Things are surely different than they were a year ago, and we hope that all will return to "normal" sometime soon. But until then, there are ideas that are taking off for the long and short term good.
But I am not sure about this!
Many have asked if I could look back on 1990's artist Hal Ketchum, who just passed away at 67 from dementia last month. So young for that, and we are all very sad about it. Here's a guy that performed his entire life starting about 15 years old. I proudly played all of his songs on the radio for many years.
Hal Ketchum was a very interesting person and artist who burst upon the scene in 1991. And even though his big run was short, he found a following, and had tons of fans. Looking back, I'm not so sure he was totally "country", as his roots were very diversified, but he found success on the charts, going up to #2 a few times. He showed up at a good time, and added a real different color to the country music rainbow. He was blessed with an interesting look, and a wonderful mainstream voice that would sound good singing about anything.
Small Town Saturday Night - Still A Favorite Of Many - Mine Too!
Country was exploding when Ketchum showed up, and the time was right to have success. I always felt Ketchum was like only few others of the era, as to where they were kind of pop, and even folk inspired at times, mixed in with the current tide of country. Ketchum during his run, reminded me of Colin Raye and others in the the fact that they were blazing a new trail and expanding our borders beyond the monstrous hat acts of the decade, but all the while still very cognizant of what was going on in mainstream country. They were not Alan, Garth, or George sounding, but they were not light years away musically, even if their outward image was. The whole bunch were not traditionalists, but they found a place where they were comfortable, and fans were too.
Hal's Fantastic Signature Song
Hal Ketchum's run on the charts was short, but with great success. He had two very big albums what had a lot of popular songs on them. 1991's Past The Point Of Rescue was a terrific project that catapulted him into the spotlight. Seems everyone loved Small Town Saturday Night as it went to #2 on the charts. Three more hits followed from it, I Know Where Love Lives, Five O'clock World (remake of a 60's hit by The Vogues.) And of course what would become his signature song, Past The Point Of Rescue, which is terrific - and SHOULD have been a #1 (#2)
I'm Not Big On Remakes But This Is One Of My Favorites- Perfect Artist To Do It!
The Sure Love album was next, and it was also great, and it seemed Hal Ketchum was here to stay. Hearts Are Gonna Roll raced up to #2 on the charts and two more singles followed. But for some reason, after this album commercial success was tough, and Ketchum's best chart days were behind him. He started acting, and had some roles in movies including Maverick, and Heartbreak Hotel. He was also a painter. He was a very interesting guy, multi-talented too.
In 1998 he was stricken with a spinal chord disorder where he lost the use of the entire left side of his body. He had to relearn how to sing and play guitar. He did, and performed for many years after. But in 2019, is was announced he had dementia and in November, he died at 67. So young. His passing hit a lot of people hard as our emotions and memories were driven back to the early 1990's where many of today's fans discovered country for the first time. Those are great memories for many, and Hal Ketchum was there to welcome them.
But for his short run, he racked up some very loyal fans who still love his music. Past The Point Of Rescue and Small Town Saturday Night still sound great, and fans still hit the dance floor when played. Hal Ketchum made some great music in country's biggest decade, where he was part of it.
Just to prove that there is a holiday for everything, today is Toilet Paper Appreciation Day! And as it seems people can't stop buying it at a break neck pace for some reason these days, here is a very useful article on the history of a very useful product!
Because of the climate of things these days, it seems the sale of REAL Christmas trees is booming! And I think that's a great thing. Growing up, that was always a tradition in my house, we would go out and buy a tree from the YMCA, or some church group and we would be on our way. And of course you can still do that if you wish.
There are also GREAT places like Galehouse Tree Farm in Doylestown, they've been there for 89 years and counting. You can buy a tree cut, or you can go and walk the acres and cut your own. People all over the area, heck all over the country are doing the latter. It's something that you can do that checks all the boxes on safety, and gets you out of the house for a while.
And Everything For Your Tree Inside!
There is thought this could a trend now for a few years, as people may find they like the fresh tree, and what it brings to your house. I'm thrilled for Galehouse and others. In a time where good news is at a premium, it's good to see that there is a return to a tradition lost on some, to finding a new way for the family to have fun, and discover something they didn't know before.
Wynn's Weekend Watch - Christmas Chronicles 2 - Not quite as fun as the original, but still a nice Netflix Flick! (Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn)
Cinema Safe – Great site for movie theater procedures (Site)
Warner Bros - Is going to release all of their 2021 movies on HBO Max on same day they hit theaters - (Story)
Big Recommend - Hillbilly Elegy (Amy Adams / Glenn Close) - (Netflix) - GREAT! (True Story)
In Theaters NOW -The Croods (#1 movie last week) Freaky / The Outpost / Honest Thief / The War With Grandpa / Tenet / Let Him Go
DVD Soon - Tenet (Preview)
Will Farrell - Turned down 29 MILLION dollars to make an Elf sequel! (Story)
One Year Ago – Frozen 2 - Was the #1 movie in America!
Ten Years Ago This Month - True Grit
As Long As We Are Talking Westerns - 27 Years ago This Month (hard to believe) - Tombstone
This Weekend – Check out my Country Music Memory Lane (link)
Russell Dickerson was the musical guest on Monday (November 30) on Jimmy Kimmel Live! He sang his song "Home Sweet" from his upcoming album 'Southern Symphony' due out this Friday!
Out of all that has happened the past few months, many things have been cancelled, delayed and changed. And a whole lot of it not fun at all. In fact, most of it stinks. And with the storm of the past couple days it got me thinking about the following.
