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Thread: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

  1. #126

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    I’m still catching up...today is Episode 5, I have really enjoyed the series. I’m fairly new to the mandolin and bluegrass in general so it’s quite the education for me. One of my jam mates plays Lonesome 7-7203 and I never had a clue (nor took the time to learn about) the writer or the story behind it and his tragic ending. So much to listen to now, I downloaded Jimmie Rodgers last night and will enjoy (5 hours) on my walks/rounds of golf...then onto all the others...I’m asking Santa for some iTunes gift cards this year...

    I like that the series ended when it did, current history is still too...ummm, current and think things need to filter thru a generation or two before an analysis can be done, inevitably someone is going to be disappointed and I too would like to have seen many of the artists mentioned here that were not covered but all in all I think it‘s a great series.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  2. #127
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Well, I thought I'd add my two cents worth. I watched every second of these shows and really thought is was one of the best shows I've ever seen. Ken Burns does such a good job of research and telling the little side stories that bring things to life. Did it cover everything? Of course not. How could anyone possibly attempt that? But what he did cover was so well done and thorough that you really gained a new view of country music. I thought I knew a lot from being old and having read many books about music over the years, but soon realized how little I actually knew. Heck, my wife who is no great fan of country music loved the show- although she didn't quite make it to the end of some of them. All and all I thought it was an amazing series and can't wait to see it again.
    Chief. Way up North. Gibson 1917 A model with pickup. JL Smith 5 string electric. 1929 National Triolian resonator mandolin with pickup. National RM 1 with pickup. Ovation Applause. Fender FM- 60 E 5 string electric (with juiced pickups). 1950's Gibson EM-200 electric mandolin. 1954 Gibson EM-150 electric mandolin. Custom made "Jett Pink" 5 string electric- Bo Diddley slab style. Jay Roberts Tiny Moore model 5 string electric.

  3. #128
    Registered User TheMandoKit's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Thought it did what it was designed to do... Give a good history of the genre, with focus on some of the key figures who made it what it was and is.

    Yeah, some of the emphasis could have been different. A lot of Cash, but I like Cash. Could have been more country rock. Could have been at least some mention of the other Ken (Jethro) Burns. Could have mentioned the WWVA Jamboree from my old hometown. But all in all, well done.

    My wife, not a big country music fan, already said that she wouldn't mind seeing it again.

    I know the series will be out on Blu-ray, but does anyone know if there are plans to issue just the music on CD?

  4. #129
    not a donut Kevin Winn's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by TheMandoKit View Post
    Thought it did what it was designed to do... Give a good history of the genre, with focus on some of the key figures who made it what it was and is.

    Yeah, some of the emphasis could have been different. A lot of Cash, but I like Cash. Could have been more country rock. Could have been at least some mention of the other Ken (Jethro) Burns. Could have mentioned the WWVA Jamboree from my old hometown. But all in all, well done.

    My wife, not a big country music fan, already said that she wouldn't mind seeing it again.

    I know the series will be out on Blu-ray, but does anyone know if there are plans to issue just the music on CD?
    Go to PBS.org. They'll have links to purchase cd's of the music or dvd's of the show

  5. #130

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Yes, all kinds of purchase options at pbs.org...I went for the whole shebang and got the dvd, cd, and book. iTunes has the 5 cd set for download and I saw the book in my local Costco a few weeks ago.
    Northfield F5M #268, AT02 #7

  6. #131

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Like I mentioned in the concurrent thread on instruments, on that alone it's a fabulous document. I think I enjoyed it as much as Chief.

    I was a latecomer to country: I grew up in north country and the rock/pop radio on CKLW didn't play anything right of CCR. So it was 70s Cash, Elvis and Hee Haw on the color TV, which I avoided mostly.

    But I grew up loving steel guitar - maybe it was Pete Drake on Ballad of sir Frankie Crisp and then I guess Garcia that burned a taste for high lonesome into my head. 50 years later and I'm still chasing that sound.

    And the show definitely made me pine away for my old guitars!

  7. #132
    Certified! Bernie Daniel's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by catmandu2 View Post
    Like I mentioned in the concurrent thread on instruments, on that alone it's a fabulous document. I think I enjoyed it as much as Chief.

