Friday, 31 May 2013

The Best of the Worst Country Song Titles

The Best of the Worst Country Song Titles
31 May 2013

So just the other day, Ellen DeGeneres was on in the lounge, whilst I was cooking in the kitchen.  Amber absolutely loves her show, and every so often, puts it on.  Now I really, really enjoy Ellen.  I never actually sit down and watch it.  I’m not sure when it is on, or even what channel it is on, but whenever I catch a glimpse, I’m normally glad I did.  You know why?  Because she makes me laugh.  Every single time.  It stands to reason that she would - she is a very, very funny lady.

And on this occasion, she was having a dig at the awful Country song titles that there were.  It was a hoot!  I could barely believe these titles.  Did people really write songs called, “I flushed you from the toilets of my heart”.  As well as, “I Went Back to My Fourth Wife for the Third Time and Gave Her a Second Chance to Make a First Class Fool Out of Me”.  For real?  Seriously?  As in, not only did they write these songs, they recorded them.  And then, horror of horrors – they sold them.  To people!  Who bought them?  The mind boggles!

To be truthful, I abandoned cooking right then and there.  I was spellbound.  Nay, mesmerised.  To be even more honest, I was pretty much useless after that.  Because once that segment was finished, I simply had to dash to the computer to Google, “Best of the worst Country song titles”.  And do you know, that once I entered my search, there were 4 990 000 results on the web within 0,27 seconds? 

I was hooked and have been ever since.  It has caused much mirth and peals of laughter.  Unprovoked at times, when I’m busy doing something else, and one of those titles simply pops up into my head.  Now this is not blasphemous at all, I just find it really, really, really funny.  But there is a Country song called, “Drop Kick Me Jesus, Through The Goalposts Of Life”.  And I think the reason I find it so funny, is the mental image that comes to mind.

And please do allow me to share some of my personal favourite “Best of the worst Country Song Titles”:

  • I Keep Forgettin' I Forgot About You
  • Get Your Tongue Outta My Mouth 'Cause I'm Kissing You Goodbye
  • I've Got The Hungries For Your Love And I'm Waiting In Your Welfare Line
  • If I Can't Be Number One In Your Life, Then Number Two On You
  • If My Nose Were Full Of Nickels, I'd Blow It All On You
  • If You Don't Leave Me Alone, I'll Go And Find Someone Else Who Will
  • If You Leave Me, Can I Come Too?
  • My John Deere Was Breaking Your Field, While Your Dear John Was Breaking My Heart
  • She Got The Ring And I Got The Finger
  • Thank God And Greyhound She's Gone
  • You Done Tore Out My Heart And Stomped That Sucker Flat
  • You're The Reason Our Baby's So Ugly
  • My Tears Have Washed "I Love You" Off The Blackboard Of My Heart
  • I Wish I Were In Dixie Tonight, But She's Out Of Town
  • I'm So Miserable Without You It's Like Having You Here
  • If You Don't Believe I Love You Just Ask My Wife
  • I've Got You on My Conscience But At Least You're Off My Back
  • The Next Time You Throw That Fryin' Pan, My Face Ain't Gonna Be There
  • I Hate Every Bone In Your Body Except Mine
  • I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well
  • Did I Shave my Legs for This?
  • I Fell for Her, She Fell for Him, and He Fell for Me
  • I Gave Her My Heart And A Diamond And She Clubbed Me With A Spade
  • I Wish I Were A Woman (So I Could Go Out With A Guy Like Me)
  • I'd Rather Hear A Fat Girl Fart Than A Pretty Boy Sing
  • I'd Rather Pass a Kidney Stone than Another Night With You
I would also like to categorically state, that I do not like Country music at all.  Nor Western for the matter.  Not even one little bit.  It is simply a personal preference, and I mean no disrespect to anyone that does.  But to combine my aversion to Country and Western music with these ridiculous titles together is alluringly tempting and begging for ridicule.  And I find it really hard to resist.

Now, I’m putting myself out on a limb here.  But perhaps a part of the intrigue and “magic” of these songs, is that the words are just so very, very honest.  There is no deceit.  There is no circumventing the truth.  Nothing is couched in airy-fairy, touchy-feely fake-ness.   These Country guys and gals, just get right on down and tell it like it is.  No holds barred.  If their lives sucks, they’ll tell you all about it.  If their dog died, they’ll tell you.  If their favourite TV programme got canned they’ll tell you. 

And then it struck me.  Don’t I do the same with my blog?  Perhaps Country and Western artists are musical bloggers!!!  Of course yes!  It all makes perfect sense.

