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PBS - Ken Burns Country Music

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Thomas Stern 16 Sep 19 - 09:31 PM
ChanteyLass 16 Sep 19 - 09:45 PM
meself 16 Sep 19 - 10:35 PM
GUEST,bernieandred 17 Sep 19 - 01:23 AM
Vincent Jones 17 Sep 19 - 05:03 AM
gillymor 17 Sep 19 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,keberoxu 17 Sep 19 - 09:47 AM
Thomas Stern 17 Sep 19 - 10:43 PM
Seamus Kennedy 17 Sep 19 - 11:52 PM
Stringsinger 18 Sep 19 - 02:17 PM
gillymor 18 Sep 19 - 02:34 PM
Stilly River Sage 18 Sep 19 - 02:48 PM
meself 18 Sep 19 - 02:49 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 18 Sep 19 - 05:16 PM
meself 18 Sep 19 - 08:08 PM
Thomas Stern 18 Sep 19 - 09:22 PM
Kingwood Kowboy 18 Sep 19 - 11:09 PM
Ebbie 19 Sep 19 - 03:07 AM
Mrrzy 19 Sep 19 - 09:00 AM
GUEST,bernieandred 19 Sep 19 - 06:16 PM
Neil D 22 Sep 19 - 01:07 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Sep 19 - 04:29 AM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Sep 19 - 04:43 AM
RTim 22 Sep 19 - 12:40 PM
GUEST,keberoxu 22 Sep 19 - 02:38 PM
meself 22 Sep 19 - 05:06 PM
GUEST,Hootenanny 22 Sep 19 - 06:15 PM
GUEST,Neil D 22 Sep 19 - 08:25 PM
GUEST,HiLo 23 Sep 19 - 08:46 AM
keberoxu 23 Sep 19 - 02:10 PM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 23 Sep 19 - 02:16 PM
RTim 23 Sep 19 - 10:29 PM
GUEST,Larry W Jones - Kingwood Kowboy 23 Sep 19 - 11:08 PM
gillymor 23 Sep 19 - 11:50 PM
robomatic 24 Sep 19 - 06:23 AM
Stringsinger 24 Sep 19 - 09:28 AM
Donuel 24 Sep 19 - 08:55 PM
Bee-dubya-ell 25 Sep 19 - 07:09 AM
Stringsinger 25 Sep 19 - 11:55 AM
Ebbie 26 Sep 19 - 02:50 AM
StephenH 26 Sep 19 - 05:32 PM
Neil D 29 Sep 19 - 05:44 AM
gillymor 29 Sep 19 - 01:18 PM
Mossback 29 Sep 19 - 01:54 PM
gillymor 29 Sep 19 - 02:57 PM
robomatic 29 Sep 19 - 03:27 PM
Mossback 29 Sep 19 - 03:52 PM
Bill D 29 Sep 19 - 06:06 PM
Gibb Sahib 29 Sep 19 - 06:54 PM
gillymor 29 Sep 19 - 07:00 PM
GUEST,guest.crowlibrarian 29 Sep 19 - 07:24 PM
GUEST,Larry W Jones - Kingwood Kowboy 29 Sep 19 - 09:40 PM
Joe Offer 01 Oct 19 - 07:10 PM
GUEST 02 Oct 19 - 11:13 AM
GUEST,Jerome Clark 02 Oct 19 - 08:45 PM
DaveRo 17 Nov 19 - 02:40 AM
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Joe Offer 17 Nov 19 - 09:56 PM
Stewie 17 Nov 19 - 10:22 PM
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Subject: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 16 Sep 19 - 09:31 PM

https://www.pbs.org/kenburns/country-music/

Anyone watching ?
comments ??

Thomas.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: ChanteyLass
Date: 16 Sep 19 - 09:45 PM

I've caught some of it, and what I've missed I'm sure I'll catch in reruns.
I'm not well-grounded in country music, so I find it interesting and informative.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: meself
Date: 16 Sep 19 - 10:35 PM

Caught some of it last night - Jimmy Rodgers, Carter Family - great stuff; really 'brought it to life'. I kept wishing for more of the actual music, but of course that's available other places.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 01:23 AM

I've watched 2 episodes. Not very impressed. Bob Wills was one of the featured performers in tonights episode, but there was no video of him performing! There is lots available on line. This seems to apply to almost all of the featured performers. maybe it's a rights issue.They also made a big deal about how popular The Maddox Bros & Rose were, & yet none of their middle period music was played & no visuals of their "nudie" type outfits,which were a big part of their groundbreaking appeal.In fact there was really no mention as to why they were such a big act!
Ken Burns does a great job with these PBS multi part series & I don't like to be negative, but this is not one of his best..


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Vincent Jones
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 05:03 AM

The Ken Burns programmes on jazz were an excellent introduction to the genre - I look forward to seeing the country music progs when/if they're shown in Britain.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 06:50 AM

I saw the first episode and thought it was great. I was unable to view the 2nd but fortunately it's available for streaming at pbs.org.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 09:47 AM

Last night I watched
"Hard Times 1933 - 1945," which was the second episode.

