Greetings, Glancers! Before we kick off this shit show, I should mention that I’ve been forced to skip a couple of albums in our 1966 list – That Nashville Sound by Jimmie (Jammie) Rodgers (Dodgers) and Where The Action Is by The Ventures. I simply couldn’t get good full copies of those albums. On to Buck Owens, the terribly named man I’ve never heard of, and what the hell is going on with that album cover? That short of embarrassing snap is usually reserved for in-bred Christian Bible Belt bands and clumsy family portraits in a final straw-clutching attempt to avoid divorce while pretending they’re still happy. Willie has a bit of the old Rod Serling about him though.
As for the album – it’s Country, so there’s already a 99% chance I’ll despise this, but it looks at least that it’s a collection of original songs (as far as Country music can be classed as ‘original’). At most, maybe there will be some decent instrument playing and I won’t want to shove excess bog roll in my ears.
‘Gonna Roll Out The Red Carpet‘ gets off in typical shit-kicking style. The vocals aren’t as unappealing as Country vocals usually are for me, and there’s a definite pop/rock approach. Harmonies, beat, melodies are all good – the guitar does have a twang but it’s not so far into ear-hurting territory. Neat little pauses throughout, and doesn’t wear out its welcome.
‘He Don’t Deserve You Anymore‘ opens with the pedal guitar sound I find so tiresome and grim. This time the vocals are more whining and close to what I dislike about the genre. The rhythm is more akin to what I know of Country – the sort of crap my parents would listen to in the car before I was able to sneak my cassettes into the player. It’s not terrible, just very plain and not at all to my tastes. Any Country music experts – I’d be keen to hear your opinions on all of this.
‘Cajun Fiddle‘ is exactly as it sounds. A bit of a hoe-down, a couple of good old boys sitting by the campfire, ‘fiddling’ each other. There’s also some guitar and drums. As far as instrumentals go, it’s just about tolerable.
‘That’s What I’m Like Without You‘ is another whiney ballad. It’s just like Xander says – ‘the music of pain’. Except the pain is of the annoying sort, like an early morning eyelash trapped in your socket. Replace that guitar with anything else and I suspect I’d tolerate this – change up the vocals and I’d maybe like it. Even with those facets removed, it’s still all too plain.
‘I’m Laying It On The Line‘ takes us back out of moaning ballad land. It’s another love song – aren’t these guys meant to sing about horses or something else? It’s a step down from the first song in that the vocals are pure Country bollocks. Melodies and lyrics do have a light-hearted appeal, but it’s still bullshit.
‘Hanging On To What We Got‘ is marginally faster again. This is a little more likable – the pedal and twang are gone and the vocals aren’t as ‘Welcome To Texas’. I can just imagine Bill Paxton dancing with a corpse in a run down diner to this. References!
‘We Split The Blanket‘ is somewhere in between the last song and the crap stuff – there are twanging interludes and there are dual vocals – crap and less crap. They have split the blanket, in other words. The melodies are already merging with the other songs – that’s always a negative in the Country music I’ve heard – doesn’t matter who the artist is or what era it’s from – the melodies are so similar as to almost be indistinguishable.
‘Cinderella’ is another ballad, just like the rest. The only distinguishing feature between this and the others is the lyrics. It occurs to me that I am probably the only person in the world listening to this song at this exact moment.
‘Tom Cattin‘ gives the album a bit of a kick up the anus. Feels like another instrumental, but unfortunately I can’t get past the awful Country tone and style. The playing is tight and tidy, but man I cannot stand the sound. Thank the Lord of Hay Bails these songs are short.
‘There Never Was A Fool‘ is another Country song, just like all the others. Same riffs, same melodies and rhythm. The vocals aren’t as bad as most.
‘After You Leave Me‘ is another ballad, and I’m almost convinced I heard that intro five minutes ago on one of the other songs. The vocals are sung with a deeper hue. Make no mistake – it’s still terrible.
‘I’ll Love You Forever And Ever‘ is finally the last song. I tried, team, I really did. This is just not for me, never will be. At least it’s not a ballad and they’re going out with a bang. Well, more of a plop than a bang. Weird pronouncing of ‘ever’. Vocals are terrible in places, better in others.
I feel almost physically ill listening to that. Country music has a large following in my Country – possibly because of our cultural history of farming. I’m not sure why the two go hand in hand, but both are aspects of this world I have no interest in. The sooner the tractors get off the roads, the better I say. And take your shitty music with you. Maybe I’m just predisposed to hate this stuff, given my general lack of patriotism. Maybe I just prefer good music – who knows. In any case, I have zero desire to ever hear any of this again. Similar to what I’ve mentioned in my Jazz posts – I’m still willing to learn – is this classed as ‘good’ Country music? Let me hear what is known as the best so that I can compare it. Maybe listening to this is the pop equivalent of S Club Juniors versus The Beatles. At the very least, it’s another album ticked of the list.
Let us know in the comments what you think of Buck Owens and his Red Carpet yapping!