Thursday, September 06, 2012

Country Funk, 1969-1975

I can't recall which cheeseburger joint was playing it, but when I first heard John Rich's “Mack Truck” (YouTube) I thought, “Oh no: Nashville finally discovered Hip-Hop.” Then I thought, “Good Lord, that sounds as bad as 80s-era Christian Rock.” Which got me thinking of Hank Hill's jeremiad: “Can't you see you're not making Christianity better, you're just making rock 'n' roll worse!” Nashville has been taking the corner-kickers to rock 'n' roll for decades now, so it's finally moved on to Hip-Hop. And yes, Nashville is making it much, much worse.

It was not always thus, and the Country Funk 1969-1975 collection is a delightful reminder of more fecund cross-pollination. It seems the young country singers of the Age of Aquarius heard a sensibility they could strongly identify with in the funk records of their day, and thought, “I could do that!” It's a street-sensibility (“L.A. Memphis Tyler Texas” “Hawg Frawg”), a Gospel-sensibility (Link Wray's killer “Fire & Brimstone”), a “Leave me alone, I'm enjoying the Highway to Hell just fine” sensibility (“Stud Spider”). Add a light touch of twang, and boy-howdy if it doesn't all work (well ... with the possible exception of Dennis the Fox's “Piledriver,” which sounds a bit forced).

The download places offer this collection as “album only” but I wouldn't let that scare you off: I can't think of any other way I'd play these songs. Highly recommended for the last few car-washes of the Fall.

Links: Amazon, eMusic, (no iTunes, sorry).


Cowtown Pattie said...

Bottom right hand dude looks like Mac Davis....

Whisky Prajer said...

It should -- he's on it. And he's good!