Tag: Southern Rock

Tunes for Tuesday: Ghost Riders?

A Concert My Dad Probably Never Forgot …

I went to see The Outlaws in September of 1978 at the Lenox Music Inn, which is actually in Stockbridge, Ma. I drove down from North Adams with a high school buddy named Pete Fields. I have no idea what happened to Pete. I haven’t seen him since I got out of the Army in 1983 and made a “nostalgia run” to North Adams, MA from Clinton, TN.

Green Grass and High Tides

The Lenox Music Inn is, or at least was at that time, an outdoor venue. I haven’t been there in over 40 years. I remember it as being essentially a huge field with a stage set in a corner. We drove down there in the old International Harvester Scout II I’d learned to drive on. This particular Scout was a two-wheel-drive model. This has a bearing on this story, so keep reading. I recall it being a trip of a couple of hours or so.

There Goes Another Love Song

Pete and I got there and found ourselves in line to park. We followed the instructions of the parking attendants and parked where directed. This was also in a field. Then we made our way to where the stage was set up and waited for the concert to begin.

Freeborn Man

During the concert, it started to pour … and I do mean, pour. The stage had a canopy over it, but it did not seem to be helping that much. Hughie Thomasson came to the microphone and said, “Well, shit! So, we can go home or throw some tarps over the amps and keep on playing.

The crowd roared, “Play!!”

Hughie Thomasson said something, like … “Well, all right!!”

They threw some tarps over the amps … and The Outlaws played on. Everyone got soaked. People were huddled under whatever they could find. Some folk had the foresight to bring rain gear. Many, including Pete and I, had not. But, we were having a blast anyway and enjoying the concert. The music was great. We thought it was really cool at the time.

Angels Hide

After the concert, we got ready to leave. The entire parking lot was a mud hole! Everyone, and I mean, everyone was stuck in the mud. Some enterprising young man with a four-wheel-drive Jeep was dragging people out to the paved road for $50 a pop. Pete and I did not have $50 between us. So, I locked up the Scout, and we hitch-hiked back to North Adams.

It was probably kind of small of me, but as Pete and I left, I noticed the kid with the Jeep had blown his engine up towing so many people out of the mud. There was smoke boiling out from under the hood. I must admit I grinned a bit at that. Served the SOB right for taking advantage of everyone! $50 buck was a lot of money for a tow back then, especially a few hundred feet. Anyway, I am sure he made enough to get the Jeep’s engine rebuilt.

(Ghost) Riders in the Sky

I don’t remember what time we got back to North Adams. Parents were upset. My dad was angry because we’d left the Scout in Lenox (well … Stockbridge), and we had to go down and get it the next day. When we got there, someone had broken out a window and stolen the $20 Krako 8-Track player Id mounted under the dash. Other than that, all was well. It had dried enough that we were able to get the Scout out of the field and onto the paved road, and I followed my dad home.

Once An Outlaw

The Outlaws are an American southern rock band best known for their 1975 hit “There Goes Another Love Song” and the extended guitar jam “Green Grass and High Tides” from their 1975 debut album. They are also well remembered for their 1980 cover of the Stan Jones classic “(Ghost) Riders in the Sky”.

While The Outlaws are generally considered Southern rock, there are distinct differences in their approach and influences. The Outlaw’s primary similarity to other Southern rock bands is the dual lead guitar interplay, a defining characteristic of many Southern rock bands. However, the Outlaws’ mix of country and rock elements displays the vocal harmony influences of groups like Buffalo Springfield, New Riders of the Purple Sage, and The Eagles. Their use of three and four-part harmonies set them apart from their Southern Rock contemporaries, which usually relied on a single lead vocalist.


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Tunes for Tuesday: Skynyrd!

Lynyrd Skynrd is an American rock band that formed in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1964. They performed under different names and with varying line-ups for several years, finally settling on the name Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1969.

Growing up in Massachusetts, I was aware of Lynyrd Skynyrd, but I did not fully appreciate the southern rock genre until I later moved to Tennessee. However, once I began to listen more, I was hooked. These good ole boys set the standard for southern rock with genius-level musical talent combined with the ability to write songs that spoke to the hearts of American listeners across this nation.

So much of their music was just good foot-stomping fun. This was always one of my favorites. I still sing along with it today when nobody is in earshot!

Gimme Three Steps (Knebworth Fair, 1976)

I sometimes think life would be so much better for us all if people would take to heart the simple advice in this next song, another of my favorites.

Simple Man (Oakland Coliseum Stadium, 1977)

Following a concert at the Greenville Memorial Auditorium in Greenville, South Carolina, on October 20, 1977, the band boarded a chartered Convair CV-240 bound for Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where they were scheduled to appear at LSU the following night. Running out of fuel, the plan crashed in a heavily forested area five miles northeast of Gillsburg, Mississippi.