Naturally, it didn’t take long for me to start thinking of ways for me to blog in song too.  And for extra authenticity, it stands to reason, that I would tap from my very own life for inspiration.  And so I give you:

My pocket’s gone dry, cause my Jumping Castle’s done popped” – Technically, this is not true.  I have fourteen Jumping Castles, all in good nick, but damn it would make a good tune.  Loads of awesome elements in there.  I’ve got the lingo down pat, and financial hardships are always a winning theme.

I’d make you supper darling, but my cooking skills are gone” – An awesome excuse for not cooking a meal.

I’ve got me a hankering for a lovin, but I best get my roast in this darn oven” – Always got to put food first.

I’d buy you a shiny car, but I ain’t got no money, so I’ll have to give you a hug instead” – True story.

You warm the cockles of my heart, like the car seat heaters, warm my butt” – If only I had car seat heaters.

You’re done breaking my heart, with your channel hopping-ways” – Many a wife can identify, I’m sure.

You parked your pick-up in the garage of my heart” – Don’t have any explanation for this one.  Don’t even have a pick-up.

Your hair might be long gone, but the rest of your body sure ain't” – Say no more.

You’re the cherry on the love cake of my life” – Corny enough?
Roses are red, violets are blue.  I loved you so much, I made you lamb stew” – I do make a killer lamb stew.

See!  How easy was that?  I’m a natural.  Perhaps I was a country artist in a previous life?  Alternatively, country stars could simply outsource to me.  I’m sure I’d be able to come up with some truly winning and memorable lyrics for sure.

Watch out Taylor Swift.

I’m a comin…



Thursday, 30 May 2013

The Grahamstown Martell Blues Rock Festivals - Part 2 - The Musos

The Grahamstown Martell Blues Rock Festivals - Part 2 - The Musos
30 May 2013

Now as mentioned before, the magnificence of the Grahamstown Martell Blues Rock Festival, was twofold.  “The People” and “The Musos”.

And Part 2 of my Blues Rock Festival blog, is about the wonderfully talented musicians.  How very many of them there were.

Because here’s the thing.  Awesome though all the people associated with the festival were, the Blues Rock Festival, was still a festival celebrating music.  And for that one needed musicians.

Traditionally the main music festival at the Grahamstown National Arts Festival, is the Smirnoff Jazz Festival.  Which was awesome.  Though the very label, “Jazz”, excluded a whole bunch of amazingly talented bands.  In fact, I think it was rather limiting.  Furthermore, the Jazz Festival was a humongous big corporate gig.  Controlled with a corporate type vibe.  And I think it took away a bit of the magic for some, and stifled the creative spirit for others.

In comparison, the Blues Rock Festival, was far more liberating.  It formed a part of The Fringe.  This was the label given to side festivals, gigs and events, feeding off the hype of the main festival.  The funny thing being, that the Blues Rock Festival, was the festival that really ended up drawing in the crowd.  The music hungry youth, eager to expand their musical horizons and take in all of the new talent SA had on offer.  Those that didn’t like to conform.  That liked the slightly more edgy artists and performances.  For them, this festival was perfect.  It wasn’t a humongous big corporate gig, with a corporate type vibe.  It was a family run event and had a far more personal feel to it.

In fact, the Grahamstown Martell Blues Rock Festival was a glorious celebration and showing-off of the very finest musical talent SA had to offer.  A showcase for awesome artists to share their magic with the masses.  And the masses simply lapped it all up.  It also had the added benefit of being a platform to launch careers.

I loved how down to earth and very humble the musicians all were.  How very human and real.  No prima donnas.  No airs and graces.  No superstars.  Just ordinary people with a passion for music.  Talented people – one and all.

The music community is actually a very small community.  And rather closed off.  Often you find that musicians hang out with fellow musicians.  That they befriend each other.  And maybe the same is true for many other professions too.  I suppose doctors, hang out with fellow doctors, etc.  And in the music community, everyone knows everyone.  Many have performed together.  They have done the same festival circuit.  Some have even been in bands together.  And so they have a joined history.  They are fellow musical brothers-in-arms.  Each knowing the path the other has walked. 

