Monday, July 28, 2008

The "Original" Sweetheart Of The Rodeo - UPDATED!

One of the things I like to do here at Setting The Woods On Fire is to compile what I call the "original" version of well-known cover albums.

It's no secret that The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo was an important album in the development of country rock. (Read about it here, here, and here.) But you might be surprised to learn that nine of the eleven songs were covers.

Listening to earlier versions of the songs covered by The Byrds, along with two originals written by then-member Gram Parsons, gives you a pretty good idea what the band was thinking when it created Sweetheart. It also shows how much of their own unique style The Byrds contributed to these songs.

1. You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere - Bob Dylan (buy)
2. I Am A Pilgrim - Merle Travis (buy)
3. The Christian Life - The Louvin Brothers (buy)
4. You Don’t Miss Your Water - William Bell (buy)
5. You’re Still On My Mind – George Jones (buy)
6. Pretty Boy Floyd - Woody Guthrie (buy)
7. Hickory Wind - The Byrds (buy Sweetheart Of The Rodeo)
8. 100 Years From Now - The Byrds (buy alternate version)
9. Blue Canadian Rockies - Hank Snow (out of print?)
10. Life In Prison - Merle Haggard (buy)
11. Nothing Was Delivered - Bob Dylan & The Band (buy)

[Note: The alternate take of 100 Years From Now is the original take using Gram Parsons' vocals, as opposed to Roger McGuinn's, which appear on the official release. Also, the Merle Travis and Hank Snow songs here are not the first recorded versions, just ones I liked better.]


Reader Eric points out that I should have used the Basement Tapes version of You Ain't Goin' Nowhere, which is the version The Byrds would have heard. Read his comment! Also on Eric's suggestion, I'm posting Otis Redding's excellent version of You Don't Miss Your Water:

Bob Dylan – You Ain’t Goin’ Nowhere (Basement Tapes version) (buy)
Otis Redding – You Don’t Miss Your Water (buy)

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Guest Post at Cover Lay Down

Hey folks, please check out my Hank Williams-themed guest post over at Cover Lay Down.

[Click Here!]

Which reminds me that I haven’t posted a Hank song in quite awhile. Check out Hank’s versions of some of the songs I posted over at CLD:

Hank Williams – Wedding Bells
Hank Williams – Let’s Turn Back The Years
Hank Williams – The Devil’s Train
Hank Williams – Why Don’t You Love Me?

(buy album)

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Sassy Country Gal

Are you looking for a spunky female country singer from the 1950's who made great music but never became a household name? Well, look no further. Charline Arthur is your gal.

Charline Arthur – He Fiddled While I Burned
Charline Arthur – Burn The Candle
Charline Arthur – (I'm In Love With) Someone's Used To Be

Buy Welcome To The Club.

Here's a nice blurb about Charline from AMG:

Charline Arthur didn't play by the rules. During the '50s, country music wasn't particularly receptive to rowdy, racy material sung by females, much less one who refused to submit to the orders of her record company or promoters. No matter how much pressure Arthur received, she didn't change her ways. With a raging temper, she was difficult to work with, particularly angering her producer, Chet Atkins. Nevertheless, her music was frequently impressive. In some ways, Arthur was a forerunner of rockabilly, with her bluesy, raw hillbilly music and her wild stage shows. She was the first female singer in country music to perform in pants and she used the extra freedom to prowl the stage. While her career was extremely brief — she recorded for RCA for three years — her music gained a cult following over the years, as proved by the appearance of Bear Family's Welcome to the Club compilation in 1986.

-Stephen Thomas Erlewine

For further study, make sure you go to

I also recommend reading the customer reviews at Amazon.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Jazz 101: Thelonious Monk With John Coltrane

Thelonious Monk & John Coltrane - Ruby, My Dear (buy)

Both Thelonious Monk and John Coltrane were brilliant jazz musicians, and their talents meshed well together. This album, Thelonious Monk with John Coltrane, is pure genius. The featured track, Ruby, My Dear, is deliciously good.

This one, called Off Minor, really highlights Monk's angular, slightly crazy, yet alluring style of composing.

Thelonious Monk - Off Minor (buy)

The sax part on Off Minor is played by Coleman Hawkins.

Get it while supplies last.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Ernest Tubb Plays Chuck Berry

Ernest Tubb - Thirty Days (buy)

Early rock'n'roll owed a lot to country music. And vice versa. Take this Chuck Berry hit from 1955 (#2 on US R&B chart), replace Chuck's vocals with Ernest Tubb's, replace Chuck's guitar with Billy Byrd's (not to mention "Half Moon" Bradley's* piano and Tommy Jackson's fiddle), and you've got yourself a great country record.

* Tubb jokingly referred to producer Owen Bradley as "Half Moon" because he only played halfway like Moon Mullican

Friday, July 18, 2008

Drinkin' Brew For Breakfast?

Kris Kristofferson - Sunday Mornin' Comin' Down (buy)
The Clash - Rudie Can't Fail (buy)
The Replacements - Beer For Breakfast (buy)

What kind of beer do you prefer for breakfast?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Time Changes Everything

Tompall Glaser – Time Changes Everything (buy)

Here’s Tompall Glaser’s take on one of my all-time favorite songs out of the Texas Playboy’s catalog. This one was penned by the late, great Tommy Duncan. Tompall’s band starts out playing it fairly straight, but finishes with a soulful instrumental flourish.