    I was a latecomer to country: I grew up in north country and the rock/pop radio on CKLW didn't play anything right of CCR. So it was 70s Cash, Elvis and Hee Haw on the color TV, which I avoided mostly.

    But I grew up loving steel guitar - maybe it was Pete Drake on Ballad of sir Frankie Crisp and then I guess Garcia that burned a taste for high lonesome into my head. 50 years later and I'm still chasing that sound.

    And the show definitely made me pine away for my old guitars!
    Yes, same thoughts. For sure I never ever should have sold my '60/61 Hummingbird, the '65 Dove and the '65 D-28 -- but when I got hooked on mandolin they mostly sat in their cases still.... On the good side the prices I paid for them for in the early '70s would be called theft nowadays I think. Would you believe $250 for the D-28 from a pawn shop in 1974?

    I have not finished the Burns series yet. I mostly like what I have watched but I know I don't know nearly as much about country music as many other probably on this forum do. Yet even so there are some over emphasis on some things and under on other in my opinion. But you can't always please everyone I suppose. For sure it is entertaining.
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  8. #133
    Registered User f5loar's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    The final episode did give us more Monroe. Overall it did have more Monroe than I expected. I'd say Marty, Vince and Ricky made sure that it would. Too much Cash? Sure did and they should have held back about 30 mins. of Cash to do another PBS on just Cash. If they did that, didn't show repeats of future or past episodes each time, there would have been way more time to at least mention and show photos of all those that were left out that made their mark in the history of Country Music. I didn't expect it to go any further with the bluegrass since technically bluegrass is not country and this was about Country Music. Homer & Jethro left out? Yeah there should have been a special 15 to 20 mins on all the major comedians that were an important part of the Country genre. My beefs were no mention of Vern Gosdin or the Desert Rose Band. To end it in 1996 was genius. What's left after Garth Brooks flies over his audience with a cable?

  9. #134

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    My beefs were no mention of Vern Gosdin or the Desert Rose Band.
    As you know, they warned us in the preview show that they couldn't, and didn't cover every Country Music musician to everyone's satisfaction. I expected to be disappointed with some of those omissions but I understand the limitations.

    I'm as big a J.R. Cash fan as anyone out there but I would have sacrificed a few minutes of Cash for some Vern Gosdin. Desert Rose Band... Not so much.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

  10. #135
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by f5loar View Post
    What's left after Garth Brooks flies over his audience with a cable?
    That pretty much sums it up.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  11. #136

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    They say politics is show business for ugly people,

    .....so maybe Garth really wanted to be a rock star instead of a country crooner.........

  12. #137
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    After seeing it a 2nd time - it was really heavy on Cash and Cash connections like the Carters, Roseanne and Marty. I love Cash but........
    I guess Burns didn’t consider Glen Campbell country???
    But hey....it was a great show!
    Bob

  13. #138

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    I think it's fair to say that KB and Co. value 'story line' over comprehensiveness. They are trying very hard to prune the complexities of the world into a comprehensible story. Not the ONLY story. But above all else, they want characters and events from early in the series to reappear and keep the story moving and understandable.
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  14. #139

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Yes. One of the first things that struck me when reading the critiques was - the subject is story telling through music. It's not jazz nor baseball, but three chords and a story - not the history of serialism or abstraction or something... Invoking Shakespeare will require some bit of loquaciousness.

    I stopped watching, but I guess I should go ahead with the rest of the series. Monroe you say?

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  16. #140

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by MikeEdgerton View Post
    I'm actually surprised at some of the interview footage they have of people that are no longer with us. So far there has only been one appearance that I really questioned and that was because he was making a point while misquoting the song he was talking about.
    Not sure which misquote you're referring to but I know I heard a few.
    I love Dwight, but when he mixed up Long Gone Lonesome Blues with Lovesick Blues I almost dropped my bourbon.
    "I play BG so that's what I can talk intelligently about." A line I loved and pirated from Mandoplumb

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  18. #141
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Not sure which misquote you're referring to but I know I heard a few.
    I love Dwight, but when he mixed up Long Gone Lonesome Blues with Lovesick Blues I almost dropped my bourbon.
    That was the one I was referring to. I just sat there going what???
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

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  20. #142
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by re simmers View Post
    After seeing it a 2nd time - it was really heavy on Cash and Cash connections like the Carters, Roseanne and Marty. I love Cash but........
    I guess Burns didn’t consider Glen Campbell country???
    But hey....it was a great show!
    Bob
    There was a segment on Glen Campbell, not huge but well mentioned.
    "Bargain instruments are no bargains if you can't play them". These are the words of J. Garber.