Subtle approach to the issue of racism and 'apartheid' in the US.

Stephen Foster's "Hard Times" was sung, full length, while the narration either talked over the singing
or highlighted certain verses.
And who sang, accompanied on piano? None other than
Mavis Staples of the Staples Singers.
And a gritty, soulful interpretation it was, too.

The name escapes me, but another artist
sang and performed with the Delmore Brothers,
and he was African-American, and proud of it.
As long as he was on the road with the Brothers,
they looked after him like one of their own,
and his case was singled out for attention in this episode.

With the ascent of the Grand Ole Opry at Ryman Auditorium in Nashville,
an institution was born, so was an establishment of the power-holding elite
that goes with such an institution.
And that same artist with the Delmore Brothers,
who was one of the founding performers of the shows,
was summarily fired.

The episode includes footage of
Wynton Marsalis talking about this artist and his story;
and his triumphant return performance, MANY years later,
was filmed,
and the footage shown in the episode.

Reckon that in future episodes
much will be made of singer Charley Pride.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 10:43 PM

There is a tremendous amount of material covered in this series. They DO show the Maddox Bros. & Rose outfits, there was mention of the
NUDIE outfits. Perhaps too dense to take it all in for a single viewing. But also much left out - how can they include everything?
On another blog, the opinion was expressed that far too much time was given to Carter Family & Jimmy Rodgers. They are the foundation
of the explosion of popularity for country music, so deserve significant coverage. Perhaps too much for those who know the work, but maybe right for newbies... ?
I am particularly dismayed by the mutilation of the visual material - tonight footage of Hank Williams with his head cut off, it seems they
think tha audience is too ignorant to recognize that old film and TV
footage when properly displayed will have black bars on the sides (pillarboxed). The work of the artists who made these films is destroyed by chopping them down to a widescreen format.
Music is included, much in the background under the commentary - such is the way with documentaries. All the major artists recorded prolifically, so obtaining the music (youtube, cd's, video) is not a problem.
As the series unfolds, various performers and genres are revisited so there may be a cumulative bounty realized after seeing all the episodes.
Thomas.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Seamus Kennedy
Date: 17 Sep 19 - 11:52 PM

Actually, the Maddox Bros. and Rose were mentioned and their Nudie suits featured prominently in the segment.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 02:17 PM

I haven't seen it yet but I doubt there's a mention of African-American country music performers such as DeFord Bailey playing the Panama Express who was the first performer on Judge Hays' Grand Ol'Opry. Was it mentioned that Merle Travis learned from black man Mose Rager or that Bill Monroe from Uncle Pen and Elvis from
Big Boy Croodup? Then there's Charley Pride and the Georgia Yellow Hammers.
And the revival group North Carolina Chocolate Drops with Rhianon Gidens.

I think it can be shown that the Southern accent is a derivative of African-American
speech.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 02:34 PM

There was plenty of attention given to the black influence on country music in the first episode, the only one I've seen thus far, including mention of DeFord Bailey. You might be able to comment more accurately if you'd actuaaly watched it.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Stilly River Sage
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 02:48 PM

They have addressed many of the African American mentors to these musicians, though they don't tend to step back and play any of their performances (if any are extant).


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: meself
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 02:49 PM

DeFord Bailey was more than 'mentioned', actually; he was given fulsome treatment - bio, photos, music. Uncle Pen's relationship with Bill Munro was discussed, although I don't recall his race being mentioned - was he Black? Rhianna Gidens was commenting. Merle Travis and Elvis weren't featured in the bit I saw, nothing said about their influences.

Why would you "doubt there's a mention of African-American country music performers", just out of curiosity?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 05:16 PM

DeFord Bailey is the very artist
whose name I could not remember,
as I was hearing of him for the very first time,
while watching the broadcast.

This is not the first episode I am speaking of, which I missed.
The only episode I have seen is
"Hard Times," Episode Two,
in which Mavis Staples,
the proud surviving member of the African-American Staples Singers,
sings Stephen Foster's song -- the first performance in the episode.
We don't see footage of Ms. Staples, we just hear her voice with piano.

And it is DeFord Bailey of whom
Wynton Marsalis speaks, providing commentary to that episode.
The episode includes the film footage
of DeFord Bailey's return to the Grand Ole Opry
many years after he had been let go;
it is footage of a live performance,
the artist with his harmonica at the microphone,
playing and vocalizing simultaneously,
concluding to thunderous live applause.

A memorable introduction for a newbie like me
who has never before heard of DeFord Bailey,
and one that will stick in my memory --
I will make it a point to remember him.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: meself
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 08:08 PM

I'm not sure that the 'firing' of DeFord Bailey was quite as straightforward as is often implied (I didn't catch what was said about it in the doc). As I recall, the Opry was making changes to its format, and they wanted Bailey to change along with it, which he was, apparently, unwilling or unable to do. It became one of those 'You can't fire me, 'cause I quit!'/'You can't quit, 'cause you're fired!' situations.

Those are my impressions based on things I read and half-remember. I'm no authority on the matter, and am willing to stand corrected.

