.... as a youngun, I was a huge fan of Hank Williams Jr and Merle Haggard... not surprising, really... most of us yokels harbored desires to be the Southern Badboy when we grew up.. swilling hooch and chasing redneck women... telling the World and The Man exactly where they could kiss our ass... hey, what can I say?... we were aiming high back then...
... shocking, I know... but what stirs up this old memory?... well, we braved out into an unusually hot December evening and saw "Walk the Line" yesterday... the story of Johnny Cash and June Carter...yeah, I know that some were anxiously awaiting my review of "Pride and Prejudice", but I managed to swing a last-minute reprieve... and the Wife acquiesced to my pleadings at the first mention of Mr. Phoenix....
.. my take on the movie?... heroes are shattered... Johnny Cash.. Merle Haggard... Hank Jr... Waylon Jennings... they're all flawed.. sometimes deeply... but that's just it, isn't it?... we're drawn to their "art" by their weaknesses... their flaws and their humanity.... I heard it said once that to create great art, you had to be able to understand great suffering... well, after watching "Walk the Line", I believe it...
... the sad thing is, Johnny Cash had everything.. fame, fortune, and blowjobs from adoring bobby-soxers... but he drove himself into the ground because his Pa was an asshole... full of self-pity, the Great Man in Black had the backbone of slow-boiled Cajun shrimp.. at least according to the movie... it took June Carter straightening him up and stroking his ego to save him from oblivion...
... amazing... our heroes aren't eight feet tall and bullet-proof... well, imagine that.... they're people like you and I... which brings me to the title of this post... "Footlights"...
.. back in the day, one of my favorite songs... an angry, self-healing/self-loathing song.... but the whole idea of a Star getting angry at the crowd and kicking out the footlights mesmerized me... showering his adoring fans with jagged shards of glass while in a drunken rage... getting banned from the Opry... trying their best to alienate their fans... yet having the opposite effect... their fans simply seeing them as more flawed.. more human... and strangely, more of a Hero... the artiste with the pain...
.. it reminds me of the lyrics to an old Waylon Jennings song:
Hank Williams was the King of country soul.
My Dad took me to see him in Lubbock, but he didn't show.
Well the people got mad and they all went home.
And the first thing they did was put his records on.
I guess they should have left him alone and let him sing his song
... and, of course, the chorus from "Footlights"....
Tonight we'll kick the footlights out again
And try to hide the mood we're really in
Might not put on our old Instamatic grin
Tonight we'll kick the footlights out again
... that said, word up to some bloggers... I think it's about time to kick out some footlights...
on December 02, 2005
A Swift Kick & A Band-Aid
Walk the Line
I'm good with that..count me in. We're all heroes, some of us just get paid more than others. I think that is the true measure of a person...not whether or not they are flawed, because they are..but how they handle their flaws or even compensate for them.
I once paid good money to see Hank Jr. He was wasted, could not remember most of the lyrics to his songs. At one point they brought him a chair so he would not fall over. He did sit and pick out some blues on his guitar for about 15 minutes -- that was worth the admission price. Finally he took of his shirt, big old gut flapping, and belted out the entire song Kawlija to end the show. The performance was lousy.
Yep, we listened to him all the way home on the car stereo.
Oh...sorry... those were someone's shins... I don't have any footlights...
Haggard and Cash... heard more than once in my house as I'uz growning up.
I'll kick out some footlights with ya... hell, I'll kick out someone's lights, too, if ya wish.
I loved that Shooter Jennings played his Daddy in that movie. He has a great voice.
Merle Haggard..."Misery and Gin".....that song still moves me to tears.
Count me in as another blonde dying to hear a "Pride and Prejudice" review from you. LOL!
I read this and reflected on the years I wasted on houses and lots and wondered just why in the hell I didn't write a great song or some tortured poetry or an unreadable book that was acclaimed by the critics as the Great American Novel. Then it hit me right between the eyes. I was an untalented drunk, that's why. DAMN. If not for bad luck I would have none at all.
Disregard my last... Guinness in action.
I really gotta see Walk the Line - I like your review and I plan on doing my own after I see it but, I HAVE to see Aeon Flux first!
I go back farther and in another type of music. I can remember a friend dragging me off to a concert by the great Judy Garland at Wolf Trap. She was preceded by Peter Nero and the Step Brothers who were both great.
Forty-five minutes later Judy showed up at the back of the auditorium and got a standing ovation from the audience. They were standing on the seats for her. She was bombed out of her gourd. She got up on the stage and was singing and forgot the words. She said, shit, start again. They started again and she got another standing ovation. She said she was tired and just sat on the edge of the stage and then proceeded to sing her heart out. It was fantastic. She was her old self again. She could absolutely do no wrong. She nailed song after song. Then the encores ending up with Over the Rainbow. It was like she was back in 1939 singing it for the first time. The love of the audience was all she needed to work her magic. I have never ever seen anyone mesmerize an audience the way that drunken little woman did. She ended up killing herself with her lifestyle but when she was on, she was amazing. There was an electricity between her and the audience that was almost palpable. She didn't need light shows and backup dancers and singers and huge amplifiers. She just needed a microphone, a backing band and an audience and it was magic.
I think there are a few country artists who probably have that same affect. I would think Dolly Parton, Reba McIntire, and a few others would do it. Probably Bill Monroe and Flatts and Scruggs in their day would do this. Maybe it is because I am older that I feel this way but I wonder how many of the younger ones would be able to do the shows without all the paraphernalia and make it worth going to. I had hopes that the unplugged series would last and we could finally hear what the artists were able to do on their own but I think most of them are too scared to try it.