By John Ruberry

Next week the fiftieth anniversary arrives of the release of the groundbreaking Sweetheart of the Rodeo album by the Byrds..

At the time, however, the collection was a commercial flop and it received mixed reviews.

Byrds leader and lead guitarist Roger McGuinn envisioned the band’s sixth album as an overview of the history of American music. McGuinn was not originally a rocker, he began his preforming career after graduating from Chicago’s Old Town School of Folk Music. But a new member, who was soon to depart, Gram Parsons, urged the band to record a country album. The result was arguably the first country rock album, at least by a major artist, one that also served as an inspiration for the alt-country and Americana genres.

“Eleven trips to the country” is how a radio ad described the work. And Sweetheart’s eleven songs are dominated by banjo, country fiddle, and pedal steel guitar. This was not your older sibling’s Byrds.

The album begins typically for the Byrds, with a Bob Dylan cover, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere.” Dylan’s primary career inspiration was Woody Guthrie and Sweetheart includes a version of his “Pretty Boy Floyd.”

Parsons’ two Sweetheart compositions–one was co-written by a former bandmate–“Hickory Wind” and “One Hundred Years from Now,” offer a contrast to listeners. The first is a traditional country tune. The second ironically is the Byrdsiest–sounding track on the album.

Sweetheart was recorded in the spring of 1968 in Nashville–after which things got interesting. The Byrds managed to score an appearance at the Grand Ole Opry, where these hippies were booed by the straight-laced audience. A deejay covering their concert mocked the band, which inspired McGuinn and Parsons to write a song, “Drug Store Truck Driving Man,” that appeared on the Byrds’ next album.

By that summer Parsons, who some say was not actually full-fledged member of the band but a contract player, quit the act. There are two versions of his departure. One was that he preferred to hang out in London with the Rolling Stones, or that Parsons left to protest the Byrds’ decision to perform in South Africa.

Parsons’ lead vocals on “The Christian Life”, “You Don’t Miss Your Water”, and “One Hundred Years from Now,” were replaced by McGuinn’s on the first two and with Chris Hillman’s along with McGuinn on the latter.

Since 2003 the Parsons leads have been available, but on Spotify only the original release versions play first–you have to scroll down to find Parsons voice up front on those tracks. McGuinn’s take on “The Christian Life” is a sardonic take of this Louvin Brothers song, found on the now infamous, because of its outlandish album artwork, Satan Is Real collection.

Recently McGuinn had this to say about Parsons vocals on that cut. “I was doing almost a satire on it. I was not a Christian at the time,” he remarked. “Back then, it was kind of tongue-in-cheek. I know the Louvin Brothers meant it when they wrote it and sang it. And Gram meant it. He was a little Baptist boy.”

After Sweetheart Hillman bailed on the Byrds and with Parsons formed the highly-influential Flying Burrito Brothers. After two brilliant country rock albums that sold even worse than Sweetheart of the Rodeo, Parsons was booted from the band because of his excessive drug use and overall unreliability. Parsons’ two seminal solo works, also poor sellers, showcased the talents of the then-virtually unknown Emmylou Harris.

Parsons died in 1973 from a drug overdose. The theft of his body and the makeshift cremation of his remains at what is now Joshua Tree National Park is one of the most bizarre tales you will ever hear.

McGuinn and Hillman, two of the three surviving original Byrds members, David Crosby is the third, are currently on a 50th anniversary tour celebrating the release of Sweetheart, which has already included a performance at the Grand Ole Opry.

As Aesop wrote in the Tortoise and the Hare, ‘Slow and steady wins the race.” As that is the case with Gram Parsons and Sweetheart of the Rodeo.

John Ruberry regularly blogs at Marathon Pundit.

pickpocketby baldilocks

From the Federalist, on Christian charity and what it has become thanks to postmodernism.

The Christian creed of caring for the poor often morphs into a call for government to take the reins from industry and private individuals to ensure proper care for the poor. In reality, this is an abdication of responsibility toward that very creed. In effect, it says, “Someone else should do this.”

Obviously, the Catholic Church and various Christian charities have done wonderful work in helping the poor, weak, and downtrodden, as they should. However, the communist and socialist tendency puts the administration of that care into the hands of an all-powerful state bureaucracy, which is not beholden to any higher set of principles or to God. It replaces the priest or the nun with a wage earner at a cubicle desk who is just trying to get through a 40-hour week so he or she can catch the game on Sunday morning rather than crying into a confessional.

Giving into this temptation marks a confusion in Christian heritage between society and the state. The two are not synonymous. Society exists wherever an aggregate of humanity interacts in commerce, culture, shared values, and social interaction. Society is created out of human want and need, and is where individuals pursue those ends in a common arena.

