Sunday, August 14, 2011


Editor's note: "The stuff they're calling country music in these moving times lacks a lot of being the real thing," Dad wrote as the introduction to this poem. "If rock is music, horse droppings are vegetables!"

I don't know which book this poem is from -- Dad's sister Olive chose it for publication in the August/September 2011 issue of the Fanfare newsletter from the Brethren Retirement Community in Greenville, Ohio, where he lived for several years. As I read it, I couldn't help recalling the many times he and I sat next to our old floor-model radio listening to the Grand Old Opry when I was a kid. Truth is, though, I have a cheatin' heart; I like the "new" country music too. That said, I certainly understand what he means (are you listening, Hank)?

Nearly fifty years ago,
We still had only radio,
And country music was my cup of tea;
There wasn't anything around
Could beat that Grand Ol' Opry sound,
Those rustic tunes were good enough for me!

Then television came along,
With country music going strong
We took it all in stride, with unconcern;
But then, the sordid sixties came,
For rural rhythm took a hippie turn.

Now we see them on the screen,
Mouthing phrases near obscene,
Interspersed with wail and caterwaul;
The amplifiers boom-de-boom,
As earthquake tremors shake the room;
To call it music takes a lot of gall!

All decked out in costume weird,
Unkempt hair and scraggly beard,
Each one tries to be the most bizarre;
Whether one knows how to sing
Doesn't seem to mean a thing,
A garbage-head can be a superstar!

There's no longer any doubt,
Rock has crowded music out;
The Opry isn't like it was before;
There's nothing I can do about it,
But I can darn well do without it,
For Country isn't country anymore!

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