But, yes, DeFord Bailey was one of the early giants of the harmonica, famous in his day, but largely forgotten outside the world of harmonica-players.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Thomas Stern
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 09:22 PM

FWIW -
DeFord Bailey's recordings are scattered though various
harmonica compilations, plus TFS CD listed below.

see WIRZ discography
https://www.wirz.de/music/baileyde.htm


Best wishes, Thomas.
--------------------------------------------------------------
The legendary DeFord Bailey.
[Murfreesboro, TN] : Tennessee Folklore Society, ?1998.

Liner notes by Charles K. Wolfe ([5] p.)--inserted in container.
Recorded by: David Morton, Nashville, Tennessee, between October 1974 and October 1976.

Pan American --
Ain't gonna rain no more --
Lost John --
Alcoholic blues --
Cow Cow blues --
John Henry --
Speech about harps --
Old hen cackle (take 1) --
Sweet Marie --
Black man blues --
Red river valley --
Gotta see mama every night --
Welcome table --
Kansas City blues --
Stove pipe blues --
Speech about water and harps --
Shoe shine boy --
Swing low, sweet chariot --
Talk about grandfather --
Hesitation blues --
Old hen cackle (take 2) --
Saints --
Don't get weary children --
Sook cow --
Down the road a piece --
Evening prayer.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Kingwood Kowboy
Date: 18 Sep 19 - 11:09 PM

I have watched the first 4 of the 5 segments. Good so far. I can only hope that the 5th final segment will NOT feature "new country" so-called country music which I refuse to listen to. I'd rather fade away as so many have, than to listen to the Now sound.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Ebbie
Date: 19 Sep 19 - 03:07 AM

I think of today's 'country' as Pop Country, although I have heard some really good voices singing it. It's just not the country content that I'm used to.

I have watched all the programs so far. Finished up to 1963 tonight.

All in all, I am happy with it. They couldn't possibly show all the performers of the time but they've given it a good try. Along the way, I'e learned some things I hadn't known or had forgotten. At my age, a lot of the information and the songs was contemporaneous with me but it feels good to be reminded.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Mrrzy
Date: 19 Sep 19 - 09:00 AM

I've been seeing bits and pieces and it looks excellent. There is a review here:
https://slate.com/culture/2019/09/country-music-ken-burns-pbs-documentary-series-review.html

O where o where is the Submit button?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,bernieandred
Date: 19 Sep 19 - 06:16 PM

As a couple of catters have pointed out, The Maddox Bros & Rose were given much more detailed treatment in the episode AFTER the one I criticised!! Shows that maybe it's best to see the full series before passing judgement.
Also, in last nights episode, great to see Felice & Boudlaux (sp?) Bryant getting lots of recognition. Don't think I've even seen/heard them mentioned in any similar mainstream TV show.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Neil D
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 01:07 AM

Have a bit more faith in Ken Burns, String. He's not a documentarian who would overlook the black influence on Country. Not only does he comprehensively cover DeFord Bailey and mention Uncle Pen's influence on Monroe, he also talks about Esley Riddle and his influence on the Carters, the black railroad workers that Jimmie Rodgers fetched water for and Rufus "Tee-Tot" Payne whom Hank called his only teacher. Also covered is the Ray Charles impact and yes indeed, the incredible Rhiannon Giddens is one of the commentators.
I have enjoyed it so far but I don't know how much of the final four installments I will watch. Like many here I'm not a fan of modern Country. I've always thought the genre went way to commercial and the series did slightly touch on this. That in the '50s as the music became more and more centered in Nashville there was a definite and unabashed trend towards mass appeal which took the sound away from its roots, too polished, canned if you will.
I feel the same way about rock music in the '70s. As bands like the Eagles and Steely Dan created California Cool with its "production value" and studio homogenization, it completely lost my interest. That's why I felt that Punk Rock for all its perceived lack of virtuosity was a badly needed breath of fresh air. What's Rock and Roll without its rough edges and what's Country without its rusticism.
I originally said I would watch until Hank died, but ended up sticking around til Patsy Cline passed. Not much in Country Music really interested me after that. I'm somewhat interested to see if Doc Watson gets any love in the next segment.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 04:29 AM

A couple of posts on mudcat seem to imply that Bill Monroe's Uncle Pendleton Vandiver (his mother's brother)was black. There appears to be some confusion here. Bill did admit to black influence but it wasn't from uncle Pen. Try Arnold Schultz, guitar and fiddle player.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 04:43 AM

Further to the above posting Stringsinger mentions merle Travis's influence Mose Rager. I am pretty sure that he wasn't black either.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: RTim
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 12:40 PM

So my question is - Where does American Folk Music End and Country Music begin........

Tim Radford
(A little tongue in cheek...)


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,keberoxu
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 02:38 PM

Still reverberant in my memory is that
"Hard Times" episode
without having watched any others.

And what is sticking in my memory / craw is
the contrast between the Carter Family
and
the fantastic wealth and success of Gene Autry
whose career was covered in some detail on that second episode
(they did not, however,
dignify 'Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer' with a mention).


