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Yes, I remember the night...
October 8, 2008 8:15 AM   Subscribe


 
Oh, and... sing it yourself!
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:16 AM on October 8, 2008


wonnerful wonnerful wonnerful
posted by Stonestock Relentless at 8:17 AM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Nice post, but I think that the Louvin Brothers cut is 'more country' than Hank Williams Jrs version.

The Alma Cogan version remains my favourite though -- probably because it was the first I ever heard.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:21 AM on October 8, 2008


thanks...I can never listen to that song by anyone every again ...
posted by Postroad at 8:22 AM on October 8, 2008


Well, the Louvin Brothers are sure great, Peter, and I wish I'd found a link to their version.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:23 AM on October 8, 2008


thanks...I can never listen to that song by anyone every again ...

Hahahaha! You're so welcome! And please, stop by anytime!

BTW, I'm not 100% sure, but I think every version in this FPP is in the SAME KEY, which is kind of remarkable. I couldn't be bothered with determining that for certain, though.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 8:26 AM on October 8, 2008


And that Pee Wee King/Redd Stewart clip is awesome. One of the best things about YouTube is all of the ancient GrandOldOpry/HeeHaw footage that's never really been screened outside the US

Also: I'd really love to see someone do this kind of comparative post with versions of Jolie Blon (hint, hint.).
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:27 AM on October 8, 2008


I don't see the emmylou harris version, but I couldn't find it on youtube either.

I did find out how to do the dance, though, so my search was not utterly bootless.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 8:33 AM on October 8, 2008


Wot? No Anne Murray? TRAVESTY!

...says my mother, who's a big fan.
posted by Sparx at 8:34 AM on October 8, 2008


Awsome post, thanks. The Billy J. Kramer & the Dakotas version is way cool. The first Chiemi Eri version is beautiful.
posted by dougzilla at 8:43 AM on October 8, 2008


One of the best things about this song is that it's so weirdly recursive.

So she goes to the dance and her friend steals her boyfriend. Now she's recalling it...they did this dance, but it wasn't a happy swingy twostep, no, it was this slow, sad, almost European thing. It was called the Tennessee Waltz, because they were in Tennessee. Now the singer is remembering it, and remembering, sings a sad, slow song about it. And she calls it the Tennessee Waltz. But in actuality, no such dance existed before the song. She (or rather He, Roy Acuff ) is the author of his own failure, enacting the loss as he recreates it, and presumably visiting his sorrow on countless dancehalls around the south, and the world, forever and ever. One of the better metasongs I've ever heard. cf Your Song, This Song, a million others. Thanks, Mr. Jax.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 9:04 AM on October 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


needs Ernest Tubb. can't find a recording online, but I find this print account.

Pee Wee's account:
"We also had some trouble over the song with my good friend Ernest Tubb. He recorded "The Tennessee Waltz" with the Short Brothers and released it. He also had his publishing company issue a pirated sheet music version. Ernest didn't get our permission to do any of that, either to record it or publish it. He just took the song as his own. We were flabbergasted! Not only had he not gotten our permission, he had not even given us credit... we had to bring suit to protect our property."

"It was all a big stink, and I didn't like it at all. But it had to be done. It was the Lawyers and Publishers fighting it out, and we remained friends with Ernest throughout the lawsuit."... "What it amounted to was a stalemate. The lawyers on both sides suggested we pull back, and we agreed. The case would have dragged on for years, and only the lawyers would have won."

"I've never heard the Short Brothers recordings. I don't know how it sounded, and I don't want to know."

posted by ilovemytoaster at 9:24 AM on October 8, 2008


Hem does a nice cover on No Word From Tom.
posted by eriko at 9:34 AM on October 8, 2008


Good memories. When I was in high school marching band, we used this song as a closer to one of our shows. Yes, we marched to a waltz. It's harder than you think.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 9:55 AM on October 8, 2008


My favorite version is David Bromberg's, but I can't even find a sound recording.
posted by rakish_yet_centered at 10:15 AM on October 8, 2008


My faves: Chiemi Eri (dancing), Eva Cassidy (see), and Leonard Cohen (him) who breaks "sweetheart" in two ("...stole my sweet heart from me.") Thanks, flapjax.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 10:17 AM on October 8, 2008


flapjax at midnite: great collection. I can't play them all right after each other, but I've started off with Otis Redding and will insert one into today's playlist every half hour or so 'til I get through 'em.

Potomac Avenue: I'd be extremely interested in seeing a post on meta songs. Would you have any interest in putting that together?
posted by batmonkey at 10:22 AM on October 8, 2008


I prefer Holly Cole's version, but I don't see it on youtube. Here's a clip on iLike
posted by zarah at 10:47 AM on October 8, 2008


I got a funky soul version by Little Royal on 45.
posted by bonefish at 10:50 AM on October 8, 2008


I'm remembering that Van Dyke Parks did a lovely version, but I can't seem to find it anywheres.

