Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music

Johnny's Cash and Charley's Pride: Lasting Legends and Untold Adventures in Country Music

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781940611709
Publisher: Spring House Press
Publication date: 04/25/2017
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 681,906
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Peter Cooper is an award-winning musician and respected music journalist. He is the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum’s Senior Director, Producer, and Writer, and a senior lecturer in country music at Vanderbilt University’s Blair School of Music. He is a Grammy-nominated music producer, and a songwriter whose works have been recorded by John Prine, Bobby Bare, Jim Lauderdale, and others. He has appeared on The Tonight Show and The Late Show with David Letterman and was, along with the like of the Kings of Leon and financial guru Dave Ramsey, named one of Nashville's "10 Most Interesting People" by Nashville Arts & Entertainment magazine.

Peter Guralnick has written extensively on American music and musicians. His most recent book, "Sam Phillips: The Man Who Invented Rock 'n' Roll" , was a New York Times best-seller and a Washington Post Notable Non-Fiction pick for 2015. His other books include the prize-winning Elvis Presley two-part biography "Last Train to Memphis" and "Careless Love"; the acclaimed trilogy on American roots music, "Sweet Soul Music", "Lost Highway" and "Feel Like Going Home"; the biographical inquiry "Searching for Robert Johnson"; the novel "Nighthawk Blues"; and "Dream Boogie", a biography of Sam Cooke. He splits his time between Nashville and Massachusetts.

Table of Contents

• Foreword by Peter Guralnick
• Introduction
• Chapter 1 Beginnings
Aside: A Tender Lie
• Chapter 2 Innovation Begat Tradition
Aside: Bill Monroe Weighs In
• Chapter 3 A Memphis Flash, A Nashville Sound
Aside: Elvis Plays the Opry
• Chapter 4 Kris Kristopherson, The Going Up
Aside: A Hairy-Legged Town
• Chapter 5 Merle Haggard and David Olney, Wise Men
Aside: More Advice
• Chapter 6 Storytelling
Aside: A Big Sadness
• Chapter 7 Some Stuff You Mostly Don’t Hear
Aside: Tim Carroll’s Business Plan
• Chapter 8 The End of the Line
Aside: Ol’ Brother Merle
• Chapter 9 A Short Strange Trip with Porter Wagoner
Aside: Opry Banter
• Chapter 10 Merle Haggard and the Door to Hope
Aside: Tommy Collins’ Funnies
• Chapter 11 Don Light and the Impossibility of Unscrambling Eggs
Aside: From Don Light
• Chapter 12 Taylor Swift and the Hybrid Art of Understanding
Aside: Shel Silverstein, Hyena Genius
• Chapter 13 Jimmy Martin, Hotshot with a Teardrop in his Eye
Aside: Bus Ruined Bluegrass
• Chapter 14 Loretta Lynn, The Anti-Poet
Aside: Loretta and Ernest
• Chapter 15 Lloyd Green, and Significant Steel
Aside: Lloyd Green and Mike Auldridge
• Chapter 16 Requiem for a Short Bitch
Aside: The Mayor of East Nashville
• Chapter 17 “Hello, I’m Johnny Cash”
Irish Bar, Jacksonville, Florida
• Chapter 18 George Jones: Walk Through this World with Me

