Zero to 180 – Three Minute Magic

Discoveries of a Pop Music Archaeologist

Tag: Countrypolitan

"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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"Gonna Get Along Without You Now"
Zeroto180

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

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"Johnny Zero"
Zeroto180

“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 because their

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"A Woman's World"
Zeroto180

“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: “A Woman’s World” Teresa Brewer (1968) The song initially

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"Living on a Prayer, a Hope & a Hand-Me-Down"
Zeroto180

Vikki Carr: Living On A Prayer, A Hope & A Hand-Me-Down

Let’s see if we can track all (i.e., at least a handful of) the prominent women pop vocalists’ excursions down South in the late 1960s and into the new decade: (1) Entire chapters have been written about Aretha Franklin‘s first (and oh-so-brief) recording session for producer Jerry Wexler that was

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"Legend of the Big Steeple"
Zeroto180

“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: “Legend Of The Big Steeple“ Porter Wagoner (1960) This 1960 recording, issued on an RCA 45 both in the States and in Australia, was finally gathered up

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"Comin' Down"
Zeroto180

“Comin’ Down”: B-Side? Try Song of the Year

In July 1974 Dave Dudley was the featured guest on an episode of (Your Local Navy Recruiter Presents) Navy Hoedown.  On this broadcast, host Hal Durham appears to be giving Dave Dudley a good poke in the ribs when – after listening to uptempo ballad, “Comin’ Down” – he inquires,

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"Understand Your Man"
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“Understand Your Man”: Little Jimmy Dempsey Picks on Johnny Cash

Guitarist “Little” Jimmy Dempsey uses twin guitars to transform Johnny Cash‘s “Understand Your Man” into a tuneful instrumental that bears little resemblance to the original – in a good way: “Understand Your Man“ Little Jimmy Dempsey (c. 1970) This track can be found on 1970’s Little Jimmy Dempsey Picks on Johnny

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"Hicktown"
Zeroto180

“Hicktown”: Place from Which No One Escapes

“Hicktown” appears to be the B-side of an updated “Sixteen Tons” single released on Capitol in 1965.  Tennessee Ernie Ford sings of a down-on-its-luck place that holds its destitute and demoralized residents captive, unable to leave.  Sounds terrifying, actually: “Hicktown“ Tennessee Ernie Ford (1965) Written by Charlie Williams & Scott

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"Squaws Along the Yukon"
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Hank Thompson: Western Swing’s Dean of Diction

In my prior post about the Nashville Chowdown LP, I mentioned that back in the early 70s jazz singer Blossom Dearie‘s  “exceptional annunciation” was being put to good use in the ‘Singing Rice-ipe’ radio ads.  If Blossom Dearie had a male counterpart, that person would undoubtedly be Hank Thompson, whose

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