Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music
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  1. #1
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    Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    I am not sure how many of you have had the opportunity to follow Ken Burns new documentary "Country Muisc". Each of the two hour episodes has been very informative and entertaining especially the 4th which I watched last evening. This last episode covered the 10 year period from circa 1953 to 1963 which includes the birth of Rock-a-billy and its offshoot Rock and Roll. Even though I learned so much from the first six hours I was much more familiar as they talked about artists such as Elvis, Johnny Cash, Patsy Cline, Marty Robbins, Everly Brothers. Ray Charles , Sam Phillips, and Chet Atkins.

    I never paid much attention to all of variations of the music that falls under the Country genre and how they came to be. Off the top of my head a few are: Hillbilly, Rock-a-billy, Texas Swing, Bakersfield sound, the Nashville Sound, Western, Bluegrass, and many more.

    We all know about those handful of 50,000 watt clear channel stations that we could pull in from great distances at night. I learned about the 500,000 watt station built just across the Texas border in Mexico that beamed it signal half way across the country and helped propel the genre.

    Although it focuses on Country the back and forth influences of other genre are touched upon.

    You should be able to search for the first four episodes from PBS to record. The last four episodes are set to run from the 22nd to the 25th.

    It must have taken Ken Burns several years to make this documentary as a few of the artist interviewed have since passed away.
    Jim

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  3. #2
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    I watched half of the first episode on PBS demand last night. Very informative. Those who grew up in the Chicago area might remember WLS (which, btw, stands for "World's Largest Store", referring to Sears) radio as a Top-40 AM superstation in the 70s and 80s that reached as far as the East Coast. It apparently started with "Hillbilly" music.
    Anthony
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    I have never been a fan of country so I ignored this series. Two nights ago I was channel surfing and came across the 1953-1963 episode. Something caught my attention and I ended up watching the whole episode. I went to bed with Patsy Cline's "Crazy" going through my brain and woke up with it still there.

    The episode made several references to country hits crossing over into the pop charts. That made sense to me since some of the artists, like Cline, had beautiful voices and did not sing in an "affected" twang. That twang sound always turned me off. The female artists just sang their hearts out. They did not rely on showing skin, jumping around, or gimmicks. They just sang and sang and sang.

    From the episode I learned how many of the artists grew up dirt poor which influenced their music. Literally starving artists.

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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    Quote Originally Posted by asindc View Post
    I watched half of the first episode on PBS demand last night. Very informative. Those who grew up in the Chicago area might remember WLS (which, btw, stands for "World's Largest Store", referring to Sears) radio as a Top-40 AM superstation in the 70s and 80s that reached as far as the East Coast. It apparently started with "Hillbilly" music.
    And WSM originally stood for We Shield Millions and was started in a Insurance Company.
    Jim

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  7. #5
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    I watched the first episode so far. It’s very well done and informative.
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  8. #6
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    From the Civil War to Baseball, to Jazz Music and now to Country Music, Ken Burns never misses with his documentaries.

    Ken
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    Quote Originally Posted by Dizzie View Post
    I have never been a fan of country so I ignored this series. Two nights ago I was channel surfing and came across the 1953-1963 episode. Something caught my attention and I ended up watching the whole episode. I went to bed with Patsy Cline's "Crazy" going through my brain and woke up with it still there.

    The episode made several references to country hits crossing over into the pop charts. That made sense to me since some of the artists, like Cline, had beautiful voices and did not sing in an "affected" twang. That twang sound always turned me off. The female artists just sang their hearts out. They did not rely on showing skin, jumping around, or gimmicks. They just sang and sang and sang.

    From the episode I learned how many of the artists grew up dirt poor which influenced their music. Literally starving artists.
    I agree with you about Patsy Cline. Some artists transcend genre, and I think Cline was among those who did.
    Anthony
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  11. #8
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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    My father's favorite pop singer was Patti Page and her greatest hit, "The Tennessee Waltz". I think it would qualify for a country and western song, although it was a top 40 chart topper in the '50's.

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    Re: Ken Burns Documentary - Country Music

    Quote Originally Posted by asindc View Post
    I watched half of the first episode on PBS demand last night. Very informative. Those who grew up in the Chicago area might remember WLS (which, btw, stands for "World's Largest Store", referring to Sears) radio as a Top-40 AM superstation in the 70s and 80s that reached as far as the East Coast. It apparently started with "Hillbilly" music.
    I remember my grandfather listening to WLS out of Chicago every Saturday night. I grew up listening to what's now called Classic Country. When I was deciding about signing up for Tidal, I checked to see if it was all Rap or if they might have some Willie Nelson albums. They had 129 of them. That sold me!
    Bud
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