Dispatches for Wolf Country — Honky Tonk Orangutan

The Naked Mad King sits in the middle of the room, babbling madly at people and when something comes to his attention that disturbs him, courtiers, lackeys and whores run. Who knows what he'll do? Kick them off the flight to Mar Lago? Make them cover for Sean Spicer? Sleep with Kellyanne Conway? Watch him sleep with Kellyanne Conway? Guard the inner sanctum with the Queen and the Virgin Computer Geek/Heir encased in amber? Run away, run away run away.

Ray Price in Custom “Cherokee Cowboy” Nudie Suit

Nudie Suits went the way of Uncle Dave Mason and the Great Speckled Bird

Any American Boy struggling with unrequited love, wet dreams, parents and the future trusting only God and a Gibson guitar can sing these songs and own them

You know who doesn’t get the respect he deserves today? Ray Price. Like a lot of the late 40s and early 50s Country Western Singers, Price was starting to fade a bit in the 60s and then Chet Atkins invented the “Nashville Sound” and “Countrypolitan Music” which had some interesting effects. It added things like complete orchestral string sections to the scoring of country songs, de-emphasized steel guitar and twin fiddles, and started doing weird things with vocals that smoothed the regional accents and sharper edge that a lot of the classic country sound — Price, Hank Williams, Earnest Tubb, Faron Young, Skeeter Davis, Kitty Wells, Hank Thompson and so on — had brought to the music. Auto tune has nothing on Chet Atkins and the Victor boys doing with analog and tubes what home recording buffs can only approximate with a laptop today.

Hank Williams might  have been able to make a living from his songwriting, but he wouldn’t have been able to book a tour because he was just too crazy and hillbilly. Nudie suits went the way of the Great Speckled Bird and Uncle Dave Mason. Only Porter Wagoner and Little Jimmy Dickens and maybe Hank Thompson remained true with a few other acolytes and outsiders, until George Strait, Asleep at the Wheel,  Marty Stuart and Dwight Yoakum began to preach the true gospel…

Hank Williams might be a legend as a songwriter but his sound seemed too hillbilly to listen to so they had Ray Coniff do an album…

Price had a remarkable voice, broad range and smooth that worked exceptionally well with that classic Western Swing-Honky Tonk sound, but he was a great fit when Columbia started to look for someone as bankable as Eddy Arnold was for Victor with purists but could also work really well with the “NEW COUNTRY” sound Atkins had developed. His skill as a singer remained whether he was touring with the Cherokee Cowboys or doing some semi-slick TV show or singing Gospel. After the release and tour supporting a collaborative album, Last of the Breed with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, Haggard reflected, “I told Willie when it was over, ‘That old man gave us a goddamn singing lesson.’ He really did. He just sang so good. He sat there with the mic against his chest. And me and Willie are all over the microphone trying to find it, and he found it.”

There were a lot of great songs and great music that came out of this era, but a lot of it was schlock. Thank God for the Beatles, the Byrds, Bob Dylan and Johnny Cash — the combination of British Invasion Rock and Roll, Folk Rock and Singer-Songwriter roots music saved the genre and grew it.

Ultimately, I think the outlaw movement or publicity or gimmick or whatever you want to call it did a great thing for country music as a whole, because it opened the way for different styles.” Tompall Glaser

They tried to make Waylon and Willie and Jesse Coulter and Tompall Glaser fit the Countrypolitan mode; Tompall stayed around in Nashville as a producer primarily but also as a musician doing great stuff like Kinky Friedman’s “Sold American” and his own “Put Another Log on the Fire” and working with the nascent outlaw musicians as a producer and A&R man. Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson and Jesse Coulter collaborated with Glaser on a compilation album, Wanted: The Outlaws  which with the sudden arrival of people like David Allan Coe kicked the door down. The music was saved from saccharine, high fructose corn oil, and GMH.

Old Hank and Ray Price 1950

But musicologists and fans alike lost sight of those 50s Honky Tonk and Western Swing musicians. There were a lot of great ones of course — Webb Pierce was in some ways the Justin Bieber of his day which given the fact that on their nicest days some of those old boys were more like the image of “Gangsta” than any white Rap/POP wannabe could be. Hank Williams and Johnny Cash were so crazy at various times on pills and whiskey and despair that they were fired by the Grand Old Opry for being drunk on stage and kicking out the footlights. We ignore people like Jerry Lee Lewis at our peril. (For the record, Price and Hank Williams were friends and collaborators, and Williams was living with Price the last year of his life. Bet there could have been some interesting but sad stories in that. Williams wrote “Weary Blues for Waiting” for Price, and Price used Williams “The Drifting Cowboys” as his band until he formed the Cherokee Cowboys later in the 50s.)

