Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Roger Miller Month Hangover Special!

Attention all "Whovians!" Check out this contestant on Britain's Got Talent and his... er... different approach to "King of the Road!" All I can say is that these limeys are amateurs! Jaye P. Morgan and Jamie Farr would know how to deal with this sort of thing.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

King Of The Road

"Every day is Saturday to a dog"

Roger Miller
Man Like Me
The Wrong Kind Of Girl

Roger Miller on the Grand Ole Opry, Part Two

Technically, this is the wrong image, but it'll do as a placeholder

Roger Miller - "King Of The Road/Dang Me"

As I said last week:
     Today's selection comes from the record library of WCON in Cornelia, GA, where it was presumably played once, filed away, and forgotten until a few years ago, when I bought it in a stack of 50 or so Opry episodes at the J&J Flea Market in Athens.
      While neither the record nor the track listing sheet are dated, in his introduction on Program No.  231 (two weeks earlier), Bill Monroe had said that Miller would  have a TV show in the Fall, which dates this to somewhere between January and September 1966. On this episode, Roger is introduced by Hank Locklin, the host of the week. I've never found a lot of information about this syndicated version of the Opry, so I welcome any further data from you folks out there in Radioland.     These are the only appearances by Roger on the Opry that I have, but I'll probably be digging into them for some other surprises sooner or later. Don't touch that dial!

Friday, March 30, 2012

Lloyd Thaxton and Billy Strange Pay Tribute To The Great Man

Lloyd Thaxton (1927-2008) did a variety of things in his long career, but he's best remembered for The Lloyd Thaxton Show, an American Bandstand-style music show that he hosted from 1961-67 in Los Angeles, with the last three years nationally syndicated. Here are some videos for you to check out if you're interested. He also has his name stuck on a number of records that that he had little or nothing to do with, including albums by the Challengers, the Knickerbockers, and Round Robin. The album pictured above is in a similar vein, being mostly instrumentals by Billy Strange... but not entirely! Unlike the other "Thaxton" albums, Lloyd actually turns up on both the album and a single drawn from it.

Unlike Bandstand, Thaxton's show also included comedy routines and sketches, and that's the side of Lloyd on display here, in a novelty tune that, despite its title, has no traces of anything resembling blue-beat. Lloyd and Roger Miller were pals (read about that in this 2006 posting from Thaxton's still-extant blog), and he pays tribute to his pal here both in tone and through both name-checking and directly quoting him.

The beloved West coast studio musician kingpin (and cousin of Glenn "Frankenstein" Strange!) gives us an instrumental rendition of Roger's hit.

Swiped from Mr. Thaxton's blog

BONUS! If you want to hear the rest of the album, fellow WFMU family member Kliph Nesteroff has it posted at his blog here.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Roger Miller Meets Dino

King Of The Road Motor Inn

Monday, March 26, 2012

Don't Rock the Jukebox

From Billboard, Nov. 20, 1965

Sunday, March 25, 2012

The Ballad Of Roger Miller

Homer & Jethro - The Ballad Of Roger Miller (2:33)

You know you've really made it when Homer & Jethro point their satirical daggers at you.

Roger on Tour

My late friend Kurt Neiburg, former proprietor of Sound Trax Records in Clemson, SC, once told me about seeing Roger Miller live at an outdoor show on Bowman Field there when he he was a teen-ager*. As he described it, Roger was pretty drunk, and played his whole set while sitting precariously balanced on a stool. Thanks to Billboard's Music on Campus special issue (3/19/66; apparently not included in Google Books' Billboard archives) I can now confirm that Kurt attended this show on Monday, March 28, 1966. He would have been 13 at the time (Kurt, not Roger). It seems odd that they would have held an outdoor event like this on a Monday, but that's what he told me, and I'm afraid that follow-up questions aren't an option. I did check to see if I could find any corroborative evidence, but neither the local nor the college paper there are archived online, and I don't feel like traveling 80 miles and back again to check the microfilm for you folks. Sorry.

*Kurt also saw the Electric Prunes at the Anderson (SC) Civic Center, but I have no corroborative evidence to share at this time.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Roger Miller on the Grand Ole Opry, Part One

     Today's selection comes from the record library of WCON in Cornelia, GA, where it was presumably played once, filed away, and forgotten until a few years ago, when I bought it in a stack of 50 or so Opry episodes at the J&J Flea Market in Athens.
     While neither the record nor the track listing sheet are dated, in his introduction, Bill Monroe says that Roger will have a TV show in the Fall, which dates this to somewhere between January and September 1966. I've never found a lot of information about this syndicated version of the Opry, so I welcome any further data from you folks out there in Radioland.
    Next week, we'll be presenting his segment from a return engagement three weeks later. Stay tuned!

