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Saturday night smile

One from the Brits:

Look at her, she’s loving it.

And one from the Yanks:

Lets hear it for the rednecks*, Gods favourite creation.

*Even if these ones are Czech.


  1. RAB says:

    I was only thinking the other day, what an extraordinary Nation we are. No other country I can think of, not only has novelty and comedy songs get into the top ten, but does so with regularity. Think Benny Hill’s Ernie, Clive Dunn’s Grandad, Donald were’s yer trousers, Shutupp ya face and on and on.

    Day trip to Bangor is pure Music Hall, specifically designed to be sung on Charabang outings, and of course the writer has obviously never been there, because nobody in their right mind would go there on a day trip. They probably had in mind Llandudno, but it’s a bugger to get to rhyme isn’t it?

    Loved the bouncing Czechs though. They’ll have a sweet home Alabama anytime they like! Talking of which spent a pleasurable few hours watching Docs on BBC4 about Southern Rock. Allman Bros, Lynard Skinnard etc. Always been fond of the Allman’s.

  2. Ian B says:

    That second one is almost enough to make country music tolerable.


    RAB, I dunno if I’d count Day Trip To Bangor as a novely song, though I agree it’s pure music hall. I put it in the same mental bin of pop-folk as All Around My Hat. I love folk music. Can’t stand country music though. This makes no sense. Even to me. Maybe it’s minor versus major chords, pentatonic scales, or something, like I mean, can’t remember me music theory properly here, but it’s where chord I is in the scale. Talking of which, sort of-

    Pentangle. Marvellous.

  3. zack says:

    Well “Cotton Eyed Joe” originally was a folk song; then The Rednex (who I always thought were Swedish) made a techno remix of it that took off.

    I always thought country was a result of the mixing of folk, bluegrass and rock(which itself was mix of folk and jazz styles[especially swing]).

    I saw a video online a couple months ago that charted the influence various musical styles had on each other, which I can’t seem to find now. I wish I had saved it.

  4. RAB says:

    Prof RAB dons his Musicology hat…

    Thanks for the map zack, but it really doesn’t cut it. The truth about music is, is that it is its own language. I sat in Peter Gabriel’s studio in Box when WOMAD was being set up, watching musicians from 4 continents who don’t have single communcatable language in common, talk to each other. One starts a melody line, another comes in with rhythm and bass, another with drums, and suddenly they are talking fluently. Music is an International language, and all musicians steal the good bits from wherever they can.

    Blues and country (which the map doesn’t adequately illustrate zack) came from the first colonists of the American South. They happened to be mainly Celts, Irish, Scots and Welsh, who brought their folk music with them. They were often indentured labourers, and when the Black slaves turned up with their work chants and drum based music, that melded with what they heard around them, and became the first blues and jazz.

    I’m not a big fan of Country music myself, in it’s Dolly Parton Grand old Oprey sort of incarnation, but I do like the hippie fringe as it were with the likes of the late great Gram Parsons and the like of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. I also like pure Bluegrass too, but like reggae it gets samey very quickly, so best in short bursts.

    A whole raft of American musicians who are now considered very much rock, started in folk. The Grateful Dead (Garcia was a banjo player) Jefferson Airplane, Crosby Stills… Mamas and Papas etc etc all folk club artists. It was the appearance of the Beatles and the Stones, who took rock and blues back to America in a new revitalised form, that made the change. There would have been no Bruce Springsteen or Blondie for that matter, without them.

    Try this…

    As for Pentangle Ian well you can’t go wrong there, or Fairport and Steeleye, either. It’s the ultra traditionalists with their bleedin finger in their ears I couldn’t stand, when I frequented Folk Clubs in rooms above pubs when I was in my teens in Cardiff.

  5. Paul Marks says:

    “Rednecks” were orginally ScotsIrish (pale skinned – goes red if you work outside in the sun).

    But they are an assimilationist culture.

    Doubt not.

    Should people come from Eastern Europe to the United States work in ordinary jobs in the South or West (or even parts of the North East) and buy a pickup truck (and, of course, a gun) then within a generation or so…..

    Their daughters will be as “Country” as Daisy Duke. No one cares where the parents came from (or even where people are born themselves).

