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Southern Raisin': I'm crying all over you

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“And I can’t sleep at all, it is true.”  

“Awwww pick it out Billy Byrd.”  When is the last time you heard any good ol’ country,  served-down-on-the-farm country music?  Bring back Ernest one more time and don’t forget the ‘Troubadours.” Unless you get lucky and know exactly where to turn the dial, you can’t find good music.

We grew up when there were still disc jockeys spinnin’ the records.  Now a days there are tapes, CDs and all kind of fancy ways to play music, if you call it that.  The announcers back then would wake you up with the weather forecast, which consisted of, “Well, ladies and gentlemen, it’s July, so it gonna be a hot ’un, better not stay too long in the field.”  

Or in the winter, “It’s gonna be a little chilly tonight, so throw another stick of stove wood on the fire and hug the warm mornin’.”  Maybe, if it clouded up a bit, he’d say, “Well send the dog outside, and if he comes back wet, you know it’s rainin’ and if he’s soaked, well maybe, we got us a gully washer.”  So simple back then.

Bob Neal, Elvis’ second manager, was on WMPS every morning, and he played just what you liked to hear.  You could send him a penny postcard, believe it or not, with a request, and he’d read it over the radio and call your name, which tickled us to death.  I could brag about it at school.  It was eally something.

Some of the advertisements were entertaining too.  

“If you feel a little sluggish get you some Cardui.  Or if you need a little pep, buy some Hadacol.  Fix you right up.”  

I guess it would, because Hadacol was about 20 percent alcohol.  

“How about going over to Ralph’s Feed Store, and pick up a few sacks of Nutrena supplements for the calves.  It won’t be but a few days and you can stand right there in the feed lot, and watch ‘em calves spurt right up.”   

Guaranteed. Yesssss sireeeeee!!!!!!  Now-a-days the announcers (former disc jockeys) are too busy telling us we will hear three hours and 17 minutes of uninterrupted music.  This ain’t music.  At least, not good country music.

Country music is misery, hurtin’, cryin’, please come back I’ll do right, rodeoin’, truckin’, I love you almost as much as my dog music.  

Remember Hank Williams’, “Lovesick Blues” and “Cold Cold Heart?”  

Eddy Arnold’s, “I’ll Hold You in my Heart,”  Bob Wills’ “San Antonio Rose,” Johnnie and Jack’s, “Poison Love,”  Floyd Tillman’s, “I Love You so Much it Hurts,” Lefty Frizzels’ “I Love You a Thousand Ways,” Faron Young’s, “Four Walls,” Hawkshaw Hawkins, Cowboy Copas, Little Jimmie Dickens and His “Tater.” 

Patsy Cline, the greatest, “I Fall to Pieces.”  Gentleman Jim Reeves’, “He’ll Have to Go” and The Louvin Brothers.

Like everyone else, we listened to the Grand Ole Opry on Saturday night, and no one would dare whisper, ’cause you might miss Lonzo and Oscar, The Duke of Paducah, or possibly Stringbean carryin’ on, cuttin’ up and havin’ fun.

We could only wish we were there.  Never did I dream this Opry music would evolve to our modern day Ne-O-politan, country-politan, contemporary mess we have now.  

Don’t insult my intelligence by trying to convince me this is country.  I know better.  Call up one of the stations and request a Merle song.  Sorry, but our listeners don’t like that kind of music.  Wrong, country folks love Merle and will forever and ever.

The new singers I guess are good, but they are not country.  Thank goodness we have some classic radio.  

I have a friend from Blue Springs, Miss., “Bashful Bob,” that plays old country one day a week in Memphis.  Someone called up and wanted Shania Twain, Garth, and Bryan White.  Bob told ’em, “I don’t have ’em and if I did I wouldn’t play ’em ’cause they ain’t country.”  

My sentiments exactly.  I don’t know how the music is classified, if there is such a thing.  I have nothing against them, but don’t try to feed me broccoli, and tell me it’s turnip greens without fatback.  There’s Ole George, “He Stopped Loving Her Today,”  Bobby’s  “Detroit City.”  Who could forget Tammy’s  “D-I-V-O-R-C-E” and Loretta’s,“Don’t Come Home A-Drinking With Loving On Your Mind?”  

Give me some Dave Dudley and Red Sovine Trucking songs or maybe Moe’s Rodeo songs.  Ray Price can sing so pretty it’ll make a ‘coon’ dog hug a hound.

Roy’s “Wabash Cannonball” and Jimmie Rodger’s Train Songs.  Ole Hank would turn over in his grave, Roy Acuff’s yo-yo would fly apart and Minnie’s price tag would fall off if they heard this conglomeration on the Opry.  

Johnny in Black spent $23,000 for a billboard in Nashville letting folks know what he thought of the big shots that controlled the music industry.  Very interesting!

I know I left off some one’s favorite, but when you are blessed with so many great ones it’s easy to do.  As the saying goes, “Save Your Confederate Money boys, ’cause the SOUTH and REAL Country Music is Gonna Rise again.”  During the next election maybe we ought to vote in “DIXIE” for our National Anthem.

Praise Be To Our Southern Country Music---------GLORY!!!! 

Otis Griffin is the author of the book “Southern Raisin.” He was born in  Charleston, Tenn., and attended Rosemark Grammar School and Bolton High School.

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