Laura at Laura’s Miscellaneous Musings mentioned in a post sometime back in mid-July about a new country single that’s been released by Larry Gatlin and The Gatlin Brothers, Johnny Cash is Dead and His House Burned Down. I got an opportunity to listen to it this morning (downloaded it in mp3 form) and I have to say it’s a first-rate little ditty. Very different from the usual Gatlin style—a rockabilly number that has a lyric I can certainly identify with: “I got nothin’ against the young country stars/But I could use more fiddles and steel guitars…” (Tell me about it, son. I get the feelin’ that if George Strait ever packs it in the country music charts will resemble a tumbleweed-inhabiting ghost town—I mean, when Darius “Hootie” Rucker hits the top of the charts with his third single you know things are a bit sad in Nashville.)
Laura describes herself as a Gatlin devotee, and I, too, was a big fan of their music—though I prefer a lot more of their earlier tunes: Statues Without Hearts, I’ve Done Enough Dyin’ Today, Love is Just a Game, and I Just Wish You Were Someone I Love are a few just from the top of my head. I’d be surprised if this new tune gets any airplay but then brothers Larry, Steve, and Rudy always did stir up trouble in the past with radio programmers (I’m referring to their infamous 1980 recording Midnight Choir—a song I never could understand what all the fuss was about). Gatlin had an arrogance about him that kind of rankled many of his peers; when someone asked why he was reluctant to record anyone’s songs but his own he famously replied: “I’d rather take my daughter to the zoo than yours.” However you felt about him, you couldn’t deny he was a top-notch songwriter; in addition to his own hits (seventeen of which hit the Top 10, with three Number Ones) he penned hits for the likes of Elvis Presley (Help Me) and Johnny Rodriguez (If Practice Makes Perfect, I Just Can’t Get Her Out of My Mind). Here’s hoping somebody big in country radio programs Johnny Cash in heavy rotation.
Speaking of once-popular country artists, when I first signed up with Facebook I “became” a fan of Gene Watson (I put became in quotes because I’ve always been a Watson fan) and this is kind of neat because he “tweets” messages to his fans every now and then about where his next appearance is, how his latest album is coming along, etc. I’ve noticed that a lot of celebs have their own Facebook pages and accounts but the one that I really thought was unusual was that for some reason I kept getting a suggestion to “friend” Harley Jane Kozak, an actress who appeared in quite a few notable films (Parenthood, Arachnophobia) but who I always associate with a Guiding Light storyline from long ago (she played a character named “Annabelle”). I couldn’t figure out why she kept popping up under friend suggestions; I’m pretty sure we don’t travel in the same social circles and I thought it would be rather presumptuous to ask if she would add me to her Friends List because it goes without saying my reputation is not without its unsavory aspects. She’s gone now, but that doesn’t mean I still don’t think about what caused that every now and then.