I grew up in a country home. This is not a reference to location, though I suppose it was countryish being an acreage on the edge of town surrounded by the sweet and not so sweet aromas of farms. No, my home was country in a music sense. Country and Western, in fact, would be more accurate.
Country AND Western
My parents are ardent country music fans and of classic country at that. Of course, when I was a kid in the 70s this classic country music was just current country music. Mom’s more country and Dad’s definitely more western (Sons of the Pioneers anyone?) but both would heartily agree that country music is best. Needless to say my memories of carefree summer days are filled with the sounds of The Oak Ridge Boys and Conway Twitty rather than The Beatles and The Rolling Stones.
For a few years I was simply too young to care but as I approached my teens this musical situation was of considerable concern to me. Eventually, thanks to my ever trusty clock radio and the freedom of my Walkman, I was able to eliminate this uncool music from my auditory menu. I may no longer have listened to it but it never fully left my being. As the years have passed and I now find myself a middle-aged parent, memories of those old country songs and those summer days playing in my parents’ backyard are both warm and welcome.
In those memories, there is one group that stands apart from all the others. I think it’s safe to say they are my parents’ favourite musical performers with both country mom and western dad loving their comforting harmonies and nostalgic songbook. They are, of course, The Statler Brothers; a band even the most hardened rock lover has likely heard of thanks to the inclusion of their biggest hit song, “Flowers on the Wall”, in the Pulp Fiction soundtrack.
I have to admit that I’m a Statler Brothers fan too. Tugging at heartstrings can weaken even the most devoted electric guitar fan. There are many Statler Brothers songs that I know by heart and shamelessly enjoy. Many are surprisingly upbeat and have been known to inspire some rather regrettable shower performances. Heck, Thank You World even has an admittedly rock ‘n’ roll riff to it.
But the song that I like best is one that has practically zero nostalgic relevance to my own life. It’s about a man reminiscing about past loves and the one that surpassed all the others; like I said, not much in common with the ole Legend. Still, it’s a terrific song and my favourite Statler Brothers song. A band that always makes me think of my Mom and Dad.
So in honour of my parents’ 47th wedding anniversary in two days, I’m kicking off your weekend with a gem from The Statler Brothers 1974 release Sons of the Motherland called “Susan When She Tried”.