You mess with Harpo Marx, you get the horns.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Nashville, Here I Come!

I must confess that I'm not the greatest fan of country-western music. Growing up, my mom played it constantly in the car.  This was back in the days when the only choice of music you had was crackly AM stations, a limited number of FM choices, or whatever tunes you could tune your head in to, over the sound of the engine and the incessant CB chatter*. This probably explains why my recollection of the lyrics from Pink Floyd's Another Brick in the Wall includes the line, "We got a smokey at mile marker 63, come back!"

Anyway, Mom played a lot of country music.  If I were blindfolded, I could identify Charile Rich, even sitting in the same room with Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, and a chatty Roy Clark. I could not only tell you the difference between the voices of Dolly Parton, June Carter Cash, and Loretta Lynn, I could spot the tracks they sang while suffering from sinusitis. I've heard enough weepy steel guitar and fiddle lines to kill one of the stage mules at the Grand Ole Opry.

I'm scarred, people.  It's taken me years to get over it.  Much of the time has been spent ritually destroying country music albums**, and begging the people at RiffTrax to give Hee Haw the "Joe Don Baker" treatment***. I have made progress though.  I actually kind of like bluegrass, now. I have even played backup for a banjo player friend of mine on numerous occasions. (We do Foggy Mountain Breakdown and Dueling Banjos, or at least the opening. The guitar part is much easier.) I am slowly recovering.

However, there is still a painful side of me (the logical one) that recognizes that country music is still more than a little... how shall I put this?... goofy in the Stetson.  Sure, a lot of country music is friendly, earnest stuff, and that Taylor Swift kid has a nice crossover sound.  However, on average, country tunes, like an almond flavored beer, are more than a little nutty.  It's an honest, down to earth nutty, as opposed to the superficial, pretentious, greedy nutty of pop music, or the vulgar, oversexed, self-consciously rebellious nutty of rap, or the "where the hell am I and where are my meds this morning" nutty of Lady GaGa. Still, country music is, in a word, a raging nutbar.

I recently came across a site that summed all this up nicely.  Really Bad Country Song Titles demonstrates the sinster twangy forces that contributed to the substantial brain damage of my youth.  Reading these amazing titles brought back tender memories of laying in the back of the family stationwagon, pushing my fingers in my ears, stomping my feet on the glass, and screaming, "Make it stop! Make it stop!" There are no "Yee hahs" here, only painfully ill-considered monikers for a playlist for the country station from hell. It's a treasure trove of down-home awfulness. I love this site.

Yet, I felt there was something missing, that something even more could be derived from this endless vein of deeply unfortunate song writing.

Yes, that something just happens to be my own contributions to the genre.  Consider it my special brand of therapy, as opposed to a really long opening for a list gag. My only fear is that I'll come up with one that turns out to actually be on the list.


Suggestions for Country Song Titles (I expect we'll see these on the next Dixie Chicks album!)

  • Mama Bought a Shotgun and Papa Bought the Farm
  • Jim Beam, Meet Jack Daniels, in My Lovin' Stomach Tonight
  • Beautiful Barfly Barfight Baby
  • You Bowled Me Over Just like a Sleepin' Cow
  • Talladega 500 Pit Boss Woman
  • There Ain't No Stink like the Stink When I Drink
  • She Wore a Yellow Rose Tattoo on her Back Crack
  • Baby Don't Leave Me Alone with Your Truck Drivin' Mama
  • It Was Bad Luck that You Backed Up Over Me In Your Pick Up Truck
  • If I Could Rope You like a Rodeo Filly
  • Belt Buckle of Love
  • I Think of You When the Waters Flow
  • If She Catches Me Riding This Hog Then My Name Will Be Mud
  • Is That My Baby Hidin' Under Your Covers?
  • Call Me (John) Deere Again, Honey
  • Baby, You Hit Me like a Train and Left Tracks All Over My Face
  • I Got A Full House and You Got Jack
* I'm 44. What do you expect?  Just be thankful I left out the disco.
** I'm not welcome in many music stores.
*** All right, I haven't gotten around to that second part.  I'm still working out what type of slab bacon to send with the request.

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