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Sunday, April 10, 2011

Dwight Yoakam continued

I dug around in the record collection and found my old Dwight Yoakam records. I have Guitars Cadillacs, and Hillbilly Deluxe. There are a couple more on CD, but the first album was the best in my opinion.
Check out his biography at Wikipedia.
Dwight's family came from Kentucky. His parents made the trek to the big city to find opportunity. This is the cultural shift that gave us blues, jazz, and country music. Yuppies moving into earth-tone subdivisions in the Florida pinewoods has not produced anything I can stand to listen to.
Anyway, We put Guitars, Cadillacs on the old turntable. It was in remarkably good condition.
The song list on Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc. Etc., includes songs by Johnny Horton,  (Honky Tonk Man), Harlan Howard, (Heartaches By the Number), and June Carter Cash, (Ring of Fire). There is a duet with Maria McKee (Bury Me) and in the credits thanks is given to Dave Alvin, The Blasters and Los Lobos.
I kind of forgot the context of Dwight Yoakam and the music scene of 1986. Alternative country promised a return to country roots. When I heard Dwight singing "Honkey Tonk Man," I was amazed. Simple straight forward country music. It made your foot tap and and it wasn't that over produced Nashville sound. Steve Earle came out with his album and the Guitar Town single. Los Lobos and Dave Alvin gave us the Tex Mex sound. There were actually young people interested in Country Western music. I saw Joe Ely several times, I missed the Blasters (which I've always regretted), saw Steve Earl at the Starry Night, it was really kind of an exciting time.
The radio was playing such crap. The only thing by Lefty Frizzel I had ever heard was "Long Black Veil," and they never played the good George Jones songs. You did not hear Hank Williams Sr. and the Junior material was painful to hear.
Dwight and his tight jeans and big hat and big old Cadillac was pretty funky and cool way back then. Since then we have moved into dips--t country and tight jeans and cowboy hats are the rule. Dwight was certainly a California cowboy, but that was alright. That's where the energy in country music was coming from.
Anyway, I enjoyed the show. It made me feel pretty old. Forgot how many years ago I was in college.
Check out Johnny Horton-

Now see the Dwight Yoakam version.

I swear my head is still ringing from the horrible harmonics at Spirit Mountain. I don't know if the sound is that horrible at every show they have. The mike squealed at least once per song. You couldn't hear him speak unless he was 1/2 inch from the mike so when he talked to the audience you only got about half what he said.
I don't mind the volume but it has to actually sound good. This is the 21st century, it would seem that good sound at a concert would not be so much to ask. Especially in a new concert hall!

NOTE: Here is a real review of a Dwight Yoakam casino concert. (Click Here) It is IDENTICAL to the show we saw. Including the comments on the encore song, "Since I started drinking," and Long White Cadillac." Also, the exact same audience. Oh well, I guess he has been doing this a few years. Nothing wrong with a formula performance, as long as it is good...


  1. I wish I had been older in that era. I was under 10 but I remember much of it- minus the concerts! A bit jealous of that aspect.

    I've always liked Hank Jr, but kinda at arm's length, his traditional stuff sounded much better than the "rowdy" stuff. Then I bought a collection of his early stuff a few years back. We're talking late 60's-early 70's. The guy could really sing. Sounds better than Sr. even.

    I'm home alone, the family is away for the weekend. Gonna put that one on and give the speakers a little work-out!

  2. Gorges, perhaps it was a west coast thing...
    Orin, After watching a couple old clips on YouTube I wish I would have seen him 20 years ago. Going back to country's roots and having a band with no fiddle was a big deal back then.
    Much of the problem is with those who tell us what we should like. Hank Jr. has a lot of good music but it never got radio play. If it would not have been for "Fat-Tracks" I would not have been an Ian Tyson fan 25? years ago, or hear of Joe Ely or even heard any good Waylon Jennings.
    Anyway, I hope you didn't get carried away by sad country songs and start tappin' the admiral!


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