Tag Archives: Charlie Daniels

A Musical Story About Georgia

11 Jun

My wife had to go to Atlanta for business, so we drove down for an overnight stay. On the way back, I started thinking about songs with Georgia in their titles. This post is the result of the string of ideas that my mind put together. As you can tell, strange things run through my brain when I am driving.

Ray Charles called Jim Croce and said, “I’ve got Georgia on My Mind.” Jim replied, “Let’s start Walkin’ Back to Georgia.” As they walked down the road, Gladys Knight and the Pips passed on their way to the station. She yelled out of the window, “We’re taking the Midnight Train to Georgia. You guys should come with us.”

Ray and Jim jumped into the car with Gladys and the Pips. Before boarding the train, Gladys got a text from Brook Benton saying that it was a Rainy Night in Georgia. Despite the news, they still wanted to go. However, things would get worse.

When they disembarked, the station was totally dark. People were scrambling. Then, they ran into Vicki Lawrence who told them the bad news. This was The Night That the Lights Went Out in Georgia. Nobody knew what happened. The lights just went out. It was almost supernatural.

Suddenly, a bell sounded throughout the station. Someone spoke through a megaphone. The voice sounded familiar.

Ladies and gentlemen, please do not be alarmed. We are working on the lights, and we have discovered the problem. The Devil Went Down to Georgia and blew out all of the transformers.

They looked up and saw Charlie Daniels assuring people that everything would be alright.

With nothing else to do, Ray, Jim, Gladys and the Pips sat on benches, and someone finally asked Ray an important question. Why did you want to come to Georgia? He simply answered that he wanted to meet up with Sweet Georgia Brown.

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Hilton Head – Driving Down the Musical Highway

23 Oct

We got a late start on our trip to Hilton Head because I had a midday meeting. This meant that we would be driving through the late afternoon and into the night. On top of that, we had to hit five different interstates to get there.

Whenever I am on a long drive, my mind starts to entertain itself. This means that useless trivia moves from the back of my brain and dominates my mind. It is a good way to stay awake and a good way to go crazy. On this drive, music was the category of choice, and it all started as we made our way over Monteagle.

For those who do not know, Monteagle is a ridge that has to be crossed just north of Chattanooga. The grade is steep and trucks have a hard time making their way up one side and down the other. Each time I drive over Monteagle, I think about the opening song of Smokey and the Bandit and start singing it under my breath.

In case you do not remember the opening to one of the greatest movies in cinema history, the song recounts how the Bandit became famous in the truck driving world. I wrote an entire post about it, but, simply, it talks about how he lost control of his rig on Monteagle. With heroic driving skills, he was able to make it to the bottom.

(Brief Interlude: While writing that post, I looked up the lyrics of the song. All of the sites had him crossing something called Montvale. It is not Montvale. One of my life’s goals is to get those lyrics corrected and give Monteagle is rightful place in Smokey and the Bandit history.)

Of course, driving through Chattanooga brought to mind “Chattanooga Choo Choo”, but the route through north Georgia made my mind go musically dead. Atlanta played a big role in that. It does not matter what time you drive through Atlanta. The traffic is always bad, and your focus needs to be on the road. However, I still heard Ronnie Van Zant telling Billy Powell to “play it pretty for Atlanta.”

Eventually, we made our way to Macon and hit a desolate stretch of road toward Savannah. It was getting later. It was getting darker. That is when I saw a sign for Statesboro, Georgia, the subject of “Statesboro Blues” by the Allman Brothers. That meant that the next several miles were filled with an internal soundtrack of their tunes.

After several days in Hilton Head, which I will write about in the next post, we retraced our journey. This time, the excitement of a vacation was behind us, and we were making that long, tired drive toward home. That does not mean that the musical journey was over. As the miles passed, I tried to think of songs that have Georgia in their titles.Georgia

I ended up with the following.

“Sweet Georgia Brown” (I can see Curly Neal dribbling around Meadowlark Lemon.)

“The Devil Went Down to Georgia” (Charlie D. lives not too far down the road.)

“The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” (Yep, Vicki Lawrence can sing, too.)

“Midnight Train to Georgia” (The Pips make this song stand out.)

“Rainy Night in Georgia” (The Tony Joe White version is the best.)

“Georgia on My Mind” (It is hard to beat Ray Charles.)

“Marching Through Georgia” (I only know this one because it was mentioned in a John Wayne movie.)

“Walkin’ Back to Georgia” (One of Jim Croce’s lesser known songs.)

Before I knew it, we were back at Monteagle, but it was not before I thought of something else. Does anyone remember a television show called Carter Country?

 

 

 

Concerts of Interest

4 Jan

I have written a lot about concerts, so you can probably tell that I am a concert-going freak. I will see just about anybody perform. Some of the shows were great. Some of the shows were not as great. Many of them have been forgotten. However, a few have stood out because I found them different and interesting.

Undoubtedly, Luciano Pavarotti provided the most interesting concert experience. He was past his prime, but his power and talent could be felt throughout the arena. I have no idea how someone got him to perform in Nashville, but I feel privileged to have heard one of the Three Tenors.Luciano Pavarotti

Seeing Dave Brubeck play at the Ryman Auditorium was also a privilege. I wanted to hear his most famous work, “Take Five”, but I came away with more than hearing one popular Jazz number. I spent the evening mesmerized by a legend who turned a Country music shrine into something completely different.Dave Brubeck

Speaking of Country music, I have seen Willie Nelson several times, but the most interesting took place in a minor league baseball stadium. He and Bob Dylan toured stadiums throughout the country and had their stage positioned behind second base. People packed the infield as the two legends played throughout the night. It was interesting, but I kept thinking that the show going on backstage was probably more interesting.Willie Nelson and Bob Dylan

Dudley Moore came to Nashville many years ago to play a Valentine’s Day show with the Nashville Symphony. He was a great comedian, but he was also a classical pianist. What do you think he played? If you guessed “Bolero”, then you would be correct.Dudley Moore

I saw Leonard Cohen because I wanted to hear “Hallelujah”. I heard “Hallelujah” and a few more songs that I recognized. Actually, one is sung by Don Henley on my iPod. There were several aspects of this concert that I found interesting. First, those that love Leonard Cohen really love Leonard Cohen. Second, those who don’t, like my date who feel asleep on my shoulder, really don’t. Third, he came out for encore after encore. It had to be some kind of a record. I wouldn’t know because we left after about four of them.Leonard Cohen

Charlie Daniels lives in my county and can be seen hanging around all of the time. His concert was interesting because I watched it from backstage. My friend worked for him and invited me along to sit how a concert works from the other side. I met Daniels around the buffet table, and we talked about people that we both knew. I remember that he had a hard time getting around, and  wondered how he was going to perform. That question was answered as soon as he got in view of the audience. He ran, jumped, and played. When the show was over, he went back to moving around slowly.Charlie Daniels

There have been many interesting concerts, but the last one I will write about was a live performance by a dead guy, Elvis Presley. I went to Elvis Week on the 30th anniversary of his death and attended the reunion concert. The original band and backup singers performed on stage while a video image of Elvis sang along with them. The sold out show was better than 90% of those I have seen with living people. However, the audience reaction was the interesting part. People were crying, shrieking and screaming like he was really there. I saw the living Elvis when I was a kid and remember that audience acting the same way. ELVIS LIVES!!!Elvis in Concert

If I see more interesting concerts, then I will let you know.