Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Music Break - Brits Play Country

While the American style of music called rock and roll has spread to just about all parts of the globe, American country music seems to have mostly stayed home.  Even so, a few British artists have recorded an occasional country song, or something that sounds like country.  One example is Led Zeppelins's Hot Dog, from their 1978 album In Through The Out Door.  Guitarist Jimmy Page starts the song off, followed by singer Robert Plant reciting the song's name.  Multi-instrumentalist John Paul Jones then takes over with some honky-tonk piano.

In 1974, Paul McCartney and Wings spent some time in Nashville, Tennessee, known as "Music City" for being a center for the country music industry.  For the b-side of their non-album single Junior's Farm, they recorded the country song Sally G, which mentions Nashville by name.  They were joined in the studio by a fiddle player and a steel guitar player.  The thumbnail picture shows Linda McCartney (keyboards), Denny Laine (guitar, etc.) and Paul McCartney (bass, etc.), standing from left to right, Jimmy McCulloch (lead guitar) seated left, and Geoff Britton (drums) seated right.  During the recording of the band's subsequent album Venus and Mars,  Britton quit and was replaced by Joe English.

McCartney's earlier group, the Beatles, recorded Act Naturally, written by Johnny Russell and Voni Morrison and first recorded by Buck Owens.  (The song was really written by Russell alone.  He and Morrison had an agreement to share songwriting credits no matter which of the two actually wrote any particular song.  This arrangement was very similar to the partnership between John Lennon and Paul McCartney.)  Ringo Starr sings the lead vocal on the Beatles version, which was released as the b-side to Yesterday.  Years layer, Starr and Owens recorded a duet version.  Here's a live version by the Beatles, subtitled in Spanish:

On their 1971 album Sticky Fingers, the Rolling Stones included Dead Flowers.  Singer Mick Jagger plays acoustic guitar, while Keith Richards and Mick Taylor provide lead guitar fills.  Taylor plays the guitar solo.  The band's longtime friend Ian Stewart plays the piano.

The last number is probably the most country-flavored song I've ever heard from Fleetwood Mac.  Their 1971 album Future Games includes Sometimes, written and sung by guitarist Danny Kirwan.  The acoustic rhythm guitar, Kirwan's leads and Christine McVie's piano contribute to the country feel of the song.

Wait a minute.  It seems that the copyright nazis have suddenly gotten to this one.  I've listen to the YouTube video more times than I can remember, but now that I want to put it into a "Music Break" post, it's not available.  For the time being, I'll end the post here, but will add a fifth song if I can find one that fits the post's theme.  Meanwhile, enjoy the four songs in the videos above.

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