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Archive for June, 2011

Contemporary singer songwriter legend Paul Simon has ranked Hank Williams in the top echelon of all songwriters from all genres in American musical history.

The short posting on a New York  website received some coverage because Simon put Paul McCartney in the top six, but left John Lennon in the second tier. In the comments section there was a bit of debate about the McCartney versus Lennon issue and the  absence of  Bob Dylan on the first tier. The top six are:

George Gershwin

Irving Berlin

Hank Williams

Paul McCartney

Richard Rodgers

Lorenz Hart

Simon put the following in his second tier:

John Lennon

Bob Dylan

Bob Marley

Stephen Sondheim

And then, “maybe I’m in there too”.

Hank Williams recently received a posthumous Pulitzer Prize for his writing as well as inclusion in a Harvard University reference book caller ‘A New Literary History of America’.

Here’s the original article.

So, is there only ONE country music songwriter who deserves to be on that list?

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Sometimes in this media world we live in with the onslaught of self important celebrities coming at us like armies over the hills, it can be a little thing which can reveal who is  really important. Can reveal an artist  from 60 years ago whose persona and his works have survived all the onslaughts of competition from both high and low culture to remain permantly in our artistic consciousness.

This is the kind of cultursl figure who a famous writer of today can use to make a little joke at someone else’s expense and we all get it. You don’t need to explain it; we all GET IT!

I guess there’s a bit of a scandal in  American politics  about a representative who sent some naughty pictures via texting and tweeting to some questionable  women  without his wife’s knowledge.

At the New York Times the most famous political and cultural columnist is a woman called Maureen Dowd.

This week Dowd  ran a column basically tearing a few strips off this politician and a few others like him who have been caught doing really stupid things involving relationships with women they should have avoided if they valued their marriages and their political careers.

Finally the point. You can check it out. New York Times, Op Ed section Wednesday June 8, 2011.

The title of the column:

“Your Tweetin’ Heart”, that’s right: “Your Tweetin’ Heart”.

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The new Hank Williams based movie ‘The Last Ride’ was screened several times last week at the Little Rock Film Festival. The movie was directed by well known Arkansas film maker Harry Thomason. It stars Henry Thomas as a Hank Williams based character.

The name Hank Williams is not used in the movie and apparently the sound track does not include Hank Williams music.

‘The Last Ride’ received a negative review in The Arkansas Times which I linked to in the previous post. However, comments on a ‘Last Ride’ Facebook page are positive.

A Little Rock TV interview Jett Williams strongly endorses the movie. She says she was “blown away” when she first saw the film. There are 4 Jett Williams’ songs on the soundtrack. She says she likes the way the film focusses on the relationship between the Hank Williams character and his fictionalized driver.

People who hang on every detail of the the Hank Williams’ biography will not like the liberties with the story which are taken here, I suspect. But Jett, at least, has accepted the filmmakers intention to tell a deeper story about the reality of Hank Williams life and death.

Here’s a link to the TV interview with Jett.

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The negative review comes from in the Arkansas Times ‘Rock Candy’ blog. The movie opened at the Little Rock Film Festival on Wednesday night June 1, 2011. Lindsey Millar likes the views of  Arkansas sites filmed by director Harry Thomason a native of the state. The movie was entirely shot in Arkansas.

But as for the film itself, she’s not too pleased.

Otherwise, I can’t think of any other reason to recommend this fictionalized take on the last days of Hank Williams. There’s no character development. No conflict that’s not formulaic. And the only action — some wild highway driving and a bar fight — looks like something out of a “Dukes of Hazzard” episode.

Meanwhile, I had a comment from someone who saw the film, which was  posted on one of my earlier articles about ‘The Last Ride’. Foxy Lady likes the Arkansas settings and finds the overall theme quite acceptable.

Foxy Lady

You have to give Last Ride credit for making the period correct in buildings, clothes, and the old cars were great. We loved seeing the Round Top Oil Station (how many are left like that), the small church with old wood pews, it all looked like it was perfect locations for the film. Lots of films leave you wondering what happens next but no cliff hanger here, he dies after living a sad life trying to make his fans happy. We need to respect that.

Give it a chance you may really like it, we did.

Here’s a link to the blog post in the Arkansas Times.

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