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Roger Miller - "Husbands and Wives"

So... once more, I got scooped by our Beloved Ringleader, who already posted the song in question while I was busy digitizing some upcoming surprises for you that haven't been heard by the public in 46 years (stay tuned for further details!), but I've still got more to offer on this particular subject: to wit, the document below.

I like this one a lot, but maybe not as much as Debbie. I do recall a conversation with Mr. William Orten Carlton in which he cited this as his favorite Miller lyric. In matters of a musical, Ort is rarely wrong (or succinct!)

Roger Miller - A Man Like Me

Roger Miller - A Man Like Me (2:28)

Here's a stellar Decca honky-tonker that Roger recorded in late 1958, featuring the great Johnny Paycheck on harmony vocals. The rest of the guys on the session were from Nashville's fabled A-team.

Roger Miller - Vocal
Owen Bradley - Leader
Hank Garland - Guitar
Donald Eugene Lytle (Johnny Paycheck) - Guitar, harmony vocals
Jack Evins - Steel guitar
Joe Zinkans - Bass
Buddy Harman - Drums
Tommy Jackson - Fiddle
Floyd Cramer - Piano

This track, the photo above and all the session details were borrowed from Bear Family's excellent A Man Like Me CD that compiles all of Miller's recordings from 1957 - 1960 and features Deke Dickerson's liner notes that provide insight into Miller's many talents.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Goober Talks About Roger

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Roger Miller Month: Roy Clark - The Green Green Grass of Home

We posted a couple of different versions of this song by Joe Tex last month, so I thought it only appropriate that we post this Homer and Jethro-esque rewrite of "Green Green Grass of Home", written by Roger & Roy, and performed on the only really good Roy Clark album I know about, Roy Clark Live! on Dot, ca. 1972.

"That's Roger's.  I got it from him. I added a few lines to it but the whole premise of the song was his." Roy Clark

Roger Miller & Thumbs Carlisle

Roger Miller - This Town

"Things are so bad the weeds won't grow"

Monday, March 12, 2012

Roger Miller Month

Oh, so it's answer songs you want, eh?  Here's one from Mr. Mike Sarne

Ruby Wright - "Dern Ya"

    As you may recall, the headmistress of this institution posted Jody Miller's "Queen of the House" a couple of days ago. Ms. Miller is okay, I guess, but she's never been a personal favorite (I prefer Mrs. Miller). And while "female vocalists performing Roger Miller-themed answer records" is not a crowded field, I'm afraid that, to my ears, the best she can hope for is second place.
    I assert that the clear winner in this race would be none other than Ruby Wright, whose destiny would seem to have been predestined, given that she sprang from the loins of Kitty Wells, the singer of perhaps the greatest answer record of all, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels." And of course, her father was none other than Johnnie Wright, of Johnnie and Jack fame (as well as a distinguished solo career). 
     While she had earlier recorded as part of the trio Nita, Rita, & Ruby ("Nita" being Anita Carter and "Rita" being Ruby Winters, sister of Don Winters), and would perform with her parents on stage and on their TV show through the years, Ruby only had one big hit, as featured above. It was written by another scion of Nashville royalty , Justin Tubb (who was an ex-roommate of Roger Miller's!), and was also recorded without chart success by faded '50s pop singer Teresa Brewer.

     While assembling material for my various Miller-related posts for the month, I was going through one of my myriad souvenir booklets of country star photos and discovered a forgotten one with a bunch of autographs on the back page, presumably acquired at an appearance by the Kitty Wells/Johnnie Wright Family Show. They include Ruby, her parents, her brother Bobby Wright, fellow member of their show Bill Phillips, fiddler and Jimmy Martin sideman Vernon Derrick, bass fiddle player Bill Yates (I think this is the right guy) and Chris Warner (this is my least certain I.D., but all of these last three seem to have played with Jimmy Martin , so I imagine he must have been on the bill with them backing him).

Ruby with Bill Phillips

And more, backing up her daddy in a number from SECOND FIDDLE TO A STEEL GUITAR
(Available on DVD from Time/Life!)

     Outside of Bobby's string of hits in the '70s, the family ceased to be a force in the recording industry, but remained popular as a stage act until Kitty and Johnny's retirement in 2000.  Sadly, Ruby never lived to inherit the mantle of "Queen of Country Music," dying in September 2009. Her father followed in 2011, leaving Kitty a widow after nearly 74 years of marriage. Their grandson still maintains their recording studio in Madison, TN.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Jim Reeves Sings Roger Miller

Co-written with Bill Anderson in the back of Roger's station
 wagon on tour in Texas. Title inspired by the 1951 film 
version of the Philip Wylie novel.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Roger Miller & Ray Price

Here's the great Ray Price belting out Invitation To The Blues, featuring some fine harmony vocals from Roger Miller, the song's author. Miller spent a year or so in the Cherokee Cowboys, Price's backing band.

Thanks to Gatorrock787 for the clip. He has the best YouTube channel going. Check it out.