Guys like Ray Price just kept plugging along though, and did good music despite the background stuff. He covered a lot of Kristofferson and Nelson songs, as well as other emerging song writers. When I start playing old country stuff on the guitar or just feel in the mood, I’ll immediately turn to “City Lights” or “Crazy Arms” or “My Shoes Keep Walkin’ Back to You.” Price had a rhythm guitar player named Roger Miller and had a hit with Roger’s composition of “Invitation to the Blues.” Any red blooded American boy struggling through unrequited love, wet dreams  and angst with girl friends and parents and jobs and wrecked cars with God and a Gibson or Martin guitar can project himself into these songs.

And now, Ray Price is suddenly politically relevant. Gof figure; you really can’t make this stuff up.

So who’ll be the first to say I told you so

When the pale Orange Orangutan was allowed to hop on the Twitter Train Saturday morning, it followed a Friday of absolute madness in the White House which is starting to resemble some horror castle from the middle ages. The Naked Mad King sits in the middle of the room, babbling madly at people and when something comes to his attention that disturbs him, courtiers, lackeys and whores run. Who knows what he’ll do? Kick them off the flight to Mar Lago? Make them cover for Sean Spicer? Sleep with Kellyanne Conway? Watch him sleep with Kellyanne Conway? Guard the inner sanctum with the Queen and the Virgin Computer Geek/Heir encased in amber? Run away, run away run away.

Does this look like a man who handles conflict and adversity well?

The Guardian had a marvelous note on this today, that indicates the extent of Trump’s problem. He doesn’t understand how government works, how the law works, how the economy works or much of anything else. So, he reads Breitbart and World-Nut Daily and watches Alex Jones, none of whom know how anything works either. Bannon knows how to manipulate dupes, which is largely what pit bosses and investment bankers really understand. Preibus understood how to possibly win an election by keeping the crazy person. Conway seems to have figured out how to keep him from totally melting down toward the end of the election, proving that there is surfing in Cleveland USA as he surfed on disinformation, Russian style and general discontent to beat Clinton. Kushner and Ivanka know where the wet towels are…

So he gives a speech where he reads the teleprompter, claims authorship of the speech, doesn’t piss on himself or the floor, and reflects in the glory of the worship of a victim bride’s anguish and pain. He expects his numbers to be hooooggggeeee, and then there’s all this stuff about the investigation and the House running one way and the Senate another and nobody is paying attention to his big boy speech in his new big boy suit.

So he brings them all into the Oval Office and has a come to Vladimir speech, the sort he images his Russian Idol and maybe General Mattis giving to the troops when they displease him. (I can’t imagine what Putin would do to a flunky who displeased him, although have him sent to count convicts in the gulag bare chested and on a horse in winter strikes me as possible.) (Mattis would never just blow up. The idea is to find out what went wrong and since his people trust him implicitly, he doesn’t have to rant and rave.) He’s gone on TV and said in passing that he trusts Jeff Sessions and that he doesn’t think that Jeff Sessions should recuse himself.

And the wheedling little Rebel small bodied, small handed not a 10 twit recuses himself?What the hell? Sure, he could have called Jeff, but Sessions just had an original thought on his own that differed from the mojo he was sending out from the Oval Office and the Oval virginal bed because he knows that he’s in deep crap with the Queen already because he took this job, and now she can’t sell monogrammed chihuahua and poodle jackets.

So, The Guardian’s article link said it all: Officials dismiss Trump outburst claiming wiretapping by Obama. The substance is important, and I recommend the article but they are all over the more reputable and less hysterical press. The Obama dismissal is really perfect, especially when we remember that Obama has been polite and somewhat supportive of the President, and would have responded either in person or through a senior surrogate if he thought that this was serious. Instead this is how the Guardian described it:

Obama’s former deputy national security adviser, Ben Rhodes, tweeted back at Trump: “No president can order a wiretap. Those restrictions were put in place to protect citizens from people like you.”Later an Obama spokesman, Kevin Lewis, issued a statement that did not deny there was a wiretapping but did deny that Obama ordered one. “A cardinal rule of the Obama administration was that no White House official ever interfered with any independent investigation led by the Department of Justice,” the statement said. “As part of that practice, neither President Obama nor any White House official ever ordered surveillance on any US citizen. Any suggestion otherwise is simply false.”

