Friday, November 25, 2011

Jukebox Jive

The Dive was my home away from home, home bein' the USS Duluth (LPD-6).
Home was at Todd Shipyards, Long Beach, for refurbishing, circa 1980.
It smelled like haze gray paint dust, the acrid burnin' of welding, and B.O. to name a few of the more fascinating odors.

Hey, I'm not one of those putzes that think my shit don't stink 'cause it does.
It's just that I tend to lose my fascination for these specific fascinating odors rather quickly.
It's not personal or nothin'. Just somethin' that crews in the yards hafta put up with.

Needless to say I spent all my off time at a Dive located at the Pike, which had seen better days.
I picked this particular dive because they had a jukebox with decent tunes and a pool table or two.

The Dive had an interesting clientel. Sailors, cowboys, kickers, bikers and shipyard workers.
Heh. Like I said, it was very interesting and not a nice place for the faint of heart.
Although there was at least one fight a night it was, all things considered, relatively peaceful there.
I mean, there were some unwritten but strongly enforced rules.

Anyone brandishing a knife, brass knuckles, a club, etc., could expect a baseball bat over the head by the owner of The Dive.
That is, if the concerned citizens in the immediate area didn't beat the shit out of the perp first.

The owner preferred anyone wantin' to fight to take it outside, and many did.
But sometimes there was a spontaneous fight and it was usually over before anyone could say "take it outside."

I'm not sure why I felt sort of at home there. Or as much as I could feel at home.
Hell, 31 years later I still don't feel completely at home at home, but I do have more of a peace of mind than I used to.

Anyways, there was some odd quirks about The Dive and the nice folks that hung out there.
One of those quirks was a singalong.

Okay, no one dared call it that out loud, but it was true...when some songs, not many, played on the jukebox. A jukebox chock full of a mixture of country, rock, country rock, hard rock, easy rock, blues, etc.. And virtually all of them were good songs. Whoever picked them out (probably the owner) had a good ear.

Two that immediately spring to mind were David Allan Coe songs.

Now, Coe was considered (and still is) the most outlawy singer outlaw there was/is.
He's an ex-con, he's never been accused of bein' politically correct, and he's wrote some purty controversial songs (to put it mildly).
Some have called him a racist, but it's a weak accusation considering he got in several fights in prison for having a black friend not to mention his drummer is black.

Anyone that thinks Coe is a racist would hafta call most rap singers and black comedians racist too for using the same words.
I think those who call him racist miss the forest for the trees and are too caught up on certain blacklisted words (words he grew up with), and blaclisted only if a white guy uses them.
Context is important. What is Coe actually sayin' in his controversial songs?

I bet those who accuse him of racism have no idea, 'cause after seeing that one word they are blind to everything else.
Why don't they accuse black artists of racism for sayin' cracker or cracka?
Ain't those non pc words? Bunch of hypocrites is why.
Be that as it may, I don't feel oppressed or insulted if someone calls me a cracker and I even laugh at some of the context it's performed in.

In response to the racist accusations Coe said: "anyone who listens to my songs and thinks I'm a racist is full of shit."

These two songs ain't what I would call controversial. At least not by any true sense of the word. Although they may hurt the delicate sensibilities of the pc gustapos.
Here they are:

Whatever you might think about Coe he could definitely write some good that a lot of folks will sing along to.

Surprisingly, most of my fellow beer tastin' patrons could carry a tune.
Those who couldn't were...ahem, "encouraged" to whisper the words.
Those who couldn't take the not so subtle hints to not sing along got there ass kicked in an orderly fashion.
The system worked and everyone enjoyed the singalongs.

Long Haired Redneck

Country deejays knows that I'm an outlaw
They'd never come to see me in this dive
Where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughing at the hippies
Who are praying they'll get outta here alive

The loud mouth in the corner's gettin' to me
Talking 'bout my earrings and my hair
I guess he ain't read the signs that say I been to prison
Someone ought to warn him 'fore I knock him off his chair

'Cause my longhair just can't cover up my red neck
I've won every fight, I've ever fought
Hey, I don't need some turkey telling me that I ain't country
And sayin' I ain't worth the damned ol' ticket that he bought

'Cause I can sing all them songs about Texas
And I still do all the sad ones that I know
They tell me, I look like Merle Haggard
And sound a lot like David Allan Coe

