Last week I took a Facebook challenge: My task was to choose ten albums that greatly influenced my taste in music. One album per day for ten consecutive days. No explanations, no reviews, just album covers.
Cliff asked why I didn't include a Jerry Lee Lewis album, since we've had several of them and were crazy about Jerry's egotistical way of playing piano and singing. I told him Jerry Lee really never influenced me in any way... I just liked his music, that's all.
I didn't go by any certain order during the ten days I did this, I simply posted the first one that came to mind each day that had influenced either my taste in music or in some cases, the way I thought and felt about certain things. I had no trouble until today, the tenth day of posting an album cover, but while Gabe and I were taking our walk, the perfect choice came to mind. So without any further ado, I'll share my choices, and my reason for those choices.
This isn't the way our album looked, and this one was done in 1957; but it has the same songs that were on the album my mother bought around 1950-52. My parents didn't keep the radio playing all the time, and they never listened to the Grand Ole Opry, but they sang a lot around the house; and what they sang was usually old-fashioned hillbilly music and church songs. My first record player was a wind-up Victrola my parents bought at a one-room country school house that was closing its doors. Mother bought two record albums that I remember, the kind of albums that contained six 78 RPM records in sleeves, two songs on each record. There was one by George Morgan and one by Little Jimmy Dickens. I listened to the songs on each one, but it was Little Jimmy Dickens who had my heart: His songs were funny! My favorite was "Country Boy", with words that were quickly learned by heart. My favorite lines went like this: "Now every time the preacher came, Ma always fixed a chicken. If I reached for a drumstick, I was sure to get a licking'. She always saved two parts for me, but I had to shut my mouth: Twas the gizzard and the north end of a chicken flyin' south." I left country music in the 60's, but when I wanted to learn to chord on a guitar in the mid-60's so I could sing folk songs, I came back to the music of my childhood because most country songs were simple to chord to, they only had three chords. So I loved Little Jimmy Dickens from his youth, right up to the day he died at the age of 94. He is the artist who made me want to put a little humor in my stories and songs.
"Well, I was adopted then by another family of people that had a little more money and a little more everything, and was members of the very high and important lodges around over town, and they said it was a pity that so many of us had to live the way we did and not know where our next bite was coming from. So they said that in order to relieve me and the suffering of this family too that I was living with that they'd take me up to their house and I could live with them. So I went up and lived with them, and they had a little old bantam hen. It sat upon that icebox and roosted out there like she owned that whole part of town and my job, mainly, while I was living with that family of people, was to keep track of that cursed bantam hen. I'd have to go find her eggs, where she'd laid the egg, what time of day she'd laid the egg, bring the egg in; I'd sort the egg, lay the egg up, tell the lady about the egg, then go show her the hen, and then she'd go out and pet the hen. And then when night'd come again I'd have to go get the hen again and set her above the icebox to where she could be safe from all harm. And I used to carry her hay fourteen blocks across town from a table in a tall sack. I'd have to make a trip or two every month, by George, to get that hay for the bantam hen. So I thought well, hell's bells, rather than be a chambermaid to a bantam hen, ladies and gentlemen, I'm gonna take to the highways. So I went to Galveston, Texas. Went down to see the Gulf of Mexico and the ocean and all such stuff as that. And also, I knew some people down there and pulled figs in all them orchards down in that country and helped drill water wells and irrigated strawberries and helped a carpenter down there to tear down a whole bunch of houses and post a bunch of land off. And at that time, I was about eighteen."
I've taken up so much space on this entry, I'll have to my other five albums in a different entry.