Saturday, November 28, 2015

Just a Guy and His Guitar

As I alluded to in my other blog, time for doing non-required things has been very short for the last couple of weeks. I finally made time to put together a very big post at that site, using up any time I might have had here. The next time I aim for a big post, I'll probably try to make it here. But anyway, that's why it's been a bit quiet here.

And.... I hope all of you who are in the part of the world that celebrates Thanksgiving had a very nice one. I am very thankful for the wonderful feedback I've been getting to the posts on this new site so far.

Today, a sweet, simple tape which seems to date to the mid 1960's, featuring just what I said up there, "A Guy and His Guitar" (as well as a brief interruption for a recording of a hit record off the radio). The songs are all country flavored, including a number of 1950's and 1960's hits.

The "guy" in question has fairly rudimentary guitar skills, and plays songs which cover the bare minimum of chords. I don't say that in criticism - I love finding/hearing tapes of people who are giving honest, guileless performances, for their own benefit or those of a few lucky close family and friends. And in addition to that, I'll take every one of these songs and performances over any song/record which has been a "country" hit during the last 30 years. I better not get myself started on that...

I can't find any reference online to songs with the precise lyrics of the first four songs, and for all I know, they may be the singer's original songs.

Following these, we hear just the tail end of the singer's performance of Wynn Stewart's "Wishful Thinking". This is followed by Wynn Stewart's own recording of the same song, which came out in 1959, taped off the radio. The beginning of Connie Smith's "I Can't Remember", from 1965, follows, giving us the earliest possible date for this tape (Although technically, this radio recording seems to have erased some earlier recordings, and none of the other songs our singer performs are from later than 1963, so perhaps that's closer to the date of the "guy and guitar" part of the tape.)

The rest of the tape features our singer/guitarist again. When Connie Smith's song cuts off after a few seconds, we hear him singing the second half (the first half having been erased) of the Faron Young song "Country Girl", which is from 1959.

Seven songs follow, all but the last are complete. These include the traditional "Columbus Stockade Blues", Marty Robbins' "Cigarettes and Coffee Blues" (from 1963) abd "Poor Man's Riches" (a 1956 hit).

The tape finishes with versions of four huge hits. First up are two Johnny Cash hits, "Folsom Prison Blues" (complete with a bit of a Cash-styled vocal styling) and "Hey Porter". Next is Hank William's "I Can't Help It", and finally, a version of "Singing the Blues", which was first a hit for Marty Robbins in 1956, but is best known today for the pop cover the same year by Guy Mitchell (the latter, for my money, is one of the best records ever made). This performance is definitely based on the Robbins version, and unfortunately, the tape runs out before our mystery singer finishes his performance.

As I said, I love this sort of thing. I hope you do, too!

Download: A Guy with a Guitar - Country Songs

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

The Milwaukee 14

First, let me tell everyone that I am aware that there were some sound issues with the previous post - those tracks have been replaced with higher quality sound files.

Also, thanks to those of you who chased down the details of those heard on the tape. First, I was given a link to Jack Sterling's 10th anniversary show, which is here. Second, a few people confirmed that the DJ/singer in the second segment is Bea Wain. Wikipedia states that "Deep Purple" was one of multiple number one hits that she had, but it would be more accurate to say that Larry Clinton had those number one hits, around 15 years before the tape I shared, and Wain was the vocalist on his band's recordings.

Thanks to everyone for reading, letting me know about issues, and commenting and filling in the details.

And now for something completely different:


Here's an interesting little slice of life from a very specific moment in time.

The Milwaukee 14 were a group of people who took part in an act of civil disobedience in the fall of 1968 to protest the Vietnam war. You can read about them here. From that site, here's a brief explanation:

The writer at that site states that the event was "an act of civil disobedience that I took part in back in the summer of 1968 — September 24 — when the Vietnam War was raging. A group of fourteen people broke into nine draft boards that had offices side by side in a Milwaukee office building, put the main files into burlap bags, then burned the papers with homemade napalm in a small park in front of the office building while reading aloud from the Gospel. We awaited arrest, were jailed for a month, freed on bail, then tried the following year, after which we went to prison for more than a year (for most of us it was 13 months)."

What I have here is a radio interview done with one of the fourteen, Michael Cullen. The interview, as you will hear, was done after he had been found guilty, but before he was sentenced, and it is mentioned that by the time the recording would be aired, Cullen would be in jail, as he intended to start serving his sentence immediately.

Beyond saying that I find this a fairly fascinating little conversation (and adding that the tape cuts off in what appears to be just moments before the end of the actual show that was broadcast), this is offered up without comment.

Download: Interview with Michael Cullen