Ronnie Van Zant. Steve Gaines, backup singer Cassie Gaines, the assistant road manager Dean Kilpatrick, pilot Walter McCreary, and co-pilot William Gray were all killed on impact. Other band members, including Collins, Rossington, Wilkeson, Powell, Pyle, and Hawkins, as well as the tour manager Ron Eckerman and several road crew members, suffered severe injuries.

The band later reformed with Ronnie Van Zant’s younger brother, Johnny (formally of .38 Special), taking over as lead vocalist. In the video below, Johnny Van Zant and the boys are performing a rare live version of The Ballad of Curtis Lowe. The original Skynyrd line-up only played the song once on stage. It was not played again until the tribute tour with Johnny.

The Ballad of Curtis Lowe (Virginia, 1998)

How’s about a little boogie … Lynyrd Skynyrd style!

I Know A Little (Coca Cola Star Lake Amphitheater, 1997)

While in their early years, the band had a reputation for partying hard and brawling on occasion, one thing they always got right was the music!

You Got That Right (1977, Convention Hall, Asbury Park, NJ)

Of course, in today’s “oh so perpetually offended” society, I am sure Lynyrd Skynyrd would catch hell because of the rebel flags and “southern whiteness” of their music. It’s really too bad. These good ole boys put out some great music that appealed to rockers of all races, religions, and creeds.

I think the narrow-mindedness of so many people today deprives them of some really great opportunities to expand their cultural awareness. Oh well!

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Tunes for Tuesday: Flirtin’ With Disaster

Molly Hatchet was one of many great blue-collar, southern rock bands from Florida. Formed in 1971 by Dave Hlubek, they are best known for their hit song, Flirtin’ With Disaster. The band has seen many line-up changes over the years. My favorite membership included Danny Jo Brow (Vocals), Dave Hlubek (Guitar), Duane Roland (Guitar), Steve Holland (Guitar), Riff West (Bass), and Barry Borden (Drums). For me, it would just be hard to follow Danny Jo Brow’s great stage persona, gruff voice, and cowboy horse-whistling.

Molly Hatchet took its name from a prostitute who, rumor has it, mutilated and decapitated her clients. The band also had some of the coolest album cover designs ever, often featuring heroic fantasy art by such artists as Frank Frazetta, Boris Vallejo, and Paul R. Gregory.

In the 1980s, Molly Hatchet shed its southern rock persona and shifted to a straight-ahead rock and roll sound with the release of the 1981 album Take No Prisoners. I really thought that was a shame. I liked the earlier Southern rock sound, and soon lost interest in the “new” Molly Hatchet.

Oh well … stuff happens. Here are a couple of my favorite Molly Hatchet songs from the earlier days.

Flirtin’ With Disaster (Live)

Bounty Hunter (Capitol Theater, 1978)

Dreams I’ll Never See (Live)

And, about those album covers …

Molly Hatchet was great cruising music. Just unroll the windows on a summer day, crank up the vintage Craig Power Play stereo system connected to those Jensen Triaxial speakers, and let the tunes play!

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Tunes for Tuesday: How about a little Tomcattin!

For me, the best days of Rock music were the 1970s, when lights in the audience were from lighters, not cellphones.

People who knew 70s Rock and Roll knew Blackfoot

Blackfoot is an American Southern rock band from Jacksonville, Florida, formed in 1969. Though they primarily play with a Southern rock style, they are also known as a hard rock act.

The band’s lineup consisted of guitarist and vocalist Rickey Medlocke, guitarist Charlie Hargrett, bassist Greg T. Walker, and drummer Jakson Spires. The group took the name Blackfoot to honor the American Indian heritage of 3 of the 4 founding members.

The group toured frequently during 1979; late during the year they opened for British superstars, The Who, at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan.

They had a number of successful albums during the late 1970s and early 1980s, including Strikes (1979), Tomcattin’ (1980) and Marauder (1981).

“Highway Song” is a true classic! Rick Medlocke is definitely the real deal and a complete showman, incredible voice, and highly talented musician. This song and band were underrated and underappreciated.

Highway Song

Train, Train is another great song in which Rick Medlocke showed off his blues slide skills on his Les Paul. The song was actually written by Rick’s grandfather, Shorty Medlocke, and it became their first success and most well-known song.

Train, Train

The original Blackfoot put out some great southern rock music. In the 80s, with the southern rock genre being considered somewhat passe by the pop music press, the band struggled and recreated itself several times with new members, but it was never the same.

Rick Medlocke began touring with Lynyrd Skynyrd in 1996. He also reformed the band Blackfoot with all new members and himself acting as producer. He sometimes joins the band on stage during certain concerts.