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Five Songs For Kentucky

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Kentucky knew how to sell itself. Unlike many nearby states that have a miserable collection of songs written about it, Kentucky inspires! How or why is beyond my ability to ascertain. Maybe they offered subsidies to anyone who would write them a song? Maybe their chamber of commerce took a pro-active stance? Maybe because they have the Kentucky Derby and everyone loves horses, don't they?

"My Old Kentucky Home"--Randy Newman: OK, so some punk named Stephen Foster wrote a tune first that ended up in The American Primer and The American Songbook along with a bunch of other Americana junk they forced you to learn when you got your first chord organ or flute phone. But then Randy, a man who appears in the blog so often he should pay to be here, rewrote the tune to suit his own needs. Which is exactly what every political operative the world over does. Is this man running for office? Am I now in trouble with Y! Music for exceeding the limit for Randy Newman references?

"Kentucky"--Louvin Brothers: These two liked to sing about their nearby geography because they also sang a tune about Alabama. "Kentucky" is just as good and like most old country songs, sounds pretty much like all the others, which like the blues is a good thing if you like that kind of thing. 

"Kentucky Woman"--Neil Diamond: Ah, Neil has a new album with Rick Rubin. But no matter how good, it could never touch the greatness of his prime era, because that's why they consider it a prime era. You are in the zone, young master. No matter how crappy your efforts, the magic of the era will whisk you away and make you far greater than you ever deserve to be. I'm still waiting to hit my prime. It may not happen. I will weep.

"Kentucky Rain"--Elvis Presley: Before there was an Axl Rose, there was Elvis Presley. You know, the guy on the postage stamp. Aside from appearing in 237 unwatchable movies, he also made something like 546 nearly listenable albums, after recording some of the most important music of the past century. By the time of "Kentucky Rain," it really depended on the individual track. And how well El could overcome whatever schlocky arrangement they might try to stiff him with. The man could've used some assertive training. But what the hell, he was the King anyhow.

"Blue Moon Of Kentucky"--Bill Monroe: Now, see, Elvis recorded my favorite version of this. It was the B-side to his first single. So he was a hot one at the onset. Bill Monroe, however, deserves credit as being the Father of Bluegrass (I guess he copyrights the color dye Blue #4) and the man who then allowed Elvis, Boxcar Willie and Patsy Cline among the many to take this song and make him a lot of money. Well, provided he kept the publishing.

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