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: meself
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 05:06 PM

Speaking of Patsy Cline, she was very wary of crossing the line separating "Country" from "Pop". In fact, she had to be forced, pretty much, to record those songs that became such huge crossover hits (Walking After Midnight, etc.). She wanted to keep yodelling, and wearing her cowgirl outfits, but got pressured out of both.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 06:15 PM

I am sure that Gene Autry's wealth came more from his successful film career and the fact that he invested his money into the right places.

He did also make other recording apart from "Rudolf" starting out as a Jimmy Rogers imitator as did Ernest Tubb.

It might be worth mentioning that the Carters fared better than many other people recording at that time thanks to Ralph Peer.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Neil D
Date: 22 Sep 19 - 08:25 PM

I am sure that Gene Autry's wealth came more from his successful film career and the fact that he invested his money into the right places.

You can't go wrong investing in a brewery. People will always drink: when times are good they drink to celebrate; when times are bad they drink to drown their sorrows.
And why does my cookie disappear every single day?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 08:46 AM

Hi Neil D;
I would not put Steely Dan in the same category as the Eagles. Steely Dan is pure pop genius; The Eagles are pure Pop.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: keberoxu
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 02:10 PM

Don't know what episode I sat through last night,
as I tuned in after it began.
Jeannie C. Riley singing Tom T. Hall's "Harper Valley PTA,"
which I am old enough to remember from the first time around.

Nice to encounter the songwriter who wrote
"Don't Touch Me (If You Don't Love Me),"
which I first heard, memorably sung, by Roy Clark.

It greatly interested me to learn more about
Buck Owens and his Buckaroos, and how they
were actually ground-breaking in their youth;
from my television-watching childhood,
I only knew Buck Owens from the "Hee Haw" show.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 02:16 PM

Long ago, I got into folk music through Flatt & Scruggs and Johnny Cash and was familiar with honkytonk country before that. I know a fair amount about the genre from many sources. I say this as a preface to my remarks, which contrast with other contributors' here admitting their lack of knowledge of the music.

Having seen the first five episodes, I have to say the series is an improvement on what I thought it would be, namely relentless white-washing and sentimentalizing. Which is not to say there's none of that, or really, it wouldn't be Ken Burns. Perhaps understandably, he focuses on the best of a genre which overwhelmingly produced forgettable music, affirming once again the wisdom of Sturgeon's Law: 95% of everything is crap.

On the positive side Burns makes sure to give the African-American influence its full due. On the other side, he makes something of a hero of hardcore racist Faron Young by pointing to a single, though not insubstantial, noble act: befriending Charley Pride when the latter first arrived in Nashville. I've learned little that I didn't already know, but the photographs and footage have often been a revelation.

In short, the series is worth watching if you can abide Burns's characteristic pieties.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: RTim
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 10:29 PM

Not sure I can watch much of the later episodes....the songs are so Trite and Ugly I just can't listen to them...all the whiney voices and steel guitars plus the false breaks and emotion in the voices...all I really hate about Modern Country music...give me the early stuff anytime....

Tim Radford


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Larry W Jones - Kingwood Kowboy
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 11:08 PM

I've watched the series through #5. Three more to go. Best series I've ever seen on PBS. Here's one Johnny Cash missed:

Working Man Blue Collar Blues (Larry W Jones 04/21/2019) (song #7515)

Now, it’s a job raising a family of nine
Been a hard working man on the assembly line
From nine to five I think I’ve paid my dues
I’ve got the working man blue collar blues

Got my nose to the grindstone every working day
Hard on the backbone but wife and kids need my pay
Weekends off but Monday with the crew
I’ve got the working man blue collar blues

(Instrumental)

I need a change but ain’t no other jobs around
The local grange is the only support in town
Bought one new dress and nine pairs of shoes
I’ve got the working man blue collar blues

A blue collar man, a blue collar man like me
Small town dollars but not on welfare will I be
A strong back and calloused hands to use
I’ve got the working man blue collar blues

A blue collar man, a blue collar man like me
I’ve got the working man blue collar blues


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 23 Sep 19 - 11:50 PM

Do you wear that dress to the grange? :^)

It was a good episode tonight and it is vintage Ken Burns & Co.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: robomatic
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 06:23 AM

I didn't get into the series as it began. Caught one of the episodes two nights ago, the one where Johnny Cash plays at Folsom Prison and revives his career. It also mentioned Loretta Lynn, Merle Haggard, and Charley Pride. Realy enjoyed what I saw and I expect the series to be repeated more than once on public broadcasting (which has had its state contribution funds cut by our Governor).


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 09:28 AM

Glad to know that the African-American influence was covered in the Burns show.
I'll watch it now.

Did Burns cover the evolution of the pedal steel guitar? It is so identified with the genre, Noel Boggs, Joachim Miller, Leon MacAuliffe, Buddy Emmons........