• Chapter 19 Which is the Last One, So This Is Really An Afterword

Preface

Peter Cooper has always been in the mix. Who else do you know that would begin a career in music journalism focusing not just on musicians of the moment but loudly championing the resourcefulness and originality of such otherwise unsung artists as Pink Anderson, a medicine show entertainer and street singer from Spartanburg, South Carolina, where Peter began writing for a living in his early twenties. That’s how I originally met Peter, through his first book, Hub City Music Makers, published in 1997, a remarkable chronicle of the many contributions, both well- and little known, that Spartanburg artists like the Marshall Tucker Band and, yes, Pink Anderson have made to the American musical landscape.
Peter’s new book, a chronicle of his peripatetic travels since arriving in Nashville in 2000 to cover the country music scene for the Nashville Tennessean, is even more remarkable for its ongoing determination to perpetuate that same mix of fame and obscurity, with little regard for the advantages or disadvantages of either.
Peter has always celebrated both intimacy and authenticity, two qualities that don’t always get along. A confident chronicler, and perhaps as a result the recipient of many confidences, he has added appreciably to the luster and mystery of such well-burnished legends as Merle Haggard and George Jones that you may think you’re already thoroughly familiar with (you’ll soon discover you’re not) – but wait’ll you read his accounts of lesser-known and multi-generational figures like Tommy Collins and singer-songwriter David Olney and….Well, all I can say is you’re in for a treat.
Whoever he is writing about, Peter has always celebrated the virtues of individualism, idealism, and existential wit. A familiar of such Falstaffian figures as “Cowboy” Jack Clement and Merle Kilgore, he offers brilliant, and funny, portrayals of their magnificent eccentricities without ever showing a hint of condescension – and without ever failing to suggest the depths of perception, insight and regret that may well lie underneath. The overall tale that he tells, however divagacious it may be (and it is divagacious in an unself-consciously Shandean way) is at its heart a gloriously romantic story, written in the same cool-breezy manner that Cowboy brought to his tragically truncated, unpublished memoir, which offered as a credo, “When all else fails, get lucky. But don’t forget to say your prayers, and always be a true believer.”
There are gems on every page. Here is David Olney musing on the perils of the search for fortune and fame. “Here’s the thing. Not a lot of people like my shit. But the people that do – I’m the only place they can get it. If they don’t come hear me, they’re not going to get the shit they like. I’ve got a monopoly on my shit.” Or listen to Don Light, one of the most inspired thinkers, aphorists, and multi-taskers you’re ever likely to meet (he was at one time or another drummer on the Grand Ole Opry, head of the Nashville office of Billboard, manager/discoverer of Jimmy Buffet, originator of the concept of professional booking in gospel music, and in his later life champion of nouveau bluegrass). “I’ve never had an original idea,” he declared with typical (and unwarranted) self-deprecation). “What I’ve been able to do is see something working in one area and realize it could be applied to another area. If you can find a need and fill it, you’ve probably got a job.” Where can you get a more succinct definition of the music business (or any other business, for that matter) than that?
For me Don Light is the heart of this book. But so is Jack Clement with his own freshly minted adages (“Remember, boys, we’re in the fun business. If we’re not having fun, we’re not doing our jobs”) and Shakespearean allusions, not to mention virtuosic philosopher and steel guitarist Lloyd Green. They are, from my point of view, the book’s emotional core. But I don’t know. If I were to stick with that, what would I do with Jimmy Martin, the King of Bluegrass, or Earl Scruggs’ business-minded wife, Louise, or the late, lamented Ann Soyars, early champion of Chris Stapleton and self-described as “the ‘Short Bitch’ at the door” of Nashville’s own bluegrass capital of the world, the Station Inn? Or how could I leave out Chris Stapleton, for that matter, or Taylor Swift (yes, Taylor Swift – definitely), or Kris Kristofferson? The answer is, I couldn’t. And you will have your own preferences, to be sure. So take your pick. But you don’t really have to linger on it too long in this far-ranging and lightly-treading book. If you don’t like what you’re reading on this page, or you’re hungering for something more, don’t worry, it’s just around the corner.
In the end Peter defines both his own and his book’s intentions best. “I was writing about connection, longing, regret, and pain,” he declares, with reference to a story on Guy Clark. “I was doing so with a chuckle line, but it was a chuckle line that got to something deeper.” Or, perhaps even more to the point: “I am here to say that objectivity is the mortal enemy. Objectivity is dispassionate. And we’re in the passion business.”
Or as Don Light said on more than one occasion if he wanted to bestow what he considered to be the supreme compliment: “You know, our little community could really use more individuals like that,” he would say of, or to, someone he was convinced was inclined to measure the world in broader terms than their own. I’m sure he said it to Peter Cooper on more than one occasion. He certainly said it to me about Peter. And it’s true.

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