On those weekends I get to Hilo, I usually spend much of my time outside working in the yard. One of the joys of owning a home, is keeping it from looking abandoned. My weeds grow so fast that after 3 weeks I need 2 native guides and a gun bearer to find the front door. When working I like to listen to music, mostly country, so I have a radio/cd player in the garage.
During the years I worked in country radio, I had two “specials” I did every Sunday morning. The 6-7 am hour was “Country Gospel”. To me, it was a gentle way to start the day and there is no shortage of country performers and gospel music.
During the 7-8 am was my favorite time, it was “America, God I love this Country”. Country music that had, to me, a patriotic meaning.
I played John Wayne, Johnny Cash, Tennessee Ernie Ford,Eddie Raven, Alabama, and many others. In fact, when I went off the air, the station got more mail, yes real mail, about the loss of that hour than almost anything else. A lot of the songs were recorded during or about WWII , the Korean Conflict, and of course the Viet Nam War. I scoured the labels to find songs that were kinda out of the mainstream and appropriate, sometimes they were the sixth or eight track down, but it struck a cord with me.
Just before I left the station I recorded several of those Sunday morning shows on cassettes, and a few years later put them on a pair of CD’s. Just the music, not me.
For years it was my habit to play the cassettes, then the disc’s, while doing the Sunday morning clean up of the shovel-head prior to the days ride. For some reason, I got away from that habit.
So last week, while doing the yard clean and mow, I put those cd’s on and once again listened to what I used to listen to every weekend. I had forgotten how good those songs made me feel, even tho’ many of them are not “happy” songs. Some them were 20 years old when I played them, and I played them 20 years ago, but they still stand up. They are as accurate and relevant as they were when they were first recorded. Listen to Tennessee Ernie Ford do “This Is My Country”, Eddie Raven “Somebodies Tearing The Flag”, Johnny Cash and “The Ragged Old Flag”, or Billy Ray Cyrus “Some Gave All”.
These songs speak about the right, and wrong, with America. And the images they compose are as accurate now as they were then.
Sometimes old habits are good to bring back.