Friday, 13 November 2009

Drivin' Nails in My Coffin

God, I used to love seeing The Country Rockers live, and I listened to this album obsessively when I was in Japan in 1988 - 90. Doug Easley had kindly sent me a copy of it (it was recorded at his studio, of course) on cassette, and on the flip-side was an interview Robert Gordon had conducted with the band, mainly Sam Baird (guitar, vocals) and Gaius Farnham, a.k.a. Ringo (drums, vocals). As I recall, Sam spent some considerable time talking about how wrestling was probably fake, while Gaius complained about the sizes of buttons on his shirts - he had very short fingers, which is where the nickname "Ringo" apparently came from, way before the lovable Liverpudlian - or so it was claimed. There was more to it than that, but those are my stand-out memories. I also recall Ron Easley (a.k.a. Durand Mysterion, bass, vocals, guitar) recounting how he had discovered Sam and Gaius (who I think was about 74 at the time this track was recorded) playing in some strange bar in South Memphis somewhere, and decided to take them under his wing. Thank God he did, because they were an absolute delight. This was about as real and elemental as music has ever come, in my book. Sam played a strange, cheap, generic electric guitar which I think I can recall seeing in the pages of a Fred P. Gattas catalogue as a kid, and apparently used to cut his guitar picks out of the tops of the plastic lids on Folgers Coffee cans. Gaius once told me he hadn't changed the heads on his drums (which were sheepskin) since the early 1960s. "There Stands the Glass" and "Barrooms to Bedrooms" were always my favorites, but this will more than do - even better that the TV Sam is watching in the video belonged to my friend John McClure. (The notes to the video on the YouTube site are enlightening. It turns out that the young Oriental women seen with the band sporadically in the closing seconds of the video, backstage at CBGB's, are none other than Shonen Knife.)

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