Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

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Category: Countrypolitan +/- country pop

"Blues Stay Away From Me"
Zeroto180

“Countrypolitan” – 1st Sightings

Paul Hemphill‘s The Nashville Sound: Bright Lights and Country Music — published in 1970 during a particularly vibrant musical era — includes this passage about the pushback against attempts to de-emphasize country’s less “polished” elements in order to increase the music’s appeal in the (more lucrative) “pop” marketplace: It isn’t

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Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren’s Sole 45

Grandpa Jones‘ toe-tappin’ countrypolitan “Hip Cat’s Weddin’” is one of Zero to 180’s recent discoveries: “Hip Cat’s Weddin’”    Grandpa Jones & His Swingin’ Grandchildren     Rec. Nov, 1960 Too little has been written about Boudleaux Bryant‘s clever composition and its fetching arrangement — virtually nothing, in fact.  “I Don’t Love

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"I Get the Blues When It Rains"
Zeroto180

1969: Bethlehem’s Last Session?

As noted in Zero to 180’s recent history of Bethlehem Records in the “Post-Syd Nathan” era (i.e., starting in 1958, when Nathan acquired 50% of the label), Ruppli’s King recording sessionography indicates that some new recording had taken place at King’s Cincinnati studios in a few instances connected to the

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B-Side: Called Up to the Majors

I forget where I picked up my copy of 100 All Time Country Hall of Fame Hits – Vol. 2,    double-LP set from 1977.  The friendly price tag comes at a cost, though — 12 (even 13) songs per side, therefore, a noticeable loss in fidelity. One of the songs

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Bossa Country -or- Honky Nova?

On my one and only visit to Northampton, Massachusetts (NRBQ’s 35th anniversary show in 2004), I ducked into a second-hand vinyl shop and came away with a K-Tel country collection from 1976:  Country Superstars – 20 Greatest Hits. This collection of early-to-mid 70s hits includes 1976 dieselbilly hit “Roll On

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“I’ve Got a Happy Heart”: Love’s Bullet-Proof Armor

Yesterday’s piece about Mayf Nutter featured a link to the January 13, 1973 edition of Billboard, that happened to include an adjacent news item that named all the artists who played with Buck Owens at a recent Christmas event in Bakersfield: “Buck Owens and his group drew more than 5,000

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“Baby Rocked Her Dolly”: Frankie (Miller) & Johnny (Horton)

Merle Kilgore really brings the pathos on an original composition that absolutely could have come from the canon of Johnny Cash: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNrlWmpUyvo “Baby Rocked Her Dolly” was also covered by Starday labelmates, Frankie Miller (1960) and Red Sovine (1967).  However, for his own version, Kilgore wisely decides to begin —

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“Johnny Zero”: Reduced to Nothing

Recorded by Merle Kilgore in early November, 1963 at Columbia Recording Studio in Nashville and released January 1964 as a single by MGM: “Johnny Zero”     Merle Kilgore     1963 Does Merle Kilgore sound like Johnny Cash because they were such good friends, or were Merle and Johnny good friends

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“A Woman’s World”: Feminist or Traditionalist?

Teresa Brewer – whose duet with Mickey Mantle, “I Love Mickey,” reached #87 in 1956 – would later record ever so briefly for Shelby Singleton.  June 1968’s “A Woman’s World” was the first of but two singles Brewer recorded for SSS International: The song initially gives the impression of threatening

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“Legend of the Big Steeple”: Spectacular Spire

Nice tremolo effect on the piano in this bittersweet tale (written by Charles Underwood) about how the good people eventually got their steeple: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X_WqVcpO__4 The song, issued on an RCA 45 both in the States and overseas, was also included on Country Feeling, the second  of 4 albums [!] released

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