Friday, April 23, 2010

My Country Music Education... Charlie Brown's Jukebox.

A few years after I made the original Charley Brown's Jukebox,  I had a few "fans" ask me to do a
"CBJ" 2. Technically, there are some songs in number 2 that I had acquired since the first tape or just couldn't fit on the original discography, so it didn't harm the "concept" of the original tape. The "juke box" now has 79 country tunes in it, which would amount to three cassette tapes. 

Charley Brown's Jukebox was about living in the home of jazz and R&B and being exposed to country music only through this bar that I visited as a twelve and thirteen year old kid ordering lunch for my dad and his two  other "employees". The food was always good, but the service was slow, so I got to hear lots of tunes.

As you remember,  programming the tape was a pain. It was the research and juxtaposition of songs in a mini concept that was so much fun. The physical act of placing it on tape was tedious and too much like what I do for a living. Many of those songs were of the "crying in your beer type". After all,  Charlie Brown's bar was barroom that was dark, moody and kinda smelly with lots of patrons leaning over their beer as they confide with the bartender, who very well could have been Charlie Brown, himself. To a teenager, the smell of red beans and rice or poor boys and stale beer, the sad songs, mostly in minor keys, and the sights of people, who became a fixture there everyday, made those songs all the more intriguing and added a little something to it that many people today just don't think much about. Ron, it's guys like you that understand and appreciate those times so well, that make life so rich... thanks!


  1. Gee, you were thirteen so that makes me...6 months old! HA! I don't have any country music roots. I equate country music with Hee Haw which was always on daytime tv when I was a kid. It's a prejudice that's hard to overcome. But I do LOVE your sketch and wish you'd draw a New Orleans music one. Perhaps jukebox in a Barq's bottle! Cool idea! Sketch Barq's, it's good!

  2. Hey Bets, I've gotten more response from Charley Brown's juke box tape than any of the cassette tapes I ever made for clients and friends. I guess with the economy, people have more reasons to cry in their beer. I know I do! It is not so much the lyrics, which I know you are into, it's the music and the mood. That Nashville sound that Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard, Waylon Jennings and such rebelled against incorporated so many great musicians like Floyd Cramer, Chet Atkins, Vassar Clements,
    Johnny Gimble, Boots Randolph, Bill Justis, the Jordanaires, Anita Kerr Singers,etc.

    Chet Atkins always said it was about the money, but it actually was about the mood. To me, it had a lounge lizard vibe but in country music.

  3. Six months old, eh? Yeh,during that one summer I used to stay with Dad at night while he worked the gas station. He said he had me there to "protect" him, but I once fell asleep on the floor of the office and woke up to find that Dad had been robbed while I was sleeping. I think that was "the straw" besides having to pay to have the station sign changed from Bay, to Spur, to Tenneco all within the few years he owned the station! Charlie Brown's was one of the good memories of that time, for me!