Tag Archives: Don Williams

My iPod Has Issues – Bunco Night

29 Jul

My wife is off playing Bunco, so I have my iPod cranked up throughout the house. With music blasting, it occurred to me that it may be a good time to share the warped mind of my iPod. You can never tell what sounds might come out of it.

“Boogie Woogie Country Girl” by Big Joe Turner

“The Monument Valley” by Drive-By Truckers

“Torquay” by The Leftovers

“If Loving You Is Wrong (I Don’t Want to Be Right)” by Issac Hayes

“Eclipse” by Pink Floyd

“Jungle Bill” by Yello

“Night Fever” by Bee Gees

“(Your Love Keeps Lifting Me) Higher and Higher” by Jackie Wilson

“Sweet Emotion” by Aerosmith

“The Final Countdown” by Europe

“The Locomotion” by Little Eva

“Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash

“It Happened in Monterrey” by Frank Sinatra

“She Never Knew Me” by Don Williams

“When a Man Loves a Woman” by Percy Sledge

“Home from the Hill” by The Kingston Trio

“Try and Love Again” by The Eagles

“Sweet Lady Luck” by Whitesnake

“Radio Free Europe” by R.E.M.

“All the Young Dudes” by Mott the Hoople

My iPod Has Issues – Kicking It Off With Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

31 Aug

My family is watching the MTV Video Music Awards, and I am in my office getting mentally prepared for tomorrow’s classes. The desk is a mess and needs to be cleaned. Looking around, I only see a few things that need to be kept.

The latest edition of National Geographic.

A new voter registration card.

A stack of books that includes Rebel Yell by S.C. Gwynne.

Oh yeah, there are a couple of vinyl albums, “The Dark Side of the Moon” by Pink Floyd and “Nashville Skyline” by Bob Dylan.

The Country Music Hall of Fame has a new exhibit about Dylan and Johnny Cash. I will see it before it is gone. In honor of that exhibit and the fact that I do not have the time to put together a real post, we will look into the mind of my iPod. Most of it will be random, but I am going to cheat on the first song.Cash and Dylan

“Girl From the North Country” by Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash

“Bustin’ Out” by Rick James

“Tree of Level” by The Fairfield Four

“Goodbye Yellow Brick Road” by Elton John

“Under Pressure” by David Bowie and Queen

“Walk On By” by Dionne Warwick

“Sunshine” by Jonathan Edwards

“She Never Knew Me” by Don Williams

“Love is Strong” by The Rolling Stones

“The Cowboy Rides Away” by George Strait

“Midnight Rider” by The Allman Brothers Band

“La Grange” by ZZ Top

“Indian Reservation” by Paul Revere and the Raiders

“White Lightning Ballad” by Charles Bernstein

“I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For” by U2

“C’mon Everybody” by Eddie Cochran

“Stockholm Blues” by Tony Joe White

“You’ve Got Another Thing Comin'” by Judas Priest

“Fantastic Voyage” by Lakeside

“I Want To” by Joe Tex

My iPod Has Issues – Back Porch Blogging

13 Jun

I am sitting on the back porch with the laptop in my lap. Is that not where it is supposed to be? The sun is shining, and the birds are chirping. I can hear a lawnmower somewhere in the distance. They say that storms will be overhead later in the day. That is typical for a June afternoon in Tennessee.

Unused firewood is taking up one corner of the deck. It is beside some chairs that are fading in the sun. I can see the strand of a spiderweb attached to one of them as the sunlight glistens off of it. I suppose that I should knock it down, but the spider has spent a lot of time working on it.

It is a relaxing time, and nothing much is going through my mind. There are no clever ideas for a post. There are no psychoses that need to be addressed. It is simply a normal porch-sitting experience.image-38

With nothing to write about, I could end the post, but it does not seem right to stop at 177 words. At least, that is how many words WordPress said I had typed when I typed 177. Instead of stopping, I will turn on the iPod and see what it going on. After that, I will go back to staring at the trees. There is a dead one out there that needs to be dealt with.

“Tetragon” by Woody Shaw

“Save My Soul” by Blues Saraceno

“Fly Away” by John Denver

“Let The Good Times Roll” by Ray Charles

“You Got That Right” by Lynyrd Skynyrd

“The Day Begins” by The Moody Blues

“Loving Her Was Easier” by Kris Kristofferson

“You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin'” by The Righteous Brothers

“Come Fly With Me” by Frank Sinatra

“Tulsa Time” by Don Williams

“Thunderstruck” by AC/DC

“Sweet Georgia Brown” by The California Ramblers

“Lucifer” by The Alan Parson Project

“Slip Away” by Clarence Carter

“Rollin'” by Big and Rich

“She Loves You” by The Beatles

“Amie” by Pure Prairie League

“I Wanna Be Sedated” by The Ramones

“The Beat” by Lou Johnson

“Drops of Jupiter” by Train

Hey, We’re Going to See Don Williams in Concert

4 Oct

Don Williams is playing at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center on Sunday night. I am super pumped. Necole is not very excited. She is going because I want to go, and I appreciate her doing that.

