Ken Burns Country Music Documentary

Discussion in 'Bad Dog Cafe' started by Kirchensfan, Sep 14, 2019.

  1. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    I am halfway through and I am really enjoying it although the biases and omissions are becoming glaring. I've really only read a few books on the subject, and the doc is hitting the high notes and "big stories" for sure, and I'm realizing that I knew more than I thought. I actually don't think they overdid Hank's part, and that episode wasn't entirely devoted to him at all. His influence now is much greater than his very-great influence in his lifetime, which makes a good argument for giving his story a decent amount of screen time.
    My wife is watching with me and is enjoying the music. All of the stories are new to her and she is fascinated. The doc was meant more for her (casual music fan) than for me (country fan + history buff), but I'm still getting a lot.
     
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  2. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Old habits die hard apparently.
     
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  3. Middleman

    Middleman Friend of Leo's

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    I've always wanted to know about the emergence of country music and it's early beginnings. It really parallels the emergence of recording technology. All those genres of hillbilly music and traditional folk music captured and turned into the recording industry of the late 20s and early 30s. I have to say that Hank Williams is an ethereal character across the landscape of country music. He seems apart yet in front of the backdrop of all the people in country at that time. Such a lonely character start to finish but a gifted songwriter.

    A couple of revelations for me was that Elvis Presley cratered the country music recording business in his early years. Seems all the kids moved on and their was really low record sales for traditional type music. Also that Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard and possibly Buck Owens kind of turned things around in that era. Last of all, that Minnie Pearl was actually a wealthy socialite.

    Really a fascinating piece of film work. I have a greater appreciation for the industry and talent represented there. Sorry to see what country has become today, an amalgamation of rock and rap which really parodies what country was.
     
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  4. tfarny

    tfarny Friend of Leo's

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    Well, Hank Williams really was not "apart from" country music at all - it's that he has become the archetype for the singer-songwriter, "classic country" music, and finally the rock n roll lifestyle. None of which was he the first nor the last example of.

    Also, it's certainly true that country today is "not what it was" - but it's never really been a static thing. Go back and listen to the late 50's / early 60s Chet Atkins as-producer stuff - the era of "Crazy" - it's about as far from Hank and Lefty as today's stuff is. Nine To Five is a Disco song and there have always been lots of Pop Music With Hats songs out of Nashville. But there have been "good country" artists in every era just as there are today, they just take turns being on the main stage or not. Back in the day, a lot of people considered Willie & Waylon to be the death of "real" country music.
     
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  5. robt57

    robt57 Telefied Ad Free Member

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    Who else would like a dollar for every fret Marty Stuart probably wore off a Mando??
     
  6. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    That was pretty cool about Waylon being in the audience as a prisoner when Cash played the prison gigs.
     
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  7. SnidelyWhiplash

    SnidelyWhiplash Friend of Leo's

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    Merle...
     
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  8. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    Maybe that's what got me started. I had trouble the rest of the show; KK's songs really slayed me.

    Edit: oops, I can't remember now: are we both talking about the same episode? 6?
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2019
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  9. rad1

    rad1 Tele-Afflicted

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    Love it so far. I’ve been a country fan for many years, but it was the outlaws, Willie, Waylon and the boys, that brought me in.

    I’m learning something every episode. I love the segments on the female stars of country.
     
  10. adjason

    adjason Friend of Leo's

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    love the scene where dwight yokum tears up talking about Merle's lyrics, love the story of marty and his wife, love the kris kristoferson story, found the smearing of Johnny Cash in the newspaper and terms his wife and kids were called appalling and I feel like we have come a long way, love how the johnny cash show welcomed so many types of music. all told I really like it and was really glad to see bob mcdill pop up
     
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  11. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister

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    There’s a lot to like, and a lot more to dislike. Like his Jazz film, it’s peppered with interesting detail, but the General impression is that Burns and his crew aren’t much interested in the music. They’d much rather tell a lurid or tragic story, so in Jazz, the focus was on Charlie Parker, and in this one, it’s on Hank Williams. Granted, he was among the greatest of all country singer songwriters, but it would have been nice to hear more about his music.

    Similarly, we heard more about AP and Sarah Carter’s failed marriage than their music, and more about Johnny Cash’s amphetamine addiction and adultery than his music. There’s a section on George Jones and Tammy Wynette that dwells on dysfunction and alcohol, but never mentions “He Stopped Loving Her Today,” one of the greatest country songs of all time. We learn about various tragic deaths and divorces, but only a brief mention of Ray Price, whose career lasted over 60 years, and never had a drug or alcohol problem.
     
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  12. David Barnett

    David Barnett Doctor of Teleocity

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    A subject like this is sort of like a tree, the higher up you go the more branches there are. As we move forward in time, by necessity there will be more and more artists who get the short shrift, sacrificed to the overall narrative.
     
  13. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    This, admittedly, has been disappointing, especially considering that Ray Price's change to the 4/4 "country" beat was one of the primary and most lasting changes this genre ever underwent.
     
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  14. nojazzhere

    nojazzhere Poster Extraordinaire

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    Don't know the episode number, but it was on last night. (Monday)
    Not trying to defend Ken Burns, as such, but I wonder if his emphasis on some of the "lurid" bits, as well as the poverty and hard-scrabble lives, was as much trying to speculate on what drove many of these artists in their striving to become "something" (?)
    But you are right about He Stopped Loving Her Today.....I am NOT much of a country fan or authority, but that's one song that I expect has torn out the hearts of even country music haters.
     
  15. blowtorch

    blowtorch Telefied Ad Free Member

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    I've been watching what I've been able to catch, and digging it lots. Great to see our own madison native country music authority Bill Malone on there.

    I can say though, when Elvis Costello starts explaining Johhny Cash to me, I kinda blear over
     
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  16. E5RSY

    E5RSY Poster Extraordinaire

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    No doubt...:lol:
     
  17. davidge1

    davidge1 Friend of Leo's

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    Just to know that this washed up British rock singer from the 1970s / 80s is in this series lets me know that I don't need to watch it.

    I mean, couldn't they have gotten Bono?
     
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  18. DuckDodgers

    DuckDodgers Tele-Meister

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    He actually had less of interest to say on country music than did Wynton Marsalis.
     
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  19. fendrguitplayr

    fendrguitplayr Poster Extraordinaire

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    The early (very early) segments with Willie Nelson were exactly as he wrote about in his book. He couldn't
    sing, he knew it, and he didn't care and never did but his phrasing to this day is amazing.

    A little Django...

     
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  20. P Thought

    P Thought Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I see quite a few responses along the lines of "I'd have done it differently," especially when it comes to who is featured, how, and how much. I'm sure I would have done it differently too, but I didn't put together this particular 8-episode series; Ken Burns did. It's an impressive piece of work.
     
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