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Strange Brew
By Kenny Love
(more articles from this author)
2000-12-06
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I must be getting ready to die. Yes, I realize this is a strange statement to open any article with, but it is the only explanation I can attribute to why, as a long- time Jazz artist, I suddenly find myself attracted to, and with an oversize hunger, for Country music. Sure, I grew up in Texas, but that doesn't have anything to do with it...or does it?

I don't mean to convey that I am switching genres (gee, wouldn't that be something...the next Charlie Pride?). But, I was recently channel surfing and picked up on the video, "What Do You Know." The name of the artist evades me now, but I thought the song was...great!

But, this isn't the first time I've found myself enjoying Country music. I also became, sort of, hooked on Alan Jackson's "Itty Bitty" for its humorous wit as well. Then, there was also the '80's snare with Sawyer Brown and Lil Liza Jane <= (can't remember if this was the song or the band.

And, I had, for years, enjoyed Buck Owens' Christmas song, "Santa Looked a Lot Like Daddy," as well as his and Roy Clark's outrageous lyrics on the long-lived television series, "Hee Haw."

Growing up in a small east Texas town during the height of the '70's, there was only one station, KIVY, which only played, what else? Country music. The only way a black kid got to hear the Commodores or the Ohio Players, was to buy the record, 8-track cartridge, or cassette tape.

The only change in format for KIVY, occurred briefly during the summer of '73 when Sam Willoughby, an African-American disc jockey, finagled a rare opportunity to host a 4-hour block show on Saturday for Soul music (we thought we had died and gone to Heaven!).

However, that enjoyment was short-lived due to Sam's unauthorized and unsuccessful attempt to boost the signal from 1000 watts to 50,000 watts in a single afternoon. Needless to say, Sam was asked to quickly gather his belongings.

So, given the history of influence and environment, perhaps this crazy mix of Jazz and Country isn't so farfetched after all. I remember reading a post on a discussion list once where a member brought up the possibility in the future of rapping Country artists, or Country artists that rapped. B-r-r-r-...just the thought of it chills my spine.

I've sort of performed a self-diagnosis, with the finding being that Country music artists, by and large, are some of the best songwriters on earth...truly. They are experts with, not only coming up with great "hooks," but their uncanny ability to hold the listener's undivided attention with humorous lyrics regarding real life is unparalleled.

Actually, as I review the elements of this entire article, I see what a contradiction it is within itself, which is why I am now contacting my doctor for a checkup, Dr. I. Don Pheelgood, who can, hopefully, begin to make some sense of this strange brew.


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