Don Williams is a great singer and, in my mind, is the epitome of country cool. He has had a bunch of hits and also co-starred in a Burt Reynolds movie filmed in and around Nashville. That would be the all time classic W.W and the Dixie Dance Kings.Dixie Dance

Spending time with Burt must have been enjoyable because Don mentioned him in a song.

In the early days of this blog, I put together a post about my favorite Don WIlliams song. It is roughly written and doesn’t include any pictures, but, in honor of the upcoming concert, I decided to link it. I hope you read it, and, if you do, I hope you enjoy it.


30 Jul

We just finished walking around the neighborhood. As we did, I noticed a man through a window. He was working at his desk, and I began to wonder what he was working on. Was he writing the next great novel? Was he writing a letter? Was he blogging? At the moment, I am sitting by a window, and people are probably looking in and wondering what I am doing.

I like to think that people like what they read here. It’s a hodgepodge of stuff, but it comes right out of my head. Sometimes, It’s travel. Sometimes, it’s music. Sometimes, its stories from the past. All the time, it’s something that is stuck in my mind and needs to get out.

I am not sure what needs to get out tonight, so I will just go down the list of categories on this blog and type this first thing that fits.Scattergories

Academics – School starts back soon. That means inservice.

Agriculture – The other day, I got gas at the Farmer’s Co-Op.

Art – There is a guy named Art who works at Beauty Boutique, Necole’s store.

Biography – The last one I read wasn’t very good, It was about Ward Bond, John Ford and John Wayne. It should have been good.

Books – I just finished The Eye of God by James Rollins. It is the further adventures of Grayson Pierce.

Childhood Memories – Tonight, I mentioned that my parents had a Weeping Willow in their front yard, and I used to play under it.

Comedy – Nothing is funny, at the moment.

Community – I was named to the local Planning Commission. This afternoon was my first meeting.

Crime – Tonight, I found out that a guy I once knew tried to kidnap his wife and lock her in a closet. Hopefully, he will get what’s coming to him.

Did You Know? – I forgot about this category. It needs to be revisited.

Dining – Tonight, we had a home cooked meal of meatloaf, mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and green peas.

Dreams – Lately, my dreams have been less than memorable.

Government – Necole went to the DMV this morning. There is no reason they should be that slow.

History – I am getting my lecture voice warmed up.

Movies – We watched Batman Begins, and I realized that the guy who plays Joffrey on Game of Thrones was in it.

Music – We have a couple of concerts coming up – Don Williams and The Eagles.

Nature – There’s a great article about sugar in the latest National Geographic. Everyone should read it.

Photography – In a few days, we are getting more wedding photos made.

Rambling Ruminations – I think that is what this post is all about.

Relationships – I’m married.

Religion – I would like to write about it more, but a few things are better left unsaid.

Sports – College football is about to start, and my team, the University of Tennessee, is in the Southeastern Conference. However, you’ll never hear me chant S-E-C. I cheer for one team and hope the other ones lose every week.

Stupid Stuff – It’s an accurate description of this post.

Television – I’m waiting for Justified to crank back up.

Therapy – I used to go. I don’t anymore.

Travel – We just returned from California and will be heading to Arizona soon.

Writing – Am I the only person who doesn’t mess with those writing prompts?

My iPod Has Issues – In Their Place

9 Oct

After several hours of grading papers, my eyes are imprinted with words typed in Times New Roman, and my mind is a mash-up of everything from Pocahontas to Mel Gibson. Honestly, I doubt that I can write coherent sentences, and I know I can’t type a coherent post. So, I have decided to rely on Old Faithful and dip into a playlist on my iPod to see what is happening in there.

At some point, I made a list of songs that have the names of places in their titles. Weird? True. What can I say? I’m kind of weird. There are probably a lot of weird places, too.

This qualifies as a weird place, and it’s one that I have actually visited.

Here is a list of twenty random songs from the playlist called “Location, Location, Location”.

“The Man From Laramie” by Al Martino

“El Paso” by Marty Robbins

“Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffett

“Walkin’ Back to Georgia” by Jim Croce

“Wichita Lineman” by Glen Campbell

“Spanish Harlem” by Ben E. King

“Chattanooga Dog” by Jimmy Martin

“Soul Francisco” by Tony Joe White

“Kentucky Woman” by Neil Diamond

“Georgia On My Mind” by Ray Charles

“Hotel California” by The Gipsy Kings

“Jackson” by Johnny Cash

“Ramblin’ Man From Gramblin'” by Sam Spence

“Texas” by Chris Rea

“European Swallow” by The Refreshments

“Tennessee Hound Dog” by The Osbourne Brothers

“If Hollywood Don’t Need You” by Don Williams

“California Love” by 2Pac, Roger Troutman and Dr. Dre

“Waterloo Sunset” by The Kinks

“Good Time in London” by Big Mama Thornton

So, check out these songs. You might want to download them in your place.

