Saturday, May 22, 2010

The versatile Del Reeves.

Franklin Delano Reeves had a couple of late 60's hits with Percy Me! compadre and former Roy Orbison guitarist Bobby Goldsboro (who Percy and Eunice had the pleasure of hanging with in Reno), hitting the Country Top 40 together with "Take a Little Good Will Home" in 1969. Reeves was best known for girl-watchin' novelty tunes ("Girl on the Billboard", a '64 #1), and later for trucker anthems like "Looking At the World Through a Windshield". Here he is paired with Charlie Louvin, doing a medley of Louvin Brother hits: "I Don't Love You Anymore", and "When I Stop Dreaming", from Reeves' own Country Carnival TV show circa 1970.

Also included below: "Anywhere, U.S.A.", which amazingly wasn't a hit, but check out that stage set. Bonus: steel guitar wiz Larry Sasser makes a brief appearance.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

The Entertainer.

In the previous post on Jerry Reed, we linked to a Chet Atkins clip from 1975, a solo performance of the Scott Joplin rag from 1902, "The Entertainer". We think you'll agree, it's deserving of a post all its own.

I keep coming back to one thought after viewing this clip multiple times: Chet Atkins' fingers look as though they were genetically programmed to play guitar. And it's hardly original to point out that he's probably the most natural guitar player to ever live; he just seems completely at one with the instrument. Add to that his gentlemanly countenance, the muffled thud of his boots keeping time, and a smashing polka-dot shirt, and it all adds up to 2 minutes and 15 seconds of prime Chetness: controlled relaxation, and casual mastery. And don't miss the lick he throws in around 1:30 - I had to rewind a few times to catch it, but check the expression on his face: he surprised himself with that one.

As a bonus, we also bring you a clip from the early 80's, and what looks like a variety show from Hell gone completely awry: Chet and frequent collaborator Paul Yandell performing a Beatles medley, beautifully played but frequently marred by cheesy orchestration and wholly unnecessary backing vocals hidden off-stage. Chet plays along with the "hey, we're recording here" conceit, before being joined by the bleach-blonde host, and, of course...Tina Turner? Chet, of course, takes it all in stride...the consummate professional.

"The Entertainer", live 1975, show unknown. Plus: "If I Fell / For No One / Something / Lady Madonna", early 80's variety program (not great quality, but WTF factor + 5):

Friday, May 7, 2010

Certified Guitar Player

It's been a rough week for Nashville. In addition to the tragic loss of lives, homes, and livelihood for so many, now comes word that something like 600 Nashville artists lost pretty much all of their instruments, gear, etc., when SoundCheck, a 160,000 square feet rehearsal space, was completely flooded. Only time will tell how much history has been irretrievably lost this past week, so we're even more grateful now for the music and video, which lives on forever...especially on The Porter Wagoner Show, thanks to "Mr. Grand Ol' Opry" himself (yep, that was his official title).

And speaking of titles...most people know Jerry Reed as Burt Reynolds' cornpone sidekick, Cledus, from the Smokey and the Bandit franchise, but did you know he was one of only four musicians Chet Atkins deemed a "Certified Guitar Player"? Nah, me neither, until I read it on Wikipedia. Here's a fairly amazing instrumental medley from the early 70's, also featuring Paul Yandell, who began his career playing for the Louvin Brothers. "Snowbird"? Sure, OK. And for an added bonus, a not-embarassing Chuck Berry medley that shuffles more than it rocks, but once again underscores that blurry line between musical genres.

From The Porter Wagoner Show (which was actually filmed at various locations around Opryland, U.S.A.), straight outta Nashville, TN.