Great post, BTW.
posted by pxe2000 at 10:55 AM on October 8, 2008


bat: Sure! I'll dig around and see if it's been done before. It's pretty hard to make a good one though. Most dance songs are meta-songs, and many meta-songs are about writing a song, or elements of the song, but very few explore the mimetic possibilities as sweetly as this one. But then, ain't nobody did it like Acuff-Rose.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 11:13 AM on October 8, 2008


HappyFunSmile at the New York Buddhist Temple. I'm wearing the green shirt.
posted by billtron at 11:15 AM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


I don't care how good any of these versions are, you have not truly experienced this song until you've been in a small bar in Yokosuka, Japan with a drunk salaryman at a karaoke machine singing it right to you.
posted by JT at 11:20 AM on October 8, 2008


Of all the posts I wasn't expecting Natsukawa Rimi to show up in! Random. Cool post, thank you!

(She's interesting: One of Japan's only non-skinny music stars. Promotes Okinawanan/Ryukyuan culture [different from mainstream Japanese culture]. I think she designs her own clothes or something... I actually prefer her when she plays sanshin as well as sings. And she can really sing without studio processing, unlike a lot of Japan's pop stars. Here are a few more songs performed by her: Tinsagu nu hana, an Okinawan-Hawaiian medley with Jake Shimagbukuro, Ai yo, ai yo, and her most famous, Nada sou sou. Plus, I think she's cute.)

OK, derail over, carry on waltzing! And now I'll have the Tennessee Waltz stuck in my head ALL DAY.
posted by wintersweet at 11:29 AM on October 8, 2008 [2 favorites]


Thirty-eight links. Is this a record? How long did it take you to assemble the post, Mr. flapjax?
posted by Cranberry at 11:37 AM on October 8, 2008


One of the best things about this song is that it's so weirdly recursive.

The song was originally written in response to Bill Monroe's much less successful Kentucky Waltz (not Bill).
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:45 PM on October 8, 2008


Thanks PeterM. Irony upon irony: The Bill Monroe song says "I was the boy who was lucky." It's a straight up romance narrative, "We danced, it ruled, now I'm remembering it."

It's a bit more cheerful of a song too, at least in the couple youtube versions I just found. Wistful rather than devastated.

So you're telling me that Roy heard this song, thought you smug bastard i never got the girl like that...OK well eat hot bitterness! wrote a much better song about getting jilted, and subsequently blew the original out of the water popularity-wise...this is what you're saying?

Maybe there's a little regional rivalry in there too, Tennessee vs Kentucky, bluegrass vs country, High and Lonesome vs Grand Old Opry.

But that's just speculatin' on a hypothesis.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 1:21 PM on October 8, 2008


There is a song called "the brand new Tennesee Waltz" which has the line "literally dancing on air." Does anyone know the artist or album for that song?
posted by ohshenandoah at 1:35 PM on October 8, 2008


Flapjax, when someone goes to this much trouble, I want 'em to know that I listened to them all. Every damned one of 'em. (I don't feel much like working today.)

Something about this song really brings out the cheese, but I quite enjoyed hearing these covers:

Yao Lee -- This song sounds strangely appropriate rendered in Chinese. This clip reminds me of tuning in strange signals on the shortwave radio when I was a kid.

Sonny Rollins
-- Jerome Harris takes a tasty solo and does some nice work getting a 'faux steel' sound on the strat.

Otis Redding -- This is a virtual self-cover of I've Been Loving You Too Long.

ASU Marching Band -- Nice, but those marching band guys just can't resist ending everything on that amen cadence.

Billy J Kramer -- Cheesy staging lights reveal. . . how many unplugged guitars? The real Dakotas are all to house right of Billy J. and appear to be actually playing (though it sounds like they're supported by a playback).

Those guys in back with 'drums' and 'guitars'? They're go-go dancers.

Tennessee Waltz? March? Foxtrot? Rhumba?
These covers are definitely not all in the same key, nor are they all playing this waltz in waltz time. Apropos of your AskMeFi about covers in a dfferent time signature from the original. . .