It was the fiddle, and not the banjo that was used mostly on the plantations by black musicians. It's notable that Big Bill Bronzy started in Georgia as a fiddler. The fiddle playing might be a fusion of Northern Ireland, Scotland and Southern African-Americans during slavery. Did Burns cover this?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Donuel
Date: 24 Sep 19 - 08:55 PM

Wow, its top notch.
Is there anyone ever with a voice as refined as Patsy Cline / Virginia Hensly?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Bee-dubya-ell
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 07:09 AM

Half of the music is great, half of it is not to my taste, but all the guitars are beautiful.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Stringsinger
Date: 25 Sep 19 - 11:55 AM

A lot was spent on Hank Williams Junior. Too much I think. The segment seems to have been about sons and daughters of the well-known artists.

The George Jones part was especially moving, I thought.

I think Burns was right to point out the conservative aspects of country music,
a tendency to adhere to a format or style. Nashville's influence was pervasive over the commercialization of Country. Perhaps because of Chet Atkins and Steve Sholes.

I didn't see the Bob Wills part but he never wanted to be thought of as a Country
musician. He was enamored of the swing bands of the time.

I think some attention could be paid to the guitar and fiddle as major components of
country music. Also the steel guitar (both pedal and standup). Especially the "geetar".
The banjo prevalent in traditional folk music seems to have played a minor role until Earl Scruggs and Don Reno. There was the comic relief of Uncle Dave, Stringbean and Brother Oswald as well as perhaps Mac Wiseman.

Country Music is a marketing genre such as Race Records or R and B or Rock. The limitations that it has seems predicated on recording sales. Even the Outlaws were a recording gimmick despite the talents of Nelson and Jennings.

The music business as we know it has changed. It was true in early Sixties until the merchants figured it out. I think we're seeing the same thing now. Who can predict where it's going? It may go the way of Capitalism. It works for a few but not the many.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Ebbie
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 02:50 AM

OK- I watched it all; the last show was tonight. And I discovered that when I am REALLY interested in something, I don't get sleepy.

There were several people and songs that I wish could have been included but, good god, there's no way they could have covered them all. I am amazed at how many they did present, along with the commentary. I learned a good bit about a goodly number of musicians. I am well satisfied and I'd guess that the series will inspire a good many youngsters of today.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: StephenH
Date: 26 Sep 19 - 05:32 PM

I'll add my opinion that, overall, the series was quite good.
I have a few criticisms but, as Ebbie says, no way he could have covered it all. The things that I would have like included, or parts I'd have liked shortened, would have made it a better series for me, but not necessarily a better series per se.
As my wife pointed out, for those less familiar with the historical roots of what we know today as country music, the series held a few
revelations. Black influence on country music was an especially
important point to make. The white Delmore Brothers on-the-road solidarity with the black musician, DeFord Bailey, was something that I
hadn't heard of before and was glad it was included.
So, all in all, I think a job well done.

Oh yes, thought it was interesting that Ken Burns chose to end his look at country music with the death of Johnny Cash.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Neil D
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 05:44 AM

I agree with Stringsinger about to much time devoted to Hank Jr. Boy, if an apple ever DID fall far from the tree. Everything Dad recorded was authentic and sincere. Everything Jr did was formulaic, pandering and cheesy. I thought that he and Kenny Rogers represented everything most cringeworthy about Country Music of that era. I also agree that the "Outlaw" label was very much a commercial ploy. Even though JC, Willy and Kris were the only artists I had any time for at that point, I was never comfortable with the "Outlaw" designation.
I did enjoy the series but I must say that after Hank passed much of the music was hard to listen to, as I expected going in. I would have liked a bit more explorations of Country's antecedents at the beginning of part 1. The music wasn't born fully formed in 1927, it evolved over time. Some of the songs AP Carter took copyrights on may have been hundreds of years old.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 01:18 PM

I've been through it almost twice now and I didn't notice any mention of two of my favorite singers- Don Williams and Vern Gosdin but as has been noted there were bound to be some oversights. I think it's an important documentary if only for the interviews with some key individuals who are no longer living but it's a whole lot more than that.
Ending with the death of Johnny Cash was a good way to bookend things given his connection to the Carter Family and as Darrel Scott pointed out in "Country Music I'm Talking to You" it's become about "rum drinks by the pool".
And yeah, way too much Hank Jr.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Mossback
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 01:54 PM

And yeah, way too much Hank Jr.

Aside from not being much of a singer, instrumentalist or musician, he'a also a little Trumpist piece of crap.

What's not to like?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 02:57 PM

Let me clarify, AFAIC any Hank Jr. is too much Hank Jr.

There was some mind blowing video on the series like Louis Armstrong accompanying Cash on Blue Yodel #9 on his network TV show about 40 years after he did the same for Jimmy Rodgers on his recording of it.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: robomatic
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 03:27 PM

I have been catching it at intervals. Damn near cried with Johnny Cash covering "The Hurt" months before he passed.

Someone remarked earlier in thread that Southern accent related to African roots. I always thought it was considered derivative of English Elizabethan accent.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Mossback
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 03:52 PM

Let me clarify, AFAIC any Hank Jr. is too much Hank Jr.

Amen. Or as the Pastafarians would have it, Ramen.

Junior should hook up with Ted Nugent - they could call themselves "The Fascist Duo" or "The A##hole Brothers.

Now Hank Senior- there was really something!


