Friday, January 03, 2020

Happy Birthday To You-Back In Good Ole Boy (And Girl) Television Days- “The Ozark Jubilee”

Happy Birthday To You-

By Lester Lannon

I am devoted to a local folk station WUMB which is run out of the campus of U/Mass-Boston over near Boston Harbor. At one time this station was an independent one based in Cambridge but went under when their significant demographic base deserted or just passed on once the remnant of the folk minute really did sink below the horizon.

So much for radio folk history except to say that the DJs on many of the programs go out of their ways to commemorate or celebrate the birthdays of many folk, rock, blues and related genre artists. So many and so often that I have had a hard time keeping up with noting those occurrences in this space which after all is dedicated to such happening along the historical continuum.

To “solve” this problem I have decided to send birthday to that grouping of musicians on an arbitrary basis as I come across their names in other contents or as someone here has written about them and we have them in the archives. This may not be the best way to acknowledge them, but it does do so in a respectful manner.    

A YouTube's film clip of Sonny James performing his 1957 classic "Young Love". Who said technology isn't great.

DVD Review

Hillbillies On TV: The Ozark Jubilee, various artists including host Red Foley, Brenda Lee and “Young Love” by Sonny James, Stamper Records, 1957

Okay, okay laugh at me. What is a certified urban-dwelling boy who gets nervous when he cannot see the bright lights of the city nearby , or the road is not macadam, doing reviewing some Podunk black and white television show featuring Red Foley, Brenda Lee and Rex Allen? That bill of fare is not exacting The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, The Doors and a host of other musicians that I have reviewed in this space.

Well let me say this first for all you “effete” snobs. Many years ago I used to listen to a radio program on Saturday mornings called “Hillbilly At Harvard”. That program featured many of the artists like Norman Blake, June Carter, Townes Van Zandt and a host of iconic figures in mountain music, outlaw country music, folk and other genres that are “hip” today. So to paraphrase an old cliché what is good enough for Harvard is good enough for this reviewer. Got it?

Seriously, though, I picked up this DVD as part of the continuing string of reviews that I have been doing highlighting the mountain music traditions that are part of my heritage that I had previously scorned. However, like many things, not all “mountain” music and musicians are created equal. That, sadly, is the case here as the performances and chitchat of this country variety show format, for the most part, set my teeth on edge. There are two exceptions, one is the performance of a rapid fire traditional banjo player whose name I do not remember and the other is hearing Sonny James doing his 1950s teen hit classic, “Young Love”. Should you get this thing? NO, except the old time commercials for Beechnut gum and Clorets for you breathe seemed really quaint against today’ s high-powered subliminally sex and power -driven attempts to interest you in some product. When I am mentioning the virtues of the commercials I think that tells the tale on this one.

Note: I usually, particularly for the old black and white productions whose graininess and almost amateur production values by today’s standards are part of the visual charm for me, do not comment on the technical quality of a film. However, on this one the lack of quality definitely interfered with the flow of the work.

"Young Love"-Sonny James

They say for every boy and girl there's just one love in this old world
And I know I've found mine
The heavenly touch of your embrace tells me no one can take your place
Ever in my heart
Young love first love filled with true devotion
Young love our love we share with deep emotion

[ guitar ]

Just one kiss from your sweet lips will tell me that your love is real
And I can feel that it's true
We will vow to one another there will never be another
Love for you or for me
Young love first love...

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