Not at all in waltz time : Billy J Kramer, Alma Cogan, Kikki Danielsson, Ireen Sheer, Jerry Fuller, Sam Cooke, Curley Chalker, Les Paul

Straightforward waltz time: Pee Wee King, Patti Page, Patsy Cline, Sonny Rollins,Chiemi Eri, Hank Williams, Jr. Yao Lee, Otis Redding, Elvis Presley, Connie Francis, Eva Cassidy, Rimi Natsukawa, Leonard Cohen, ASU Marching Band, Lamar Alexander, Mills Bros.,Tom Jones/Chieftains, Austin A. Preston

Not-so-straightforward triple time: Vanilla Mood (a 'jazz waltz' in 6/8), Thai Hien (very odd time -- polyrythmic? 12/4?), Norah Jones (a very loose triple time -- 6/4?)

Cheers.
posted by Herodios at 1:37 PM on October 8, 2008


leonard cohen's added verse takes the song from a schmaltzy old standard to a new tune, unusually fine.
posted by kitchenrat at 3:19 PM on October 8, 2008


Flapjax you blow my mind man. I had no idea anyone in Japan had ever heard the song let alone performed it. Really fun post.
posted by nola at 4:03 PM on October 8, 2008


you crazy flapjax
posted by ejoey at 5:14 PM on October 8, 2008


Ahhhh...love that tune. I played it solo on my trombone on camera during the '89 Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade. It was 20 degrees outside, snow on the ground, and quite miserable, but for a high school kid, it was a lifetime highlight.

/yeah, I was a band geek.
posted by rhythim at 5:15 PM on October 8, 2008


Hey, any post involving the Louvin Bros. is good in my book.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 6:21 PM on October 8, 2008


Come back, Patsy. Come back & sing to me.
posted by Devils Rancher at 6:53 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Forget ye not the related song Tennessee Ball by the Rudy Schwartz Project [many free and authorized mp3s here, official but mininal site here, wayback archive of official site here].
posted by eccnineten at 8:57 PM on October 8, 2008 [1 favorite]


Good memories. When I was in high school marching band, we used this song as a closer to one of our shows. Yes, we marched to a waltz. It's harder than you think.
posted by 1f2frfbf at 11:55 AM on October 8


Holy cow, we did that too, and I had forgotten about it till this moment.

It received thunderous applause, and usually a standing ovation, every time we hit the big push. We played the first part of the song facing away from the stands, and then the whole band turned around and the volume increased about 600%. You had 150 people marching straight toward the sideline blowing their heads off.

People in the stands cried.

Of course, this was in Tennessee, so we were shooting fish in a barrel. It was still powerful.

It was one of the few times in about 8 years of marching (secondary school and college) that I actually felt like the people in the stands gave 2 shits about what was going on.
posted by Ynoxas at 10:58 PM on October 8, 2008 [3 favorites]


Great stuff, good job!
posted by micklaw at 4:08 AM on October 9, 2008


I hear a lot of people bemoan the fact that songs with US Geographical references are 'cooler' than songs that refer to other places... and I guess this tune is a case in point.

Would it have worked as the Gloucestershire waltz? I guess not.
posted by chuckdarwin at 5:24 AM on October 9, 2008


Figured that all out on your own, didja?
posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 2:52 PM on October 9, 2008


posted by Hello Dad, I'm in Jail at 4:52 PM on October 9

I have no idea what you're talking about, but I just really like your username.
posted by Ynoxas at 6:15 PM on October 9, 2008


Hello Dad, I'm in Jail

... I just really like your username.


As someone who actually had to make that phone call (I'd just turned 20) and say that exact thing, I gotta say I really like that username too. Good times, man, good times...
posted by flapjax at midnite at 6:31 PM on October 9, 2008


Thanks for all of these. Eva Cassidy just knocked me off my chair, and had me reaching about for someone to waltz with.
That said, I gotta clarify, with no disrespect intended to you or to either of those two fine singers, that Eva Cassidy and Norah Jones didn't ever sing together, as Cassidy sadly passed away in '96, too early for Jones to be the fine name she's made for herself today. The "were" clip, labelled as Cassidy and Jones by a misinformed youtube poster, is therefore Jones accompanied by no more (and no less) than her own "the Handsome Band."
posted by roombythelake at 6:42 PM on October 9, 2008


Thanks so much, roombythelake. Imagine my embarrassment! That's the ONLY one among the 37 links that I didn't bother to listen to: I had the FPP all ready to go, when I realized I was one link short. I'd bookmarked the Jones/Cassidy clip, but hadn't included it due to the fact that there were already 2 Norah Jones clips, and I'm not all that crazy about her other versions of the tune in the first place. But when I noticed I was one link short, well, there it went: popped it in! And I had no idea who Eva Cassidy was, before making this post, and, of course, had no idea she is deceased.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 7:06 PM on October 9, 2008


As someone who actually had to make that phone call (I'd just turned 20) and say that exact thing

I didn't realize being too funky was a crime.

Friends don't let friends do paradiddles.
posted by Ynoxas at 8:29 AM on October 10, 2008


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