Also, I find that in general, musicians are fun.  And have a real passion for what they do.  They’d have to.  Because lovely though the music was that the artists all made, it is very hard for an SA musician to be financially independent and secure.  And so for many of them, the festival was a bit of a break from reality.  Perhaps a way to supplement a regular income, because most still had regular jobs.  This was a glorious little sojourn from the rigours of real life.  A brief golden snippet in time.  Apart from that, few would be able to resist the allure of the party atmosphere in the whole of Grahamstown.  A paid holiday of sorts sounded great.  The musos were generally all happy, fun, relaxed, jovial and in a party mood.

If one can generalise people and rather unkindly put them into little boxes, then there are certain obvious boxes that can be used as a classification system.  The go-getter type, extremely competitive guy, is often referred to as the classic “Type A” personality.  You know the type.  We all know them.  Some of us are even them.  Then you have the slightly more sedate, relaxed type of person.  Not quite as driven.  Not quite as passionate and maybe they’re referred to as “Type B” personalities.  Well musicians?  They have their very own classification system all together.  Maybe they’re all “Type C Minor”, or “Type F Sharp”.  Just a little bit different.  One and all.  Basically, lots of them are big kids.  Big kids indulging in their favourite hobby – making music.  How could they not be jolly and happy?

A few things stand out for me, with regards to the musicians.  Amongst them was Sipho Hotstix Mabuse.  Such a great performer.  A consummate gentleman and a real class act.  He was refined and elegant.  Eloquent too.  He came with a simply huge supporting band.  A whole horn section, a few guys on guitars.  A rhythm section – not just a drummer.  And most of his musicians, were simple folk and had never really travelled or been exposed to the great big world out there.  Nor had they stayed in proper accommodation either.  They were essentially rural.  And when these grown men, were shown their accommodation, they ran right through the house, exclaiming loudly, flicking light switches on and off.  Opening and closing taps.  The novelty of running water and electricity incredible for them and such a huge treat.  Their delight palpable.

Another memory, was the time Linky and I embarked on a so called excursion to hand out flyers at the market.  We kinda lied.  The flyer bit was just our ruse, to escape the office for a while and mill about at the market.  Still, whilst perusing all on display, we still did do our fair share of handing out flyers too.  In fact we were pretty enthusiastic whilst we did it.  Engaging with people, telling them all about it and trying to convince them to come.  And so, in our quest, we once more handed out a flyer to an unsuspecting gentleman, giving him the whole big spiel.  And on this occasion, the gentleman in question, took a hold of the flyer, glanced down at it in his hand and said, "I'm playing there tonight".  Oops!  And that was the first time I met Louis Mhlanga.

Part of Maggie’s deal with each band and crew member, was that apart from providing them with accommodation for the duration of their stay, she would provide each and every person associated with the Blues Rock Festival with one square meal a day.  This alone would be a mammoth task.  How could it be done?  Most of the crew members, including Team Frost, Roadies, Sound Engineers, etc. stayed on the farm.  But the bulk of the musicians were booked into houses and B&B’s all over town.  The logistics were quite daunting.  And then the solution, all of a sudden seemed rather obvious after all.  Maggie made an arrangement with the one and only local Spur in town, to feed her people.  Obviously at her cost.  And so each and every person was issued with one R40 meal voucher a day.  A meal voucher that could be cashed in for anything on the Spur’s menu that amounted to R40.  Obviously if you wanted to order a more expensive meal, you were free to do just that, provided that you paid in the difference.  And let me tell you, that R40 was most generous back then.  It allowed for a burger, chips, onion rings and cold drink.  We were all super chuffed with the agreement.  How exciting and novel.  However, after day five….. I never wanted to see a Spur onion ring again.  By day seven, I never even wanted to set foot in the place.  Even the smell, just from walking in through the doors, made my stomach churn a little bit.  Still, the idea was such a cool one.  At the beginning.  On day one.

I loved how the musicians also seemed like one big happy family too.  How they all genuinely got along really well.  How they partied and jolled and kuiered long into the night after each and every gig.  So happy to just take it all in and squeeze every last little drop of goodness out of each event.  How chuffed they were with all they received.  How they put their hearts and souls into every single performance.

Because the fans could feel that vibe and that energy.  They fed off it too.  And that was the magic of the Blues Rock Festival.

From the people, the organisers, the musicians, the barmen and ladies, the roadies, the soundies, the admin people, the door chicks, in fact every single person there – they had passion.  They loved that they were there and they gave it that all.

Grahamstown Blues Rock Festivals – you rocked my world.  And that of many others too.  Thanx Frank, Maggie and Edgar from Martell.  For the great gift you gave us all.  The gift of magical musical memories.

And just for the record, I recovered from my Spur aversion rather quickly.  We stopped off for a Cheddamelt burger on the way home again after the festival …..  On day ten?