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Bill D
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 06:06 PM

I am not a regular follower of "country" music, but obviously.. and as it as made clear...there are connections and roots in 'folk'.
I have watched pieces of all parts of the series, most of other parts, and I have recorded them all to watch at my leisure.

   I was amazed at the research and interviews they included and fascinated at some of the 'back stories' about personalities and the history of how culture and demography were related to the music.

Of course they couldn't cover a hundred years and a few thousand artists in a few hours... and after about part 3, I predicted the remarks about people's favorites being left out or over-done or under-done. I said somewhere that 'maybe' with a one hour per week show on PBS for a year or two, they could come vaguely close... but...

   Even though 'country' is not my daily concern, I was raised in Kansas and 'country' (mostly bluegrass) was everywhere... and once the folk-scare of the 60s got rolling, it was impossible to avoid the Carter Family, Hank Williams, the rise of 'girl-singers'...etc...etc.

The Walnut Valley Festival at Winfield included a bit of everything, and I attended the first 5-6 and 2 more after moving east, so many of the musical threads discussed in the series were part of my life, even though not the Nashville centered main plots.

I think Burns and his crew did an astounding job of distilling such a complex topic into something that moved even a 'purist-snob folkie' like *I* have been referred as...

I'm gonna have a great time soaking up the details this Winter.....


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 06:54 PM

As "folkies," politicized accordingly, of course many of you don't like Hank Jr.

You see the worlds of "Good Country" and "Bad Country," divided mainly along the lines of political signifiers. As a recent piece discusses , people indicate through taste (the old Bourdieu "Distinction" thing, Hebdige's "Subcultures" thing) their affiliations, identity, etc. On average, Democrats prefer Starbucks and Republicans prefer Dunkin Donuts.

With Country, I've notice that some folkie-types with self-awareness negotiate this by saying that Country was good before a certain time, then spoilt by people. They can equate the "real" Country with the "original" Country, by which they mean an "earlier" Country. Typical Folk move of valorizing older things, devaluing newer.

As for contemporaneous "Good Country" and "Bad Country," where the timeline thing doesn't work: Some will treat Country in general as the Bad thing. (See, Folk... whatever that is? however it's different from Country?... is the Good.) But they reserve "Bluegrass" (a rose by another name) as Good, along with some valiant champions, in the minority, in the Country world who look like they are fighting against the Badness of Country from within. The rural quality of Bluegrass is at home in the Blue states, where it is quaint and simple and cute and authentic and nice. The rural quality of Country, from Red states, is interpreted as backwards, uneducated, scary, mean, etc.

The rural quality (the "country") is interpreted differently based on some mapping of political parties. What do you call a White American with conservative beliefs? A "Trumptard," etc. What do you call some dude in a village in India who believes in caste, supports patriarchy, is superstitiously religious? An "indigenous village elder." Aw! This is a lot of BS with respect to Country, though it's a framework of value that "outsiders" apply. The more people understand that African/American music is a foundation (not an "influence") of Country, I think, the more the partisan divide will break. When I say "people," I mean people who are not Country artists, because Country artists for the most part already know their music is Blues. Lil Nas X did a great job with his record-breaking #1 song.

Hank Jr is very important to any non-partisan history of Country. The people involved in Country music for the last 50 years equally recognize Hank (Sr.) and Bocephus (HW Jr) as deep bases of their genre.

"I ain't gonna call Hank Williams Jr. 'Junior' any more" ~ David Allan Coe, 1976


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 07:00 PM

I don't even know what Junior's politics are, he just comes off like a macho, loud mouth braggart to me and I don't find his music very interesting.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,guest.crowlibrarian
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 07:24 PM

I appreciate Gibb Sahib's examination of how the partisan divide affects people's appreciation of Country, or Country and Western as I still think of it. I was raised dirt poor in Oklahoma, though born in Tennessee of hillbilly Missouri Ozarks parents and this music was practicaly all I knew until I got my first transistor radio. As Burns makes clear, C&W has always been marginalized, sometimes despised, and often ridiculed by many people in the folk community and beyond, with some exceptions for old-time, bluegrass and Americana, especially among liberals. Rural vs. urban explains part of it, but much of it is class prejudice where the customs and ways of working (and rural) people are simply seen as less sophisticated and inferior. As one who went to college (the first on mom's side of the family) and became a professional, I was always aware that appreciation of other culture's rural musics was acceptable, but my peers (including my current partner) disliked our own rural music. I hope Burn's series helps to change this. Like many of you, I stopped listening to commercial country music radio by the 1980s though old country and Texas-based Americana was always present for me, but with the last episode of the series, I saw that I had missed a lot by not giving The Judds, Randy Travis, Reba McIntyre, George Strait and others a chance, for despite the tension between commercialization and authenticity that has been part of the music's history since the Ralph Peer's Bristol recordings, there were and are artists who are telling stories that are relevant to many working class and rural people, as well as those who remember those roots.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Larry W Jones - Kingwood Kowboy
Date: 29 Sep 19 - 09:40 PM

Ken Burns Country Music (Larry W Jones 09/29/2019) (song #7627)

