Two major players in country music passed away recently. Two key outlaw artists, and two of my favorite country artists, both of whom were involved in creating some of the finest music to come out of Nashville–or anywhere–in the last several decades.
Last week, we lost “Cowboy” Jack Clement. Recently elected into the Country Music Hall of Fame, Cowboy was someone who wrote songs for Johnny Cash; worked at Sun Studios and helped jumpstart the career of Jerry Lee Lewis; produced records for such artists as Townes Van Zandt, Charley Pride, and Don Williams; and was a key ‘outlaw’ innovator, producing what is arguably Waylon Jennings’ finest album, Dreaming My Dreams.
Continue reading Tompall Glaser and Jack Clement: Country Outlaw Heroes
I was in Maine last week on a family trip, and while it was great to visit with family, eat great food, and chase the girl (our daughter) around the back deck, it also presented a great excuse to dig out some of my old Dick Curless records. Now when you think of Maine, likely it’s a vision of lobsters, not country music, that jumps out. But if you have a soft spot for old-school blues-based honky-tonk, Curless just might change that perspective. A native of northern Maine, Curless got his start working around Maine, Mass., and New England in the ’50s, then broke out nationally in the ’60s and went on to a respectably successful music career on a variety of labels (Tiffany, Tower, Capitol, Rounder). He even had one bona fide hit with the song “Tombstone Every Mile.”
Read more about Dick Curless
We were deeply saddened to learn that Hank Cochran, Nashville recording artist and one of the finest country songwriters of the last half century, passed away this week after a battle with pancreatic cancer.
Cochran was never a household name as a vocalist, though he did record plenty. As a songwriter, however, he was among the finest to ever come through Nashville. And among the most successful, having penned such golden-era classics as “I Fall To Pieces” (Patsy Cline), “Make the World Go Away” (Eddie Arnold), and “Don’t You Ever Get Tired of Hurting Me” (Ray Price).
One notable song Cochran wrote was Johnny Paycheck’s first big hit, “A-11,” a honky-tonk ballad in which the singer asks a fellow bar patron to avoid a certain jukebox track, or “there’ll be tears.” The success of that song prompted Paycheck to make his own plea for more great material from the master, doing so via his own composition, “Help Me Hank, I’m Falling.”
Continue reading RIP Hank Cochran
Whatever happened the the great Tompall Glaser? Waylon’s onetime best friend during the outlaw heyday, he made some amazing albums, both alone and with his brothers Jim and Chuck. But since the ’80s he seems to have disappeared. Would love to know if he still performs–or writes/records.
You can also watch a performance of the great song “Rings” and a medley of the Glasers performing three country classics.
Note that Jim Glaser keeps a website and still performs; and four of the Glaser Brothers’ nephews (calling themselves The Brothers Glaser) have recorded a tribute album due to be released in the fall of 2009 (three songs are online for streaming).