Usually by now here at Dubious Towers, the place would be awash with Christmas songs to brighten up your festivities.
But not this year. What with the impending doom of Brexit, and the ongoing gloom of Covid, I just don’t feel at all Christmassy.
The very sad death of Charley Pride last week did nothing to lighten my mood. And is if his death wasn’t bad enough, he died needlessly, from complications related to Covid-19. I say needlessly, because his last live performance was on 11 November 2020, a duet with the country singer Jimmie Allen, at the Country Music Awards in Nashville, an event where, as far as I have read, standard Covid-preventative measures like masks and social distancing were not observed.
Anyway. Charley was a ground-breaking Country artist without ever really trying. Back when he was trying to catch a break in the mid-60s, people didn’t know he was black from his voice, only realising when they turned up to see him in concert, by which time he’d got their money so they, mostly, figured they may as well stick around and watch him.
But race and colour were never things which Charley actively campaigned about, preferring to focus on the music and let others decide whether they wanted to listen. He always insisted that music knew no colour: “I never viewed country as white music,” he once said (although when he started out it undoubtedly was). “The songs were stories about the good times and bad that all people experienced.”
As it stands, this is probably going to be the only Christmas record I post this year:
Gawd bless you, Charley.
PS Given last night’s news about many areas of England going into Tier 4, and the reduction of the Christmas bubble from 5 days to 1, the irony of the title of this song is not lost on me.
Another legend has left us.
RIP Charley Pride.
2011 saw David Dondero release A Pre-Existing Condition, thirteen songs, nine of which were cover versions: amongst others there’s Lowell George’s Willin’, Elizabeth Cotton’s Freight Train, Neil Young’s Don’t Cry No Tears, and two by Charley Pride – Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’ and today’s selection.
Without question my favourite Pride song, Dondero does just enough to make it different from the original without ruining it:
David Dondero – (Is Anybody Going To) San Antone
Oh, go on then, compare and contrast if you like:
Charley Pride – Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone
They don’t name albums like that anymore.
OK, so now I do know what happened on “Super Saturday”.
I’m not going to comment. I’m pretty sure I’ll come back to it sooner or later.
Until then, I’ll just leave this here:
Charley Pride – Got Leavin’ on Her Mind
I’ve posted this one before, a long time ago, but there was a documentary on BBC4 on Friday night which reminded me how great and ground-breaking Charley Pride was back in his pomp.
This is perhaps his most famous song, and it’s a master-class of Country music misery and defiance, telling as it does the story of a guy losing a girl to what she thinks is a better life:
Charley Pride – Crystal Chandeliers
I’ve mentioned Charley Pride before, of course.
Ex-Army, ex-professional baseball pitcher, the military and sporting world’s loss was very much country music’s gain.
This is from an album my Dad had a copy of when I was a kid, and which I recently got hold of a copy of for myself. By which I mean, there’ll be more from this another time.
Charley Pride – Able Bodied Man
Many moons ago, I didn’t just post Country songs on a Sunday morning, as I do now (ok, so I don’t post just Country songs anymore, I indulge myself every now and then with the occasional, deeply unpopular, non-Country song. S’my blog, I’ll do what I like with it, ta very much).
The song which changed it back then was by today’s artiste; I thought I’d already posted this one by him too, but apparently not, which makes it very easy for me today.
Charley Pride – Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’
More soon. We’re due a non-Country Sunday soon. You’ve been warned.
When I first started writing these Sunday morning posts, the idea was to post songs with a general Sunday morning vibe. It soon became apparent that most of the songs were Country ones, and so it evolved into the Country-centric thread you see now.
Key to that evolution, was positive comments I received when I posted a couple of songs by this guy, and so, since I’m a little short of time this week – literally taking a break from packing my bag to go away as I write this – here’s the song that kicked that change off:
Charley Pride – Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone?
Okay, it’s two weeks until Christmas, so I guess I should cast off my “Bah Humbug” persona and post some Christmas tunes for you.
One of the first artists I ever mentioned on this thread was Charley Pride, and today’s song is the title track from an album that was knocking around our house when I was a kid.
Even an album cover featuring Charley wearing the cheapest looking Santa outfit can’t spoil this:
Charley Pride – Christmas In My Home Town
My post about Charley Pride a couple of weeks ago got a surprisingly good reaction from y’all, so I thought I’d post another one of his this morning.
This is perhaps his best known record, a cautionary tale of an ex who has been blinded by wealth and material possessions. But Charley knows what really matters, and tells his love that he’ll be waiting when all the glitter has faded away – all delivered in that distinctive southern drawl of his:
Charley Pride – Crystal Chandeliers