Ken Burns country music film was a big hit everywhere
It made folks around the world wish that they were really there
Ken Burns country music film made his’try with country songs
It made folks around the world join voices and sing along

It all started in nineteen thirty three
Jimmie Rodgers and the Carter fam’ly
Recorded songs in Bristol Tennessee
And as they say the rest is history

Ken Burns country music film was a big hit everywhere

Nashville was the heart of country music
In the Great Depression and World War II
Movies fell in love with singing cowboys
Roy Acuff, Texas Swing, the Opry too

Ken Burns country music film was a big hit everywhere

Kentucky bluegrass spread from Bill Monroe
Hank Williams was the Hillbilly Shakespeare
Johnny Cash, Elvis, Patsy are no more
With Ken Burns country music they’re still here

Ken Burns country music film was a big hit everywhere

Sons and Daughters of America glowed
And the Circle was unbroken we hear
Now, Hank didn’t get above his raisin’
But if young Hank done it this way ain’t clear

Ken Burns country music film was a big hit everywhere
It made folks around the world wish that they were really there
Ken Burns country music film made his’try with country songs
It made folks around the world join voices and sing along

Ken Burns country music was a lot more than film and song


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 01 Oct 19 - 07:10 PM

In connection with the Ken Burns series, the Fresh Air radio program did an interview with "Ranger Doug" Green of Riders in the Sky on "The Singing Cowboy."

https://www.npr.org/2019/09/25/764227667/western-music-expert-doug-green-revisits-the-era-of-the-singing-cowboy


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Oct 19 - 11:13 AM

My friend Mick said there is one big omission in the Burns doc. That of Riley Puckett,
the first yodeler in country music. He is associated with North Georgia old time music.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 02 Oct 19 - 08:45 PM

I agree that any time spent on Hank Williams Jr. is wasted time, never to be recovered.

I once had a cat I named Hank. A repairman who came to the house heard me address Hank, who was up to something or other, by name. He asked me, "You named your cat after Hank Williams Jr.?" to which I responded, "Hank Williams had a son?" (A subsequent cat, who's sleeping on the chair as I type, is named Robert, by the way. Another, elsewhere in the house, is Woody.)

It's not just, already bad enough, Hank Jr.'s reactionary politics and profound gun-love. It's his lack of talent and widely observed obnoxious personality. (I concede that he's always had good bands.) His son Hank3 (as he prefers to be called) is more interesting and happens, it's clear, to know something about folk music. As did his grandpa. For example, "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" is clearly a "Lonesome Dove" variant.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: DaveRo
Date: 17 Nov 19 - 02:40 AM

This starts on BBC4 in the UK on Friday 22nd November:
https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/m000bhft

It hasn't, I think, appeared on PBS UK yet (which has less and less US-originated content).


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 17 Nov 19 - 09:15 PM

Actually, the notion that country was once better (and more "authentic") than it is now is hardly confined to liberal listeners. It's a widely shared view held by country fans of all political persuasions. I don't know what the correspondent above is talking about.

Rather than bash liberals as the root of all evil, your correspondent would more productively spend his time listening to older and newer country and try to understand why so many people, who may disagree about everything else, are of one mind on this particular question.

By the way, Hank Jr. is a talentless jerk.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Nov 19 - 09:56 PM

Jerome, I reluctantly agree about Hank Jr. I keep hoping he'll come out with something worthy of a son of Hank Williams, but he keeps disappointing me.

But on another note, Black Friday Week is coming up, and I really want to buy the Ken Burns Country Music DVDs. If anybody sees them come up at a terrific price, please post something here in this thread. It's now $74.08 for Blu-Ray at Amazon, $64.49 as DVD.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Stewie
Date: 17 Nov 19 - 10:22 PM

Joe, his daughter, Holly, is not bad though. I like this one - it wouldn't disappoint her granddad.

Railroads

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 17 Nov 19 - 10:37 PM

Holly Williams is an extraordinary talent. She should be a lot more famous than she is. If there's any justice...


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: gillymor
Date: 18 Nov 19 - 07:02 AM

I like that Holly Williams song, I believe she was interviewed in the Burn's documentary.

Here's another fairly recent song worth listening to, IMO-

Let's Just Have Supper by Nora Jane Struthers and Korby Lenker.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,bigJ
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 05:37 AM

I just received this from my brother in the Bahamas -

"Just a quick line. I looked up the BBC4 schedule for Country Music tonight and I did a double-take as the programmes they will be showing in England are only fifty minutes long per episode. The original programmes are two hours long per episode so they have obviously severely truncated them. They are showing episode 1 and 2 tonight but each one should be two hours. BBC are advertising them as a nine part series but they are an eight part series of two hours each."

So be warned.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: DaveRo
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 06:37 AM

Country Music by Ken Burns review – three chords and half of the truth (The Guardian)


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Gibb Sahib
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 11:02 PM

Jerome Clark,

"Actually, the notion that country was once better (and more "authentic") than it is now is hardly confined to liberal listeners."
I agree 100%. And yet, different audiences have different reasons for asserting things of the past are better.