Blues Rock Poster from '99 - signed by all

Blues Rock '96

Back of a t-shirt

The logo for the 1996 Festival

We all still have our 1999 Blues Rock Festival sweaters. They were absolute keepsakes and Grant wears his often.

The 1996 line-up and performance times

In 1996, Frank lined all the artists up outside the Rhodes Building, for a joint muso's pic.  It was rather funny.  And when I glanced to my left, I saw this bunch of "photographers" taking videos of it all.  One of my very best pics.

Frank directing all as to exactly where he wanted them.

And there they are - The Performers of the Grahamstown Martell Blues Rock Festival 1996

Our Albert on stage

David Poole - he played with Albert in their first school band, called The Fauves.  The Fauves later changed into Dorp, who were performing at Grahamstown.  David is one half of the magical Gold Fish Duo.

Inside the Rhodes Building - crowd having a blast

Valiant Swart doing his thing

Katrine monkeying around back stage with Dylan and friends from Dorp

I'm guessing those mugs didn't contain coffee or tea...

Dorp was crazy on stage.  In this pic, Piet is cutting Dylan's hair, live on stage, whilst they're busy performing.  Really out there!  (No, Piet is and was not a hairdresser.  Nor did he possess any hairdressing skills.  As could be witnessed after the performance.)

Ampie Omo from Boo - they were just such fun to watch.  Their own unique sounding music, dubbed Monkeypunk was contagious.  And as for their stage presence?  They were mesmerising.

Anton Goosen - brought along his own sense of style

My uncle Jac, with Mick from "Mick & Nick"

I simply loved watching Sugardrive - they had such a cool vibe

View from the back of the stage

Just Jinger were just about to hit the big time - just look how young they all were.  And no, they never had a female vocalist in their band - posing with them for the pic, is my aunt - Bettie.

My favourites!!!  The Blues Broers - yes, yes, I know.  I am ever so slightly biased.

Chris Chameleon from Boo - his outfits were legendary.  Such a wacky, crazy, loony look - still it worked like a charm.


The Honemoon Suites - they took kooky to a whole new level - such a cool band to watch.  Highly entertaining and just plain simply weird.

Piet Botha and Jack Hammer

Just Jinger

Karma amidst the smoke

One of my very favourites - Koos Kombuis - such a legend

Chris Letcher and Matthew van der Want - I loved these guys.  Their music is beautiful!

The Van der Want and Letcher Combo once more

Edgar, Maggie and the venue manager back stage

Wonderboom - I've heard an old story about them.  That of the members, one is the wonder and the rest of them are the boom.  In fact, I've heard it often and it always makes me laugh.  They have incredible energy and Martin reminds me a bit of Flea from the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Mick & Nick


Back stage antics - if only those couches could talk

The Springbok Nude Girl - and the crowd goes wild.  Arno screaming into the microphone as only he can.

Back stage relaxing - a whole bunch of muso's all together.  Just chilling and having fun.

View from the back of the stage during a Springbok Nude Girls set.  The crowd quite simply goes ballistic.  The guys in black, are bouncers/crew, attempting to hold the surging crowd at bay and away from the musicians.  The oke on the very left is my Grantie.  They were physically shattered after a gig like this, just from the constant pushing of the crowd and having to force them right back again.

My Daya!!!

Sons of Trout - they were fabulous

Aaaaahhh!!!  The one and only Squeal.  I was simply in love with their music.  In fact, I still just adore it to this day.  We were just the biggest fans.  And what amazingly, humble, genuinely likeable, nice guys.

My beloved Squeal once more

The Usual performing

The usual - a bunch of nice guys too

Now these guys are huge.  SA music royalty if you like.  And what an incredible duo they made - Vusi Mahlasela and Louis Mhlanga.  Solid gold.

The crazy guys from Wonderboom

The Zap Dragons

The Blues Broers, emulating their idols, The Blues Brothers.  Driving through the streets of Grahamstown on the back of a bakkie.  Loudspeaker in hand, announcing their gig, whilst Albert plays the guitar, Doc John shakes the maracas and Rob plays the harmonica.  Legendary.  Such style I love it!

Sometimes, just sometimes, the music is just too good.  The alcohol too.  And a little rest is required.  Some might call it passing out.  And so, we covered this hapless fan and left her to sleep it off.  Such a pity as she missed much of the music.

Inside the venue after a gig. The term carnage comes to mind.  As well as the word, "savages".  Insane!