Oklahoma Rock and Roll: Show #14
Saturday Night – Sunday Morning
On this week’s show, we make the connection between Saturday night and Sunday morning. Probably the most important of any and all of the roots of rock and roll is Gospel music and the church. And I suppose an argument could be made that, throughout history, confessions, donations, and re-dedications have all been boosted significantly by Saturday night honky tonk shenanigans. The show kicks off with one of my favorite records by Tulsa icon, Jimmy “Junior” Markham, called “Lipstick, Powder, and Paint.” I got so excited, I picked up and plugged up my electric guitar and hit a lick. Markham is an important part of the show, with a great interview describing the recording days at Leon Russell’s place “up on Skyhill Drive.” One of our very favorite Oklahoma Rock & Roll family members is R&B guitar player and singer Jimmy Liggins, originally from Newby, Oklahoma. Jimmy makes a health contribution this week with three songs that get to the heart of the subject at hand: “Saturday Night Boogie Woogie Man,” “Drunk,” and “I Ain’t Drunk.” Admittedly, we get a little sidetracked riding some horses, checking the cattle, and listening to cowboy songs. Along with Roy Rogers, a man named Tim Spencer (from Picher, Oklahoma) was a founding member of The Sons of the Pioneers – the most famous cowboy singers in history. Warning: I sang along a little on their tune, “Tumbling Tumbleweeds.” Sam Cooke gets our theme back on track with “Another Saturday Night.” Barney Kessel plays guitar on that record. Our newest member of the family, Billy Hughes, debuts with a couple of songs that seem to have been written just for this week’s show: “The Out of Town Boogie” and “Atomic Sermon.” It’s so hard to beat those old records, and it’s so hard to believe that anybody as great as Jimmy (or Joe) Liggins and Billy Hughes could have “passed out of favor” and fallen off the radar screen. Both of Billy’s records are just as could as they could be. “Atomic Sermon” says… “You better stop those scientists from researchin’ because they’ve done gone too far…” Also, this important question/point: “If God wanted us to go to Mars… Why did he put it so far away?” And then, it’s on to the Oklahoma History lesson in Gospel music with the story of “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” – performed by the Fisk Jubilee Singers, as well as Eric Clapton and his band of Okies. Leonard Cohen, perhaps surprisingly to some, shows up with his iconic song “Hallelujah.” Bass player and yodeler, John Crowder, tells tales of both Leonard Cohen and the Coen Brothers. “Well, hell yes… I happen to be an expert yodeler.” From honky tonk Saturday nights to Sunday morning church service to yodeling across Arizona… What more could you ask for? Oh, I know…Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman! Loretta (aka Mary Kay Place) is on the show too. That is indeed something to brag about.