The Smell of Cape Jasmine

23 Jan

As a historian, I have never been interested in studying the past of my region, the South. I have heard about the Civil War and other aspects of its history all of my life and never really wanted to go behind the scenes of the stories and anecdotes of my childhood. However, this does not mean that I have turned my back on the South. As written in other posts, I have traveled throughout the United States, but I have never considered living anywhere but here. It is my home and everything that is associated with that word. Family. Friends. Familiarity. The “Three F’s” I suppose. I study the West, but I am a child of the South. But, like many others, I am not sure what it means to be a southerner.

Does it mean that I should be ashamed of a heritage of slavery and rebellion? Or, does it mean that I should be proud of a heritage of southern Founding Fathers like Washington and Jefferson? Does it mean that I should be proud of being raised in the Bible Belt? Or, does it mean I should be ashamed to be a native of a region that still argues over teaching the theory of evolution? Before answering those questions, I should explain what being a southerner is all about (at least for me).

It is eating black eyes peas and hog jaw on New Year’s Day for good luck.

It is going to college football games on Saturday’s in the fall.

It is visiting family on Sunday afternoon.

It is watching “Smokey and the Bandit” and realizing that you know a sheriff just like that.

It is going for a ride on a country road.

It is pulling over to pay respects to a passing funeral procession.

It is saying hello to a stranger that you pass on a sidewalk.

It is having a meal of fried chicken and turnip greens.

It is going to the National Walking Horse Celebration and wondering why the federal government won’t leave them alone.

It is being baptized when you are eleven years old because that’s what you are supposed to do.

It is wishing that people in other parts of the country would understand that you are not stupid because you talk differently.

It is thinking that people in New England talk funny.

It is being proud that Blues, Country, Rock ‘n Roll, Southern Rock, Bluegrass, Gospel and just about every other genre of music came from the South.

It is knowing that not all southerners would make this same list because we all don’t fit into the southern stereotype.

Notice that the list does not include driving a pickup truck; hunting or fishing; flying a rebel flag; drinking beer in a field; being a racist; having no teeth or shoes; or handling snakes in church. Of course, there are people who fit those descriptions. Just like there are people all over the country that fit those descriptions (except for maybe the snake handling). I am proud to be from the South and accept its good and bad qualities, but I have never known how to explain that pride. Maybe this post has done it. If not, then I will finish by writing about a song that I have always liked. It is country (which is strange for me), but I feel a connection to it. I will try to explain why.

“Good Ole Boys Like Me” by Don Williams

When I was a kid, Uncle Remus he put me to bed

With a picture of Stonewall Jackson above my head.

Then daddy came in to kiss his little man

With gin on his breath and a Bible in his hand.

He talked about honor and things I should know.

Then, he’d stagger a little as he went out the door.

(Uncle Remus is a collection of stories that were passed down from the days of slavery. They are mostly fables and tales that teach lessons. However, they are racist in the way they present Uncle Remus, a docile African-American man. Disney made a movie based on the stories which has faced a racist backlash as time has passed. I never heard these stories when I was a kid, but I was told plenty of stories along the same lines, namely the story of Little Black Sambo. Despite this experience, I did not grow up to be a racist or a member of the Klan.)

(Stonewall Jackson was a Civil War hero for the confederacy. While most southerners did not have pictures of Civil War officers hanging in their houses, this line aims at the importance many southerners still place on that terrible time in our history. Southerners have tended to forget what the war was about and focus on the fact that the South lost. For generations, this created a sense of inferiority. Of course, the economic conditions didn’t help. I once read an article with the theory that the debacle of the Vietnam War did not affect the South as it did other parts of the nation because the South already knew how it felt not to win.)

(My dad does not drink, but he is very religious. He has been a deacon in the church and complains about why I don’t go. However, this line hits home because I still call him “daddy”. I saw George Carlin (my favorite comedian of all time) in concert, and he made fun of grown southern men using this word. It may be dumb, but we still do it. It is not a childish act but an act of respect. The gin and Bible part is very southern because both play an important role in southern society. Honor is also an important part of southern ideology and society. Heck, that was one of the arguments for the Civil War – the north was challenging southern honor. There is a reason that dueling was legal in the South longer that it was anywhere else. And, it is still important in the South. It isn’t polite to air your dirty laundry in public.)

I can still hear the soft southern winds in the live oak trees.