  21. #143
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    By coincidence, while watching the CM episodes, I've been reading Daryl Sanders That Thin Wild Mercury Sound about Dylan's recording of Blonde on Blonde in Nashville.

    The Burns documentary gives some added visuals and context for the song-by-song, take-by-take walk through with A-Team: McCoy, Moss, Pig, Joe South, Buttrey, etc. and their reaction and adjustment to working with Dylan and his writing / recording process.

    I like the book so far, pretty detailed (though I could take it being even more so) but the story also moves along at a good pace.

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  23. #144
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by BradKlein View Post
    I think it's fair to say that KB and Co. value 'story line' over comprehensiveness. They are trying very hard to prune the complexities of the world into a comprehensible story. Not the ONLY story. But above all else, they want characters and events from early in the series to reappear and keep the story moving and understandable.
    You hit the nail on the nail on the head. Burns has put together a series of country music stories, which - together with other stories that he left out - make up the story of country music. I remember the same issues and the same approach being discussed when he did his series on jazz.

    I've been in Nashville since 1971, and when he got to the time period when I was "in the room," it was frustrating to see an abbreviated and/or selectively focused version of events that I was witness to. On the other hand, there was not much that I would suggest the he cut. The series could easily have been twice as long and still not have covered everything. Despite the omissions, I think all in all, it was a monumental piece of research and storytelling.

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  25. #145

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Just came back to the tv and internet world and watched episode 1. I enjoyed it and will make time to watch others in the series, although probably not on the edge of my seat. Obviously you can't put 100 years in 16 hours, so I'm not particularly critical of the choices made as I don't expect to see my favorites covered to the exclusion of others.

    And I'm sure the history is not what many folks want it to be, but its just part of the story of the music and foibles of folks who've gone before us in a branch of the entertainment business.
    Play it like you mean it.

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  26. #146
    Fatally Flawed Bill Kammerzell's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    Quote Originally Posted by FLATROCK HILL View Post
    Not sure which misquote you're referring to but I know I heard a few.
    I love Dwight, but when he mixed up Long Gone Lonesome Blues with Lovesick Blues I almost dropped my bourbon.
    You need to be very careful when watching TV.
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    What a great series. Next to Civil War, my favorite Burns production.

    Only problem is, for the past couple of weeks the thoughts in my head have taken on the voice of, and are being narrarated by Peter Coyote.

    Shopping lists, to-do jobs, work instructions, etc.

    My mundane life is now a Ken Burns doc..
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  30. #148

    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    I like Dwight, also.......and at this point he has probably sung those songs more times than Hank Sr..........probably has forgotten what the names are, leaving out key lines, etc, but overall does a good job. Kind of like being on autopilot......two verses, chorus, lead break, and if you forget the third verse, you just repeat the first verse........no biggee, really..........

    Same with the interviews, after doing 10,000 interviews, what is being said is secondary to the boots, the hat, and the drawl........IMHO.

    I saw Dwight in 1986 or so, his first major tour and thought he was very original with great spoken intros to the songs............saw him about 10 years later -- still doing the same intros...........so, yep.........

  31. #149
    Registered User Elliot Luber's Avatar
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    I think it was really good, but I feel they made some mistakes as well, both in inclusion and omission.
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  33. #150
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    Default Re: Did you catch the Ken Burns Country Music series opening?

    On the whole too much Johnny Cash thing, I agree they could have cut some of that and covered some other artists, but ask someone who is not into country music to name a county music star. Will they say Hank Williams (possibly)? Will they say Patsy Cline? They might say Dolly Parton or even Reba maybe because of the TV and movie appearances.
    But I bet more than half would say "Johnny Cash".
    Cash is iconic America love iconic figures. He created a specialized brand and I think is a huge inspiration to outlaw country, as well as many rockers and folk performers. More so even then Willie I think Cash had "broad appeal" at least for a while, young kids liking Cash (my son for example), would dig deeper into stuff like George Jones, and even Bill Monroe.
    I don't listen to Johnny Cash much and one song is about enough for me, but I knew his name from a very young age, and I knew he was "Country".
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