Obviously, they let the 70 year old toddler into the sugar again, and it requires very little to slap

Trump’s the Name, Worst with a Double of Passionate Intensity is the game…

him down. Of course, the courtiers, lackies and whores will try to placate him while the adults grumble, but the Orange Orangutan will throw some shit at the walls now.

Which leads me to why Ray Price is now politically relevant and even elegant for a essayist to cite. There’s a lot of discussion about buyer’s remorse and the election of Trump. I think in a lot of circles where they didn’t buy him but have been really enraged at his victory, the mood has gone from repulsion to disbelief and now to disdain and disgust. If you know how to use power or have people around you who know how to use power, being President is the most powerful job in any truly representative government. But, if all you know is that Obama’s moderate activism is what your supporters call “authoritarian government” you are really surprised when their response to your actual authoritarian impulse and really ignorant actions is the equivalent of “go piss up a rope, mo-ron!”

Lindsay Graham nailed it yesterday at the town hall in Clemson, when his rowdy constituents asked him what he thought about the Trump whining tweets. Google it if you missed it. Graham said something simple — That if President Obama had ordered wiretaps, it was an incredible scandal, but he had trouble believing it. But, if the previous administration had been able or if the Intelligence Agencies and Law Enforcement Agencies had been able to legally obtain a FISA warrant, this would be the biggest scandal in US history since possibly Watergate.

The Daily Kos published a great little summary of this entire debacle, and added a poll for it’s readers.

According to Politico, Trump called in chief of staff Reince Priebus, son-in-law Jared Kushner, Ivanka Trump, chief strategist Steve Bannon, communications director Mike Dubke and press secretary Sean Spicer to rant about how Sessions’ recusal was handled after the president had previously said he saw no reason for the attorney general to step aside. Before heading off to his Mar-a-Lago resort for his fourth weekend getaway, Trump sat with down with his inner circle where he reportedly blew up when the subject of Sessions’ stepping-aside was broached. Sources said an exasperated Trump told the assembled insiders he didn’t think Sessions should have withdrawn and that the announcement was not controlled properly by the White House communications team. The report also notes that Trump singled out White House counsel Don McGahn for specific criticism.“There were fireworks,” said one source.

One of the things that makes this funny was uncovered by Jake Tapper who appropriately put it in Twitter updating on his own reporting.

WH officials with whom I spoke said POTUS got the info about wiretap from media – Breitbart, Levin – not from govt sources.11:19 AM – 5 Mar 2017

Salon (Credit: AP/John Locher/Getty/vetta)

While I haven’t reprinted the poll, it listed the usual suspects in the White House — Bannon, Preibus, Conway, Spicer, Smith and Sessions, asking whom  you thought might quit first. I’d probably add Mattis and possibly Tillitson, since the Orangutan’s flunkies trying to micromanage their staff must give them some pause. Frankly, I understand why principled and talented people like those two would hang on. Loyalty to the office; confidence that if anybody can do it, they can do it; and a strong tendency toward morbid curiosity.

I know that I’ve stayed on the bridge of more than a few sinking ships out of those character traits/flaws. Thing is, if you think that way, when all that’s ultimately holds you there is morbid curiosity, well…morbid curiosity is really not worth the pain.

Who’ll be the first to say I told you so?

So, who do you think will be the first to bail? Curious as to the answers. My guess was Smith although he’s going full Stockholm lately, so who knows. Topping the Leader Board was Preibus, but I’m not sure. Sessions may have no choice; he’s in danger of a perjury charge already or a censure, and he’s smart enough to see that. If Donald demands Jefferson Beauregard quit or unrecuse himself, I’d bet he quits.

Thoughts? Love to hear. Meanwhile, to help you ponder, here’s some more Ray Price, Who’ll Be the First to Say I Told You So?

Everybody told me what a fool I was
To fall in love with someone who would never be true
But someday I would wind up with the hopeless love
All alone be wilted and confused
So who’ll be the first to say I told you so
‘Cause I’m alone like they all said I’d be
Who’ll be the first to say I should have listened long ago
So who’ll be the first to say I told you so

Filled with love so strong that ruled my heart and soul
Blinded by the lies you kept on tellin’ to me
People saw the things you’ve done and let me know
Things a fool in love can never seeSo who’ll be the first to say I told you so
‘Cause I’m alone like they all said I’d be
Who’ll be the first to say I should have listened long ago
So who’ll be the first to say I told you so

Ray Price – Who’ll Be The First Lyrics | MetroLyrics

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