music Dynamite from 1986!

Advertising, Retrotisements
If you're about my age and love music, then you no doubt owned at least one music video collection from MusicVision. If you need to job your memory, think VHS collections of music videos from your favorite bands packaged in those gray boxes. Here's a classic ad from July 1986 featuring a bunch of them: Now this is what I call music! Of course it makes sense that two of the hottest bands of '86 -- Starship and Mr. Mister -- are prominently featured here. But let's not forget Country Comes Alive (with Kenny Rogers, Ronnie Milsap, Waylon Jennings, Alabama, Juice Newton, the Judds, and more!), Whodini, and Chess Moves, a set of original songs from the London musical Chess! Oh, and it's also available on Beta! Related articles Retrotisements - Classic ads from car companies of th...
Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Album review mini-roundup: Alison Krauss & Union Station, Duran Duran, and Jim Noir

Music
Alison Krauss & Union Station, Paper Airplane (Rounder Records) -- Even if Union Station's brand of bluegrass and sweet country pop isn't your cup of sassafras tea, you need to listen to this at least once. Krauss has one of the most beautiful voices in music, and you should never pass up a chance to hear her. Turn off your cell phone, sit down, relax, and let the beauty of tracks like "Lay My Burden Down" and "Dimming of the Day" take you away. Paper Airplane is a subdued affair, and not exactly what you'd play at a party, but the performances are top notch and the production is warm and intimate. There is a little more grit on the songs led by Dan Tyminksi (whose voice many will recognize as the man actually singing George Clooney's parts on O Brother, Where Art Thou?), but "Dust ...
New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

New Adventures in Hi-Fi: My Journey Into R.E.M., Part 3

Music
It seems like a totally foreign concept now, but there was a time when bands managed to tour and release albums on a regular basis. An album per year was standard for most acts, and some overachievers managed two per year. Now fans are lucky to get a new record every three years or so. I don't know how this started or why, but it sucks. I'd rather get a new release every year, with eight or nine songs, than these 14 or 15-song monstrosities that come out whenever a band gets around to it. Anyway, we're knee-deep in my journey through R.E.M.'s discography in case you hadn't noticed. They kept up an old-school release schedule throughout the 1980s, with a new studio recording every year from 1982 through 1988. Pretty damn impressive if you ask me. We're up to LP number three right now, Fa...
Listening Booth – Waylon Jennings, “Rainy Day Woman”

Listening Booth – Waylon Jennings, “Rainy Day Woman”

Listening Booth
Even if you don't like country music, you owe it to yourself to listen to this.  It's but a sampling of the sub-genre of country now known as Outlaw, and it's a stark reminder that there once was life and spirit in country music. From the classic 1974 album The Ramblin' Man, enjoy "Rainy Day Woman" from the immortal Waylon Jennings. And hey, props to Ralph Mooney on the steel guitar.