"I don't know what the correspondent above is talking about."
I am talking about what I was talking about: An observation of a certain audience, which I believe is well represented among those who identify with Folk genre and who don't really identify with Country -- though they'll say they like some Country item -- VS. those people who strongly identify with Country in all its rage and variety. The observation, once again, is of a listener type that I've often encountered that tends to valorize Country-labelled artists before a certain time (perhaps along with a few exceptions in the later time). Among these valorized artists, Hank Williams Senior, again as I've observed, holds a special place. He seems to represent values that are more congruent with their values, and serves as a representation of Country "as it was before..." it became something that is incongruent with their values. Again, I contrast that with the devoted, strongly identifying Country audiences who are more inclined to take in the entire range of Country.

"Rather than bash liberals as the root of all evil..."
Dunno who is doing that. I am a liberal. It's possible to reflect on the society of which one is a part, to self-analyze, etc. Nor do I identify as a Country fan. I do identify as an anthropologist, and I am an observer and critic of culture, warts and all.

"By the way, Hank Jr. is a talentless jerk." I certainly disagree about the talentless part, but I tend to doubt that is the main reason for the phenomenon which I've flagged. A jerk, hmm, OK -- but I don't care about that.

"your correspondent would more productively spend his time"
What's this "correspondent" business, and why addressing in the third person?

"people, who may disagree about everything else, are of one mind on this particular question."
They most certainly are not of one mind. If they appear to be of one mind in this conversation, then that substantiates my "theory" about the Folk audience. Since obviously a ton of people do like Junior, I suppose you dismiss their opinion? You choose to ignore the people who equally embrace Senior and Junior? I don't follow that logic of dismissing people. Indeed, my original point was this: Junior is an important part of Country music history whether you personally like him or not, and therefore must be part of any comprehensive and accurate/representative historical telling of the genre. People -- as I allege, especially people who are rather distant from the center of Country's audience -- may complain that they had to be subjected to Junior when they watched a film, but that doesn't justify leaving Junior's important impact out of the Country story.

Gibb


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 22 Nov 19 - 11:19 PM

Hi Gibb, I don’t mean this to be rude question, but what in gods name does Valorize mean ?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 12:30 AM

https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/valorize

1: to enhance or try to enhance the price, value, or status of by organized and usually governmental action
using subsidies to valorize coffee

2: to assign value or merit to : VALIDATE


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,HiLo
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 01:14 AM

In other words a semi obscure government word for price fixing, Who knew?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,John from Kemsing
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 05:44 AM

Two hours of enjoyable and informative T.V. I look forward to next weekend`s programmes.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Hootenanny
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 06:33 AM

Some nice rare and good quality film clips and photographs and very well put together but why is the BBC unable/unwilling to let us see the whole series as shown on PBS? It seems that we will only be able to see about half of the original series in an edited/abbreviated form.

Is there or will there be a box set of the complete original series I wonder?


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 09:10 AM

I still don't quite understand what Gib Sahib is trying to communicate. I guess, though, that if he does, so be it, and God bless him. Perhaps this underscores the point that music is hard to talk or write about. As a frequent reviewer of same, I know that all too well.

But I confess that I am puzzled why Hank Williams, not known for political songs, needs to be seen through a political lens. To the contrary, Hank's greatness is one of the few issues on which all sides and parties agree. It is simply a fact that his music represents a rural sensibility which even in his time (late 1949s/early 1950s) was going out of fashion in the music ironically called "country." Anyone who knows folk music will hear the influence of traditional song, but you don't have to know as much to appreciate the power in his art. And of course, you shouldn't have to apologize for possessing knowledge of older, traditional music.

If our friend insists that Hank Jr. is an important figure (in any but, decades ago, a commercial sense), his is a minority view, significantly so, but I simply don't wish to argue the matter. Any time spent on Hank Jr. is time lost forever, and he isn't worth the sacrifice.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Jerome Clark
Date: 23 Nov 19 - 09:30 AM

My apologies for misspelling Gibb Sahib's first name. I plead too little coffee in my system at this still-early hour.


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: GUEST,Derek Schofield
Date: 24 Nov 19 - 05:07 AM

Hootenanny.
There is a DVD, details here (or just Google), and from the comments, it seems this is the complete version, with extras:
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Ken-Burns-Country-Music-DVD/dp/B07PXRGXZL

As the Guardian review stated … three chords and only half the truth...
Derek


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Joe Offer
Date: 17 Jan 20 - 08:53 PM

I got the Blu-Ray edition for myself for Christmas, and I've watched the first two episodes. I'm really enjoying it. The black-and-white still photos from the 1930s come out wonderful on hi-definition TV.
The show is available for streaming, but it doesn't come out very well on my rural California Internet connection.

If you'd like to stream the show for free, you can start with Episode 1 here:

For me, the Blu-Ray supplemental material was almost worth the price. There's a great interview of Rhiannon Giddens, for example.

-Joe-


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Subject: RE: PBS - Ken Burns Country Music
From: Bill D
Date: 18 Jan 20 - 02:16 PM

I have them all saved on my Verizon recorder. I can keep a few dozen programs as long as I'm careful of the space.
   I expect to re-run them slowly soon.


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