But what really might stink for many in the aftermath of this are Snow Days from school. Seems to me that in the long run with all we've learned about virtual learning, that snow days may bite the dust up the road. I was like every other kid from every other generation before and after me. I loved snow days! Waiting to hear your school had no school that day. We would gather around the radio and wait, and wait. Somehow, ours was always the last one to be read. But I feel those days may be on borrowed time. I am hot advocating this, I am just wondering if it is inevitable. Even ardent supporters of snow days have to possibly see the writing on the wall here.
Why cancel school when you can virtual learn instead of taking the day off? Easier decision for superintendents to make, and safer for the kids in bad weather, bus drivers too, and it saves money. The teachers would hate it, as many times they are happier than the students about no school. Also for all, there would be no worrying to make up days if the winter was really bad, as no one wants to go in late June. But the fun of snow days would be over.
So, are snow days on the way out? If I was asked to bet, I would say yes - in the long run, but they will go kicking and screaming into the night by both students and teachers. But it just may be a thing whose time has come.
Alan sent me a note asking if I would showcase his favorite from his early 20's, David Ball. What a great memory for us to look back on. David Ball was exceptionally talented always, and very popular for a very short time. His gift to us was an unmistakable, original sound.
David Ball beat the odds for while, then didn't, then did again. He was a long time player in the Texas music scene from the late 1970's till he finally hit the country charts solo in 1994. His big album, Thinkin' Problem, with the title song as the first single was a big success. And what a song it was, although it didn't go number one, (it stalled at #2), it should have. It also cracked the Top 40 All Genre Chart (quite a feat). It was so catchy, so different, so refreshingly big time country, tons of fans fell in love with it. David Ball had arrived in the middle of the country boom, in the best decade ever in our format - at 41 years old. That was almost unheard of, and still is. Thinkin Problem is about as good of a pure country song as you will ever hear.
Talk About A Cut-Through Song And Sound - Thinkin' Problem
In the age or Garth, Alan, George, Tim, Shania, Toby, Kenny, Patty, Clint, Brooks And Dunn, Reba and countless others, David Ball's first big album found an audience, and it sold well over a million copies. Thinkin' Problem in my view, was one of the best albums of the decade. For me, the reason was simple - the pure originality of it. He sounded like nothing anything else we were playing on the radio. I remember my music director, Dave Wright at WPCV in Lakeland, Florida grabbed me and my partner Tom O'Brien after our morning show one day and said, "You gotta hear this song, we just got in!" He was right, Thinkin' Problem was great and very different. And in the 90's, with so many mega stars, it was genius. Two more successful singles came off that album going to the top ten, and it appeared David Ball had joined the 90's party for good.
This Single Was A Really Great Song - Great Versatility - Honest Stuff Top 10
But while the world was understandably paying attention to a thousand other country stars, David Ball somehow got lost in the shuffle, and I have always felt that was a real shame. Then came 2001, and his huge hit, Riding With Private Malone that he took to #2 again, when it should have been #1. Almost 20 years later, when we get requests for real older songs, that one is always there. Fans love and loved that song, which he delivers about as perfectly as you can. That song was no small feat either, coming back to the charts big after about 6 years off of them is a tough thing.
Another Great Single - Top 10
But let's clear a few things up about him to the positive. He had a sound that was all his, and he knows his way around a country song. Listening to David Ball, there is no crossover, no pop country, and there is no fat in the songs. He sings them, they are good, and we believe them, and to me that is the mark of a fine country artist. I loved playing his music on the radio then, as I felt listeners were getting something very different than the song before, and very different than the song that would follow it. For a time that was much too short, David Ball was every workin' dudes hero. They bought the album, blasted it in their trucks, they requested the songs, and they punched the jukeboxes while playing shooting pool and throwing darts.
Private Malone - Was A Song That Spoke To A Lot Of People (11 million views on YouTube)
Was he in the right place at the wrong time? Was he in the long run swallowed up by the enormity of our format? I always felt that someone dropped the ball with him as he seemed to be right on time. I don't know that answer, but I do know I am thankful for his incredible gift to us in the form of an album, that somehow found a breakthrough sound and big success in a time that was very tough to do. Thinkin' Problem is a fantastic album worth a listen - if you love your country - COUNTRY!
Other Recent Memory Lane Articles
I have to admit, I'm as guilty as anyone who is reading this right now. Here we are, the first big snow of the year and the annual hunt for the snow brush is on at houses all over the area. Probably yours as well.
It never fails. All spring and summer long that thing is in the way of the coolers, bikes and groceries and everything else we cram into our cars, so after having had enough of that, we toss it aside and say something like, "Get that darn thing out of here, for cryin' out loud!" (Or something possibly a bit more colorful.) Then we just go on for the rest of the warm weather months brush free, because there is clearly no need. Then, things change....
TODAY! Today is the day we wake up and wonder where that stupid brush is. Although today, it's not quite so stupid. In fact, you may be willing to pay good money to know exactly where it is at this exact moment. All that stands between you and a day of frozen hands, wet gloves (If you can find those) and waiting for seemingly hours for the windows to defrost, is that "stupid" brush.
Ahhh, The Sweet Smell Of Success!!! Top shelf, above the work bench, have no idea how it got there!
And it's never where you think it might be, I always find mine each fall and think, "How the heck did that get there?" Then a sense of relief of knowing that all is right with the world, and yes, there will be scraping loud enough to wake the neighbors at 6AM. And good vision that will be larger than a port hole as you go down the road.
Maybe you're one of those "all yearers." You know, the show brush in the car all year guy or gal. Brush in peoples way in the back seat, getting wedged under the passenger seat. Maybe always in the way when you're loading stuff in the back. If so, congrats to you. I'm not, I'm a "It's warm, and this stupid thing is outta here" guy!
Good luck this morning, happy hunting, and maybe it's time to show that "stupid" brush a bit more respect.
Happy Brushing and Scraping!!