Monday, August 26, 2013

Another brief comment about country music, mainly for WPB

Better Kacey Musgraves: Jeannie C. Riley, "Harper Valley PTA." Same point, much wittier delivery, and slide guitar for added flair. That's not to suggest, contra the NYT, that country music didn't discover the phenomenon of moral hypocrisy for the first time just last March, of course.


WPB said...

Sorry, I prefer Kacey. Aside from Johnny Cash, much of the '60s country doesn't do that much for me.

That's not to suggest that you can't make fun of the NYT's views of country music, or country-music country, all you want!

Miss Self-Important said...

No Merle? Flatt and Scruggs? Country Gentlemen?

Strange life choices, but I suppose we can still be friends in spite of them.

WPB said...

Oh, they all have their places, but no -- the country music I really like is almost too embarrassing to talk about on the internet.

Cf. Stoppard, The Real Thing:

Charlotte: The problem is he's a snob without being an inverted snob. He's ashamed of liking pop music.

Henry: This is true. The trouble is I don't like the pop music which it's all right to like. You can have a bit of Pink Floyd shoved in between your symphonies and your Dame Janet Baker -- that shows a refreshing breadth of taste or at least a refreshing candour -- but I like Wayne Fontana and the Mindbenders doing "Um Um Um Um Um Um."

Miss Self-Important said...

I don't suggest a mutually exclusive proposition - one may enjoy 1960s country along with contemporary country, even embarrassing contemporary country. (I draw my lines at Hootie and the Blowfish-as-country-band.) But it seems strange not to like anything prior to contemporary country given that it's a genre with a relatively consistent sound over time.

WPB said...

I like Garth Brooks a lot, if he counts as pre-contemporary (and I also agree -- no Hootie). As for the early stuff, some of it may be my own ignorance, given that I discovered most of my favorite country songs either on pop-country radio stations or from my first high school girlfriend. I'd welcome a syllabus.

Also, when do we get to see your secret country music blog post?

Miss Self-Important said...

Oh yes, that. It will publish itself tomorrow.

I am an even later convert to the genre, but I've found it useful to listen to various greatest hits albums of major singers to see what's good pre-2000. Merle Haggard is very similar to Johnny Cash in style and wit, so if you like the latter, you will probably like the former. I don't have a syllabus to offer, just a general exhortation to take advantage of genre consistency to find a lot more music you are likely to enjoy, including potentially bluegrass and gospel, if you like these tendencies in mainstream country.

Miss Self-Important said...

However, one day, when I am a professor of country music, I WILL have a syllabus. I may not have any students though, since such an event would probably signal the end of civilization.

PG said...

I love "Harper Valley PTA," but it's simply not about the same thing as "Merry Go Round."

"PTA" explicitly assaults small-town hypocrisy. "Merry" isn't about hypocrisy at all -- there's no one pointed out as saying one thing while doing another -- but about the disappointments of small town and rural life. One is comic and satirical (the classic style for pointing out hypocrisy); the other is in a tragic mode.