Another jukebox Saturday night on Wednesday


Another jukebox Saturday night on Wednesday, listening to the old Nursery Rhyme Singer Hank Thompson singing, “Smoky the Bar. Always loved the way his songs played on words and phrases. Met him once at the Westerner shortly after my wife and I had returned from our Honeymoon. A group of friends decided we should all go out to the Westerner and see Hank so we did. One of my best friend Bob Langley actually knew Hank and his wife because he had delivered their mail when they lived in OKC.

Between sets, Hank would come sit at our table, tell jokes and generally entertain us during the break. Lots of fun that night. Bob, my friend got a little tanked and decided Hank wasn’t singing Bob’s favorite song, Waltz Across Texas, Hank kept telling Bob that really wasn’t one of his it belonged to Earnest Tubb. Finally just at closing time Hank relented and the band swung into Hank’s version of Waltz Across Texas and he even did a pretty good imitation of Earnest too. And dedicated the song to his good friend Bob Langley and all of Bob’s friends who were with him. A Fun night.

Johnny Cash with one of my favorite Bob Dylan written tunes ‘It Ain’t Me Babe’. Big hit for Johnny and he sang it the time I saw him in person at the El Paso Civic Center along with June Carter, Merle Kilgore, Tex Williams and a new quartet singing group they introduced as the Statler Brothers. That was the time he got arrested for possession coming back across the border and spent part of the night in the El Paso jail entertaining the jailers and the inmates.

The McGuire Sisters and ‘Rum and Cola, Cola’. A great group who popularized one of Roger Miller’s first songwriting efforts In The Summertime when the leaves are green, so well that it made the top ten on the pop charts at the same time George Jones had a top ten hit with another Roger Miller penned tune ‘Tall, Tall Trees’ and all the water in the seas. Actually long before he became so well-known in his own right Roger wrote several hits for other singers including ‘Billy Bayou’ for Jim Reeves a number one hit.

Now Tony Mattola a master guitarist with his version of the Beetles Michelle one of their most beautifully written songs both words and music. My favorite Beetles song is Michelle and Ray Charles’ rendition of their hit ‘Yesterday’, but this version of Michelle is a very upscale upbeat standard pop guitar version by one of the masters of the guitar, Tony Mattola. Tony could and did play with a lot of symphonies of the time including the Boston Pops and Arthur Fiedler.

My favorite sax man Homer Louis Randolph the Third better know as Boots Randolph with his version of one of the all-time great country songs Sunday Morning Coming Down written by one of the greatest country songwriters ever Kris Kristopherson. Boots was actually discovered by Gomer Pyle (Jim Nabors) and Andy Griffith helped him get his first recording contract. I saw him in person a couple of times along with Chet Atkins, Floyd Cramer and Rosemary Clooney at the Civic Center here in OKC back in the late 70’s.

Perhaps my favorite all-time rock and roll song by the New Beats (The Mathis (no relation to the furniture guys) Brothers and Larry Hensley) Bread and Butter a really rocking upbeat rock and roll song by a trio whose only song on the charts was this one. Tripping into the Canadian Sweethearts and their beautiful The French Song sang both in French and English alternatively great music and beautiful words evocative of a lost love. Lucille Starr was the female half of the duo and her husband whose name escapes me the male half.

Vaughn Monroe who had a huge hit with the Stan Jones gospel tune Ghost Riders in the late 40’s with his updated version of the old WWII Sound Off that he had on the pop charts in 1959 at the height of the folk revival of the late 50’s and early 60’s that brought us so many great new singers like Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, Peter, Paul and Mary and Johnny Rathmiller better known as Johnny Rivers.

Now the old Hudson and Landry comedy routine one of the all-time greats right up there with Abbot and Costello’s Who’s On First, Ajax Liquor Store. The guy on the phone ended up with 5 fifths of Tequila 5 fifths of Scotch and 2 cases of beer just trying to get up enough nerve to go to confession. Ever get a chance to hear do!

Old Blue Eyes’ daughter with her cover version of George Jones beautiful ballad ‘Walk Through This World With Me’. Nancy Sinatra had several hits mostly in the country rock and roll field during the 60’s including one she sang with her father Something Stupid. Her career wasn’t actually guided by her father but a country record producer-songwriter named Lee Hazelwood.

Finishing up with a beautifully done soft love song by the great jazz lady singer Dinah Washington ‘Eternally’! A particular favorite of mine by one of the great ladies of song whose life ended tragically from a drug overdose. I miss her a lot especially this song and her September in the Rain.

One more final song before getting ready for bed by the original Platters Ebb Tide. A beautiful way to end a day by a group that had so many great love ballads in their time and who I had a chance to see once in Vegas along with Drifters and the Coasters.

Night all! Sleep well I know I will!

Bob Bearden

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