    By the way – do not be so hard on Country Music.

    If one looks at a map of the favourate music stations in areas of the United States, and then one looks at a map of the Republican vote……

    There is an odd thing.

    These days (not in the past – but in modern times) the map of where country stations are the favourate music stations, and the map of places where most people vote Republican…..

    Are basically the same map.

    This does not mean that a person has to like country music to get the Republican nomination for President (I do not see Mitt Romney jigging around to fiddle music), but it does mean something important.

    If you sneer at the social values of “Rednecks” you might as well not run – as you are not going to get anywhere.

    And it is not just Republican primaries.

    Without the “Redneck” vote no candidate can defeat the left – it is not mathematically possible.

    So no candidate (Republican or other) can defeat the left if they sneer at “Redneck” social values (on abortion or anything else).

    Because the “Rednecks” will stay home on election day if you do that – and the left win by default.

    As Barack Obama put it – “guns and God” are what these people care about. It has been that way since at least the Battle of Kings Mountain (remember the people the Rednecks shot to bits, or lynched after they gave up, were also born in America – and it was not even that they were fighting for the King that made them unacceptable it was the fact that their commander had INSULTED the Rednecks, and no insult may go on unpunished and their is only one punishment – death). The Swamp Fox down in South Carolina was no different – and neither were the Rangers all the way up in New Hampshire.

    If you were starving they would give their last crust of bread to you (and starve themselves) – but if you crossed them (or they thought you had) they cut your heart out.

    “But the sensuality – surely it is in contradiction with the religion”.

    Perhaps it is – but it has always been so.

    Hard core passionate (including sexual passion – but also things like food) natures and strong religious sense – in the same people.

    The recent film “Machine Gun Preacher” shows the type.

    And, remember, the Redneck main character of that film was from the North (not the South or West) and lived his whole life near a major city.

    And he is not an uncommon type.

    Actually it is very Celtic (especially Irish) – even if the people have no Irish blood in them.

    Remember what I said about an “assimilationist” culture.

  6. Paul Marks says:

    For those who think of Country culture as being solely Southern.

    The first “Redneck” revolt againt the Federal govenrment was in 1794 – in Penn (not known as a Southern State) the “Whiskey Rebellion”.

    And up in the north of New Hampshire and Maine (Atlanic and Canada – one can not get much more North Eastern) the most popular music on the radio is…..

    You guessed it.

    Of course I could also talk about the contrast between “Court” and “Country” even in English politics – and that is NOT the same thing as “Tory” and “Whig”. For there were Country Tory folk – for example the October Ale people.

    “Whig” and “Tory” are (basically) about who is in charge – who is the King or the relations between King and Parliament.

    Court and Country are not really about that – they are about what government does (or does not do).

    To Country people the Whiskey “rebels” (actually it was not really a full scale revolt – Washington just wanted an excuse to throw his weight about, sorry to establish the authority of the Federal government) the arguement that they returned members to Congress was meaningless.

    They did not care about “the vote” and other such stuff.

    They wanted the government not to tax their whiskey or demand licenses for their stills.

    After all to escape such taxes and regulations is why they had left Ireland, Scotland (and England and Wales) in the first place.

    Practical experience should teach anyone that the Lockeian argument “you have the vote so have you have consented to these taxes and regulations” is bullshit.

    Although the vote did matter in 1800 – for the Jefferson Administration swept this stuff away (it was not to return till the Civil War – where what is now the ATF, and was once the Redcoats, came back).

  7. Paul Marks says:

    The folk singer has reminded me about cider – I will be drinking some soon.

    Opposing the cider tax in late 18th century Britain.

    Edmund Burke (Whig and other Whigs of certain sorts) and a lot of Tory folk.

    A classic “Country” issue. Against “the Court interest” – for when one says “the Crown” one must remember it has little (if anything) to do with the person of the King.

  8. zack says:

    Wow, truly epic posts Paul. I was familiar with much of the history you talked about (at least, on the American side). Anyway, I feel kinda bad because I think the whole redneck jaunt was started by my post about a swedish *band* called called Rednex

    anyway, great little series about the interplay between culture, music and politics. Bravo

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