And those Williams boys, they still mean a lot to me –

Hank and Tennessee.

I guess we’re all gonna be what we’re gonna be.

So, what do you do with good ole boys like me?

(Live oak does not mean that the tree is not dead. This is an iconic tree throughout the South and is the state tree of Georgia. Any picture of an old plantation has live oak’s in it. There is a reason that Twelve Oaks is one of the plantations in “Gone With the Wind”. While this may be a natural symbol of the region, it actually has a varied geography – mountains, river bottoms, swamps, hills.)

(The Williams boys shows the variety that the South has offered to American culture. Hank Williams was a legend in the world of country music and a songwriting genius. Tragically, he drank to excess and died in his 20s, but his music continues to inspire musicians and singers. One of the great writers of the 20th Century, Tennessee Williams provided us with plays and literary works that delve into the psyche and soul. “The Glass Menagerie”. “A Streetcar Named Desire”. “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof”. The list goes on and on. The South may have produced rednecks, but it also produced artistic geniuses. These are but two.)

And nothing makes a sound in the night like the wind does.

But you ain’t afraid if you’re washed in the blood like I was.

The smell of cape jasmine through the window screen.

John R. and the Wolfman kept me company

By the light of the radio by my bed

With Thomas Wolfe whispering in my head.

(The wind is blowing now, and it is one of my favorite sounds. However, that is not a southern thing. Being washed in the blood is. Baptism is a rite of passage in this part of the world. It is something that everyone I know was expected to go through. Each denomination has a different way of doing things, but most have similarities. At the end of the church service, the preacher asks for those who want to accept Christ to come to the front. If you feel the spirit, then you go to the front. Once the singing stops, the preachers announces to the congregation that you have made a decision to join the church and asks them to affirm it. At some point, you are baptized. In my church, this meant a full immersion under water. There you go – afterlife insurance. I joined at 11. My dad joined at 5. Neither one of us knew what we were doing, but we were saved nonetheless.)

(Cape Jasmine is a white flower known for its fragrance. It is called Cape because people thought it came from the Cape of Good Hope. It actually originated in Asia. There are all sorts of flowers and plants throughout the South due to the warm climate. Some, such as the Cape Jasmine, have brought beauty and an air of social standing. Lots of flower clubs exist around here for the uppity women of the South. This is probably left over from the days of plantations that fancied themselves as cousins of British aristocracy. Other plants, like cotton and tobacco have brought fortune but also infamy.)

(John R. and the Wolfman are my favorite names in this song. John R. was a Nashville legend as lead disc jockey on WLAC-AM, a clear channel station that reached 28 states. He played rhythm and blues and introduced southern African-American performers to listeners throughout his range. John R. became so popular with African-American audiences that they thought he was African-American as well. Wolfman Jack was a more famous disc jockey and gained this fame on the most powerful signal in North America, XERF-AM out of Ciudad Acuna, Mexico.)

(Thomas Wolfe, from Asheville, North Carolina, was a great southern novelist. I believe he is referenced in this song for his 1940 work, “You Can’t Go Home Again”. Once you have grown and left your surroundings, you can never go by to that “idyllic” lifestyle again. I put idyllic in quotations because once we look back we realize that it was never as good as we imagined. People often talk of the good old days, but they were never that good. Southerners, especially of the white variety, may think times were simpler then, but were they really? Segregation. No air conditioning. Many without electricity. Few well-paying jobs to be found. A great distance between the wealthy and the non-wealthy, both white and black. We can go home again physically, but we can never return intellectually and emotionally.)

When I was a kid I ran with a kid down the street,

And I watched him burn himself up on bourbon and speed.

But, I was smarter than most, and I could choose.

Learned to talk like the man on the six o’clock news.

When I was eighteen lord, I hit the road,

But it really doesn’t matter how far I go.

(Much of this song is more appropriate for the experiences of generations before mine. However, this part remains true to today. Several of the people I grew up with and played with as a child have become town drunks that waste their time in the bars a beer joints around town. I realize this happens all over the world, but I know that they never had aspirations of becoming the “town drunk”. Unlike the song, I didn’t leave. I found opportunity in the area and went with it. That makes me lucky. But, it makes me sad to see people with the same opportunity go down another path.)

So, what was this post? I am not sure myself. It is a defense of a region and a critique of the same region. Maybe it’s like family. I can talk about them all day long, but I’ll defend them if someone else says the same. That’s what being from the South is like. We can talk about each other and realize that we have issues. But, other people had better not join the discussion. Now that I think about it, that’s probably what the people who seceded from the country thought too.

The post is also an excuse to analyze one of my favorite songs (even though it’s country). So, if you made it this far I hope that you learned something. I learned that some questions don’t have answers. So, what do you do with good ole boys like me?