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Summer Slow Down

Lazy Days

I've got a lot of non-blogging activities planned for the next couple of months, so things are going to be kind of slow around here for awhile. The first thing on my "to do" list is get in some canoeing Up North.

Get The Feed!

The best way to keep track of my few scattered posts here (and to monitor all of your favorite blogs) is to subscribe to the feed. The STWOF feed looks like this. To have the feed automatically sent to your computer, you need to sign up for a free, web-based, feed reader (like this). Then, whenever one of your favorite blogs has a new post, it will appear as a message in your reader. To quickly check on all of your blogs, just go to the reader to see if anything new has come in. From there you can click on a direct link to the new post. It's the best way to enjoy music blogs!

An easy way to get started would be to click on the "subscribe" button in the sidebar.

Country Lovefeed

Another feed worth getting is my "Country Lovefeed," which uses the Hype Machine search feature to create a feed of classic country music from across the web. You can also view the Country Lovefeed by clicking on the singing cowboy in the sidebar. To subscribe just type "" into your reader.

(Note: The Country Lovefeed is a work in progress. If you want me to add some more artists to the search, just drop me a line and I'll think about it.)

And Now For Some Music

Here are three great posts from around the world of music blogs: (1) Johnny Cash with the Carter Family (Live), (2) Bob Dylan in his prime, and (3) the amazing Clarence White. Check 'em out!

Speaking of Clarence White, here's a great track from Paul Siebel's second album featuring Clarence on guitar:

Paul Siebel – Pinto Pony (buy)

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Jazz 101: Dexter Gordon - Three O'Clock In The Morning

Dexter Gordon – Three O’Clock In The Morning (buy)

Tenor Saxophonist Dexter Gordon’s best album, Go, closes with this accessible tune. His playing is quite lyrical on this one, sounding almost vocal in parts. Definitely one worth owning if you're interested in getting into jazz.

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Shady Grove at Nine Bullets

One of these days I meant to do a post about the old song Shady Grove. Luckily, the excellent Nine Bullets blog beat me to it. So now I just have to point you over there.

For a whole mess of Shady Groves and the story of its history, check out the post at Nine Bullets.

And here's one more version, from The Blood Oranges, that escaped the Nine Bullets list:

The Blood Oranges - Shady Grove (buy).

This is the first version of Shady Grove that I ever heard:

The band in this clip is The Dillards.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

A man in Kentucky sure is lucky . . .

Last week's theme at Star Maker Machine was the fifty states.

Going through my “state” songs, I wasn't surprised to see that Texas, California, Georgia, Alabama, and Tennessee inspired more than their fair share of good songs. Another top tier state, with a deep roster of quality tunes, is Kentucky.

The Bluegrass State has a great musical tradition. Notable Kentuckians include Bill Monroe, Loretta Lynn, and Tom T. Hall.

In addition to great music, Kentucky is also known for its bourbon, tobacco, horse racing, basketball, and fried chicken.

Sounds like a fellow could have a pretty good time there.

Anyway, here’s a Kentucky mix to enjoy with a nice bourbon over the rocks:

Dwight Yoakam – South Of Cincinnati (buy)
The Gosdin Brothers – Bowling Green (buy)
Emmylou Harris – Blue Kentucky Girl (buy)
Bill Monroe – Blue Moon Of Kentucky (buy)
Bill Monroe – Kentucky Waltz (buy)
Loretta Lynn – Coal Miner’s Daughter (buy)
The Louvin Brothers - Kentucky (buy)
Merle Travis – Kentucky Means Paradise (buy)
Merle Haggard – Kentucky Gambler (buy)
The Kinks – Kentucky Moon (buy)
Randy Newman – Old Kentucky Home (buy)
The Osborne Brothers – My Old Kentucky Home (buy)
Jann Brown - Louisville (buy)
Tom T. Hall – I Flew Over Our House Last Night (buy)
Ralph Stanley & Dwight Yoakam – Miner’s Prayer (buy)
Jimmie Davis – Roll Along, Kentucky Moon (buy)

For more state songs, check out Divinyl's excellent, and growing, list at Ceci N'est Pas un Blog.

Friday, July 04, 2008

STWOF Fourth of July Mix

Before I take the family over to mom and dad’s for a BBQ, here's a 4th of July mix:

Mickey Newbury – An American Trilogy (buy album)
Albert Brooks – Phone Call To Americans (out of print)
Merle Haggard – The Fightin’ Side Of Me (buy album)
X – 4th Of July (Demo) (buy album)
MC5 – Back In The USA (buy album)
Frank Sinatra – The House I Live In (Live) (buy album)
Townes Van Zandt – Ballad Of Ira Hayes (Live) (buy album)
Paul Simon – American Tune (Unfinished Demo) (buy album)
Tom Petty – American Girl (buy album)
Billy Joe Shaver – Good Ol’ USA (buy album)
The Hollies – 4th Of July, Asbury Park (Sandy) (buy album)

Thursday, July 03, 2008

He's seen the hawk fly high to hail the setting sun.

The Smoke – My Friend Jack (buy album)

This song by The Smoke is stuck in my head right now.

Has been all week.

What song gets stuck in your head?