1. Rob Grigjanis says

    That is a great song. I’m not a huge country fan either, but there have been some songs that cross all boundaries. One example that came out a year earlier: “Ode to Billie Joe” by Bobbie Gentry.

  2. consciousness razor says

    I haven’t heard that one in a long time. I don’t listen to much country either.

    +1 to the dude jamming on the dobro. (Probably Jerry G. Kennedy, but for all I know, it could be someone else in that video.) There’s just no song without that. It has a really nice tone. That twang is just what it needs, not the super-clean sound of the pedal steel guitars that you usually hear.

    But -1 for the jacket. That’s just how it is. I don’t write the rules.

  3. consciousness razor says

    Yeah, it works nicely with the violin in that one too. Plenty of sliding and smearing notes that way, with a variety of colors.

  4. consciousness razor says

    By the way…. Looks like it was Harold Morrison in the video instead. (A youtube comment and some light googling seem to confirm that.) The allmusic credits from my link in #2 only apply to the album. Not sure which TV show that was.

  5. mnb0 says

    Wow, those two modulations couldn’t have been more predictable.
    I don’t care about lyrics. Write them down and read them, I say.

  6. blf says

    That song — and also the beforementioned Ode to Billy Joe and a few others — had a massive impact when I was growing up in California. As which some other impactful songs, the impact is perhaps more in the lyrics than the (perhaps especially original?) performance(s), other examples might include Bruce Cockburn’s If I Had a Rocket Launcher (video), and Jack Warshaw’s If They Come in the Morning (aka No Time for Love) (video). Both performances I’ve linked-to have faults (especially the second), but in both cases, as well as Harper Valley PTA, it’s the lyrics which make the song. In the case of the second, Christy Moore (most notably with Moving Hearts) covered an earlier version of Mr Warsaw’s song; Mr Cockburn’s song was notably covered by Alias Ron Kavana.

  7. Mano Singham says


    I had never heard about a ‘dobro’ until your comment. I had thought he was playing a guitar Hawaiian style..

  8. consciousness razor says

    Well, that’s kind of what it is…. Early on, that was just a brand name, but it’s taken on a more generic meaning even though ones like that were produced by lots of other guitar makers, like saying “Xerox” in place of the word “photocopy.”

    However, it’s a resonator guitar, which distinguishes it from various other types of guitars. As far as equipment goes, there’s also the “bar” used for sliding (not a pick, fingers, etc.), which makes a big difference too. And like I was saying above, it can also be a very different beast from other types of steel guitars because it counts as one of those too (and those are themselves a rather diverse lot).

    If you ask me, it’s best not to think of that sort of thing as a “style” (with a geographical origin) or something like that, because it really is about the physical features of the objects themselves and thus the types of sounds that those are able to produce, which may not be possible with some other object (even if it does superficially look fairly similar). Some people take their gear very seriously and make lots of fine-grained distinctions about all kinds of stuff like that. Guitarists maybe aren’t the worst offenders, although they’re certainly prone to it…. I guess that’s not really how I am for the most part, but when it comes to some useful shorthands/nicknames like “dobro,” I’m happy to adopt those.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *