1972’s Country Winners of the ‘50s is probably my earliest mail-order album offered from the minor-music-loving-money-snatchers, Columbia House. I have a rather unsettling confession to make. Back in Junior High, I was a member of Columbia House (as were the majority of my friends). Sure, I got suckered into 10 CDs for a penny, and nearly wept at the terribly overpriced, mediocre albums I was forced to purchase in order to round out my membership obligation. I believe Aerosmith got heavy play in those days… it was a dark time for sure.
Country Winners of the ‘50s is, in my opinion, a great representation of the “true” country sound. People scoff at my unashamed pride when I admit that I rather enjoy country and western music. What I (nearly always) need to explain is that I don’t listen to anything from either genre past 1980 (save for the Rick Rubin helmed American Recordings releases).
I look at this album cover and fancy the idea of canoeing across the bright, blue lake with my SO, ingesting the open, crisp air and savoring the soft warbling of rural birds making their majestic flight from shore to muddy shore. I doubt I’ll ever leave Southern California, but I often long for the serenity of the simple, calming life I left behind.
I’ve found, that in my 34 years experience on this revolving rock, that the best (read: only) way to experience Texas is through song. Personal politics aside (for now), Marty Robbins’ tenderly told ballad of haunting devastation, albeit now 55 years old, still manages to jerk a hidden tear or two from this sappy, heavyhearted lover of Western ballads.
Little more screams unquestionable masculinity than a gunfighter, dressed in black, poised and ready to maim a potential opponent, while he stands endlessly noble over a flamboyant (and there’s nothing wrong with that) sea of hot pink. Displayed on my vinyl-papered bedroom wall for years, Gunfighter Ballads and Trail Songs successfully manages to steer that sturdy steed along the fine line between sensitivity and unchallenged storytelling. I know that for a lot of people, Western really isn’t their ideal choice for a hog-killin’ time, and believe me, I used to lasso that sentiment myself, but given the song’s history, coupled with the beautifully told ballad of lost love, I’ve concluded that, at least for me, El Paso is a legitimate cry from an otherwise worthless state.
Very few albums capture the soul-crushing heartache brought on by the ailing dark side of love. “I just found out my woman is the devil” is a picture-perfect tagline for this seminal 1974 release that not only defines the rural mindset of a love-lost victim, it also calls for, rather DEMANDS a visual representation (via means of album art) so classic, so surreal, that it goes down in history as one of the best concepts of all-time.
Moe Bandy… the name in and of itself brings (emotional) mountains to mere rubble. With a scorned look, and a drunk, blackened heart, Mr. Bandy sits with the company of sorrow and misery, amidst a muted, bruised, and tattered jukebox full of shattered, and as you’ll notice, empty, Evan Williams bottles. When the cause of your broken heart is outside your bottle-throwing range, take it out on the jukebox.
I Just Started Hatin’ Cheatin’ Songs Today is, as you can imagine, two parts love-sick country, one part hurtin’ western, and 24-parts OUTSTANDING. Whether you have the stomach for long, drawn-out whimpers of melancholy depression or not, this album is nothing short of a necessity, if only for the unparalleled cover.
Dear Mr. Bandy… I wish I could tell you that things will get better, but as you well know… they won’t. Have another bottle, on the house.
Ladies and Gentlemen, dust off your boots, your cowboy hat, and your (red) neck bandana, because we all g’wan get fit up ‘round here!
This “basic program of Aerobic Dance and Exercise” is brought to you by Looking Good records, and is performed by J.D. Feelgood himself! This body-toning analog disc offers a Southern-fried, full-bodied, well-rounded and complete workout routine including Warm-Ups, a gradual Intensity section, and the ever so popular, Cool Down tracks.
Have you ever wondered how the cocktail waitresses at the hoedown always looked so fit? It’s because each of them subscribed to J.D. Feelgood and the Nashville All Stars and their good ‘ol Aerobics Country Style Aerobic Dance and Exercise record.
Don’t let the butter and biscuits get the better of you. Groove your way slim with Aerobics Country Style. Your Square Dance partner will thank you.