Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Good Man Gone To Waste

This song is called "I Never Go Around Mirrors"

It's a good day when I discover an artist from the '50s who has dozens of perfect 2 minute songs about heartache and drinking in sawdust-floor bars. Lefty Frizzell (how is that pronounced?) understood the nature of Honky Tonk music: simple, singable, short, low budget, timeless. These songs are 60 years old and if someone rerecorded every one of them today only old country fans would know it.
I'm trying to collect all the western swing songs that I like into a fakebook arrangement book that I can carry around and copy and give to all the house bands that I meet. One of the songs is "Old old man tryin' to live while I can" It's a perfect song for the grey hair crowd I knew in La Paz. Merle Haggard recorded it and I was looking into who wrote it and I think Lefty Frizzell did while he was still young (he died aged 47). And then I learned he recorded it and enough songs for a 10 disc box set...all of them priceless tunes in the style of Patsy Cline and Hank Williams Sr.

While Hank Williams and Hank Thompson and Bob Wills are members of the Western Swing elite, for some reason Frizzell never entered my radar. Probably because this is a recent fetish for me. One thing I will note that others have said before me, Frizzell's recordings are amazing because he manages to sing the word "lie" with about 4 syllables. You go listen to his recordings and you'll see what I mean. Everything is sung in slow motion like it's all one long word. But it's all in my range.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.