And the bar maid in the last town that we played in
Knew the words to every song I'd wrote
She said, Jimmy Rabbit turned her on to my last album
Just about the time the jukebox broke

Yeah, Johny Cash helped me get out of prison
Long before Rodriguez stole that goat
I've been the Rhinestone Cowboy for so long, I can't remember
And I can do you every song, Hank Williams ever wrote

And I can sing all them songs about Texas
And I still do all the sad ones that I know
I can't help it, I look like Merle Haggard
And I sound a lot like David Allan Coe

But the country deejays, all think I'm an outlaw
And they'd never come to see me in this dive
Where bikers stare at cowboys who are laughing at the hippies
Who are praying they'll get out of here alive

The loud mouth in the corner's gettin' to me
Talking 'bout my earrings and my hair...

You Never Even Called Me By My Name

It was all that I could do to keep from cryin'
Sometimes it seems so useless to remain
You don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even call me by my name.

You don't have to call me Waylon Jennings
And you don't have to call me Charlie Pride.
You don't have to call me Merle Haggard, anymore.
Even though your on my fightin' side.

And I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standin' in the rain.
You don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even call me by my name.

I've heard my name a few times in your phone book
I've seen it on signs where I've laid
But the only time I know, I'll hear David Allan Coe
Is when Jesus has his final judgement day.

Well, a friend of mine named Steve Goodman wrote that song
and he told me it was the perfect country and western song
I wrote him back a letter and told him it was NOT the perfect
country and western song because he hadn't said anything about
Momma, or trains, or trucks, or prison, or gettin' drunk.
Well, he sat down and wrote another verse to the song and he sent
it to me and after reading it, I realized that my friend had written
the perfect country and western song. And I felt obliged to include it
on this album. The last verse goes like this here:

Well, I was drunk the day my Mom got outta prison.
And I went to pick her up in the rain.
But, before I could get to the station in my pickup truck
She got runned over by a damned old train.

So I'll hang around as long as you will let me
And I never minded standin' in the rain. No,
You don't have to call me darlin', darlin'
You never even call me, I wonder why you don't call me
Why don't you ever call me by my name.

Come to think of it, these singalongs that no one would ever call singalongs in The Dive made it a fun place to drink.
If it weren't for the songs on that jukebox there would've be a helluva lot more fights.


John Lien said...

Nice story Ben. I know like 0, zip, nada, about country music but when you mentioned David Allen Coe first thing that came to mind was "I was drunk the day my mom got out of prison..."

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks John!

At that time I wasn't a big country music fan, mostly liking rock instead, but I did like some of the country singers like Waylon, Cash and Coe since they weren't "just" country.

This also applies to bands like Marshall Tucker Band, The Outlaws, Pure Prairie League, Lynyrd Skynyrd, and even the Eagles to some extent.

I think most of their music was cosmic American or American cosmic, as Gram Parsons called it.

Yeah, that last verse of that song is classic, lol.
Good beer drinkin' song.

I forgot to mention it, although it's obvious to most, that there's a lot of humor in most of Coe's songs.
At least the one's I have heard.

I haven't heard a lot of his underground stuff so I can't comment on that.
And the dirty stuff he did ain't my thing. It would be nice if he stuck with American cosmic and maybe he has gone back. I haven't listened to any of his new stuff.

Hard to believe Coe is 72 now.

Joan of Argghh! said...

"He stopped loving her today" is still the epitome of country songs.


USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Hi Joan!

Aye, can't argue with that. That's a sad and yet uplifting song all at the same time. One of the best kind!

I reckon there are quite a few perfect country Cosmo-American songs. :^)

mushroom said...

That's a great story. Thanks, Ben.

I have to admit that I break into "You Never Even Called Me By My Name" from time to time while out on the tractor. Diesel tractors and vacuum cleaners seem tuned to my key.

I alternate with a little bit of "Mexican Blackbird" and all of "Slewfoot".

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Thanks Mushroom!

Aye! It's interesting how the tone of machinery can spark a song.
Sometimes, when it's quiet my tinnitus does that too.
Right now I have harmonizing tinnitus. Now if I can only get it to play a song it wouldn't be quite as irritating. :^)

I remember Ole Slewfoot, lol! Good choice!

I don't recall Mexican Blackbird but I'm sure I have heard it since it's done by ZZ Top.
I only got a few of their records and that's not on it.

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