(…)

It is easy to see why [state-mandated charity] is so tempting for Christians and do-gooders in general. Individuals often become frustrated in the limitations of individual or small-group action, and they see the state as having the power to affect the entire population of a country rather than just the few in their immediate area. And, of course, everyone believes he has the best intentions when embarking on his will to power.

In doing so, however, such people fail to grasp the realities and complexities of human life; namely, that not everyone may agree with you. To use the apparatus of the state to trample dissenting viewpoints cannot be seen as anything but immoral.

My favorite part of this phenomenon is when non-Christians try to shame Christians who are against government-mandate charity using a Bible they don’t read as the shame-cudgel.

And I don’t ascribe such altruistic motives for government-mandated charity. Its proponents’ true purpose is simply to multiply plain-old graft opportunities.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s JOB:  Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

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dunce-capby baldilocks

When the time comes for choosing—and the time will come—most of the leftist, pseudo-conservative, and even some real conservative media will convert to Islam. And they will do it for this reason: ignorant pride, along with cowardice. How do I know this? Well, heck I’m just guessing, but I think that ignorance about the spiritual foundation of one’s own culture makes a person prone to accepting those of other cultures–especially when the option of continuing to breathe is on the line.

“What make you say that the leftist and pseudo-conservative media are ignorant about Judeo-Christianity,” I hear you ask.

There have been plenty of unironic examples of this type of ignorance on public display since Christmas. Mostly of it is the result of relying on one’s memory for the important, but not essential details surrounding the birth of Christ.

This doozy from Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Kathleen Parker—noted by Mollie Hemingway–is, however, not the misunderstanding of a minor detail.

One observation. I don’t know… this seems to have slipped through the cracks a little bit but Ted Cruz said something that I found rather astonishing. He said, you know, “It’s time for the body of Christ to rise up and support me.” I don’t know anyone who takes their religion seriously who would think that Jesus should rise from the grave and resurrect himself to serve Ted Cruz. I know so many people who were offended by that comment. And you know if you want to talk about grandiosity and messianic self-imagery I think he makes Ted Cruz makes Donald Trump look rather sort of like a gentle little lamb.

Parker thinks Jesus is dead and has no clue what the term ‘body of Christ’ means.

Ponder that for a bit.

I may be wrong, but I think that Parker is emblematic of those who the mainstream media entities employ and reward. And I think all her offended friends are emblematic of the rest of Organized Left. Conversion by the sword to Islam will not matter to those who don’t really know anything about the terms of their alleged salvation in the first place.

With their necks on the line, they’ll deny Christ and will not understanding the significance of that act of volition. After all, what’s the big deal about denying a dead guy?

I contend that there will be a lot of people in Hell who are too stupid to figure out how they ended up there.

Juliette Akinyi Ochieng blogs at baldilocks. (Her older blog is located here.) Her first novel, Tale of the Tigers: Love is Not a Game, was published in 2012. Her second novel, tentatively titled, Arlen’s Harem, will be done in 2016. Follow her on Twitter.

Please contribute to Juliette’s Projects JOB: HER TRIP TO KENYA! Her new novel, her blog, her Internet to keep the latter going and COFFEE to keep her going!

Or hit Da Tech Guy’s Tip Jar in the name of Independent Journalism—->>>>baldilocks

by baldilocks

With scandal, after scandal, after scandal, after scandal being perpetrated by the Obama Administration—wording intentional–I thought that I would finally take the time to address an issue regarding the reaction to Obama’s acknowledged Kenyan Luo heritage—a heritage which I share.

For the last six years, it seems that everything that Barack Obama has touched or touted fails and that has included the institutions of this country. One might conclude that President Obama’s touch on the very country itself is causing it to fail.

But, the widespread demonization of the Luo tribe of Kenya—that it is an Arab Muslim tribe of slavers– cannot be blamed on the president. (The tribe exists in significant numbers in Uganda and Tanzania as well.)

It seems like a long time ago but I most certainly remember the origin of the notion that Barack Hussein Obama is 50% white, 6.25% black African and 43.75% Arab. It came from a man named Kenneth E. Lamb. Lamb laid out a meandering blog post, sans references, on how he allegedly found this information. I recall sending him an email and commenting on his post. Both my responses refuted his findings and I found it interesting that he had no linked sources to back up his claims. So when I was contemplating this post, I went looking for Mr. Lamb’s post and, lo and behold, the post has been deleted. Perhaps Mr. Lamb had an attack of conscience—though deletion smacks more of cover-up.  But, the damage—the Blood Libeling of the Luo Tribe—had been set in motion. There is always the Web Archive, however, and thank God for it.

From February 2008: Continue reading “The Blood Libeling of the Luo Tribe of Kenya”