Friday, December 20, 2013

Like the Dickens

The high school class of 1966, for the most, comprised people born in 1948.  Those people are now 65 and either retired or thinking about being so - or, in some cases, just getting their second wind and not even looking toward the couch-and-cardigan days.

You know what else happened in 1948?  Little Jimmy Dickens joined the Grand Ole Opry, the country music radio show that is the home of nearly every legend in that field.  And he turned 93 years of age yesterday, so our star spotlight shines brightly upon him today.

LJD came from a farm in West Virginia, one of 13 children, so he knows what he's talking about when he sings “A-Sleeping at the Foot of the Bed,” “Out Behind the Barn,” and “Take an Old Cold Tater (And Wait).”  The first describes what happened when kinfolk came for a visit and a dozen or so kids wound up "wrassling for covers" on a cold cold night. "Out Behind the Barn" tells of lessons learned, good and bad, in the shade behind the barn, and "Tater" is all about how it is to be one of 13, reaching for the platter at dinnertime.

It's not enough to say that he is the master of novelty/comedy songs, because Little Jimmy is also the best at breaking your heart with a ballad such as "(Our Love Is Just) Another Bridge to Burn."

Jimmy has traveled the world to entertain the world, and has done the same for plenty of soldiers in wars dating back to Korea.

James Cecil Dickens
I know that country music has changed and that Little Jimmy Dickens represents the old school, with the garish bespangled suits and corny humor.  But he's 93, and the people down at the Opry call him "Our Treasure." Brad Paisley, his fellow West Virginian, reveres him and features him often in concerts and TV shows. It's good to know that Jimmy gets the respect he deserves.  It wouldn't be fair to mention any particular other performer, but I feel that the New Country singers would do well to remember that Little Jimmy says you have to spent a lot of time at the south end of a northbound mule before you can really sing country.

I wish him 93,000 more years of singing and laughing!

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