Thursday, October 6, 2011

Hank Would Cry ... Again

Anyone who knows me would know that I hate new country music. I hate these blonde ninnies with bleached teeth and squinty-eyed jacks with torn jeans and fragrances in the bank. They ruined country music and turned it into raggedy pop nonsense.
Is it fitting I’m posting this while Las Cruces is going crazy for Chris Young right now? (Oct. 6)
I like the old guys, here’s proof, I have a Waylon Jennings sticker on my car. I like how their tours across the country didn’t come with t-shirts, cups, stickers and over priced albums and concert tickets. I like how they performed anywhere they were wanted instead of the most lucrative locations. Of course I have an old soul and sadly I grow up in this time when beer is $8 at the concert and I can only afford to sit in the nosebleed section.
Conway Twitty came to Crownpoint, where I am from on the Navajo reservation. He rocked the roof off the Crownpoint (tribal) college cafeteria. Twitty kissed my grandma and made my grandpa mad for a while.  Those were the good ole days – and I have more stories about Crownpoint’s good ole days that unfortunately I wasn’t witness to either.  I bet tickets were $1, if any admission price.
Don’t you notice old country songs frequently had references to Native Americans? Waylon sang “America” where “the red man is right to expect a little from you, promise and then follow through, America.” I heard he was into the American Indian Movement around the early 1970’s.  Even Elton John wrote a song about us. That’s gone now.

"America" by Waylon Jennings

Johnny Cash came to Crownpoint too. He loved my hometown so much he wrote a song, called “Navajo.” In that song he says he watched an artist painting. That painter was Jimmy Abeyta, a neighbor of another famous painter, Willie Murphy, who is my grandpa – but I like to think he was singing about my grandpa.

"Navajo" by Johnny Cash

Cash also made an album, “Bitter Tears” all about Natives: injustice, hardships and pride. He includes himself as a Native and sings, “in our losing we found proudness, in your winning you found shame.” Where is that album? Have you heard of it? I certainly never heard about it until I was thinking about this blog. Maybe the big music people heard the lyrics and thought they would hide it and never include any of those songs about Natives in any of Cash’s ‘Greatest Hits’ albums. They decided to do the same thing with U.S. history text books, but that’s another blog – that will tie into my next blog about the famous terrorist, Christopher Columbus.

"A Native American Tribute" by Johnny Cash about forced assimilation and bording schools. From "Bitter Tears."

You know who also came from Crownpoint and sometimes plays in Crownpoint? Tim Murphy and The Outlaws! These guys play all the old country hits. And if you didn’t make the connection, Tim Murphy is my dad and I did grow up on a good supply of real country because of him – though in my teens I rebelled and said "no to country" for a while. There are a lot of these ‘rez bands’ on the reservation and they do covers of a lot of the old stuff. I’m going to be biased and say my dad’s band is the best – why do you think NMSU would invite them here twice to a packed house? Unfortunately a lot of people have a bad taste in music and these bands are now trying to cover the new crud.
Take it how you will. Please come back for my future blog about the man who Hitler was inspired by, due on Columbus Day.

1 comment:

  1. A very good blog about true country singers.
    If you don't know about Crownpoint New Mexico? It's a small community located on the edge of the Navajo Reservation. How did they ever find Crownpoint? There are alot of places they could have gone but being true to their fans, it didn't matter where they would perform, they just wanted to please their fans!