Season 612 - Sing Me Back Home / Gram Parsons

Yukio

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Hello and welcome to The Six Hundred and Twelfth Season of the Ukulele! I am so glad you have found your way here, be ye a seasoned Seasonista, a Newbie ready for a challenge, or a Listener interested in hearing music performed on the ukulele. I am Yukio, and I will be your host and curator for the next eight days of musical adventure.

If you need to find out more about how YOU can enjoy and participate in The Seasons of the Ukulele, please take a look at this FAQ which should help answer whatever questions you might have: https://forum.ukuleleunderground.co...e-ukulele-and-other-faqs-with-answers.159824/. If you have any other questions, please post them in the thread and I am sure someone will help to find an answer for you.

The inspiration for the theme of this Season is the title of the song, "Sing Me Back Home," written by Merle Haggard in 1967. The song, if you don't know it, concerns a prisoner being lead away to his execution. I don't intend for Season 612 to be as heavy as all that, but I would like you to "sing me back home" in a more general sense. There are lots of songs about finding your way home, homecoming, moving, and getting back to your roots. Anything along these lines will be appropriate. I am myself (still) in the process of moving back to my home country, so your music can serve as an inspiration to help me get the task done. Thank you in advance!

It was not Merle Haggard's original version of the song, "Sing Me Back Home," that I first encountered. It was actually a (previously unreleased) cover version sung by Gram Parsons with the band, The Flying Burrito Brothers. A wonderful gentleman, Larry, gave me a cassette compilation of favorite Gram Parsons songs that he had selected from his extensive record collection. I played that tape in my Walkman while walking to and from work for a long time and let every nuance of those songs seep deep within me. Therefore, it is also Gram Parsons whom we wish to honour during this Season of the Ukulele. Just yesterday, when I had the idea to make Gram Parsons figure into this season, I looked up his birth date: November 5, 1946. Yes, the starting date of Season 612 just happens to be Gram Parson's birthday. That settles it! You may choose to do any Gram Parsons tune from any phase of his career; with The International Submarine Band, with The Byrds, with The Flying Burrito Brothers, or his solo output and duets with Emmylou Harris.

If you feel like you want to write your own song for Season 612, please consider writing a country song which will help to sing me back home. If country/western ain't your thing, I will understand. Post whatever you wrote anyway. It's the thought that counts. Thanks!

Season 612 will start when it is 00:00:00 in Hawaii on November 5, 2023 and end when it is 23:59:59 in Hawaii on the following Sunday, November 12, 2023.
Videos should be new recordings specifically for Season 612. Please state as such in the video recording, or by writing in the video description.
Our good buddy, Rob (@wee_ginga_yin) may look into his vast back-catalogue to find good ones to share. Any Gram Parsons, Rob?
Please consider sharing a link to Season 612 in your video description, or pass the link on to anybody who you know who might enjoy checking out our little party.
You, playing your ukulele, should be the focus of the video, but you are welcome to get creative with the visuals, multi tracking, collaborations, other instruments, etc.
Don't worry if someone beats you to the punch and posts the same song that you have been working on; post yours anyway. Multiples can be a lot of fun.
Please limit yourself to one submission per day. I still have to report for work this week!
Take some time to wander around and look at what others have posted for Season 612. If you like it, leave a comment on their YouTube Channel to let them know you enjoyed what they had to share.

Have fun, Sing Me Back Home, and Gram On!

Here is a link to the PLAYLIST
 
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Thanks for hosting! November 5, 1964 for my birthday. Just two numbers reversed!

I have a song in mind. Hope I can remember the chords! I wrote it a while ago now…
 
YES!!!! I have a snake named for Gram Parsons, and well we all know how I feel about Merle. Gonna be a fun week!
 
Thanks for hosting, and what a great theme! Along with every part of the rest of the tune, Haggard’s line, “I stood up to say goodbye like all the rest” is solid country gold. I’d love to hear Gram Parsons’ cover.
 
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I spent way way way too long today looking for a song that legitimately meets both themes, and finally settled on "Sloop John B". The Beach Boys surely qualify as a boy band, and I might be just spitballing here, but the narrator seems to have a desire to get home.

 
Hi Christoper!
Thanks for hosting! Great theme!

I did this just now.
one chaotic take is all we need...
too many disruptions - Chinese Opera playing next room, voices, Mr. T the cat could not get into the flat....

all these made recording felt like walking a tightrope! haha!
Welcome to where i live! :---D



HAPPY BIRTHDAY, Tom @engravertom !
Also, Chris @Yukio , i did look at the week after yours, it is the last week of the school term at my library and it is a busy week, i hope someone can step up to do it.
 
Here's one by Clive Gregson, a UK songwriter who spent much of the 80s performing with Christine Collister, one of the best voices ever. Then he departed for Nashville to write & perform with many others.

 
"Hickory Wind" is a song written by Gram Parsons and former International Submarine Band member Bob Buchanan. The song first appeared on The Byrds' Sweetheart of the Rodeo album. Despite Buchanan's input, "Hickory Wind" is generally considered to be Parsons' signature song. Parsons' decision to play "Hickory Wind" instead of the planned Merle Haggard cover "Life in Prison" during The Byrds' performance at the Grand Ole Opry on March 15, 1968 "pissed off the country music establishment" and stunned Opry regulars to such an extent that the song is now considered essential to Parsons' legend. "Hickory Wind" is a song about returning home to South Carolina.



In South Carolina, there are many tall pines
I remember the oak tree that we used to climb
But it makes me feel better each time it begins
Calling me home, Hickory wind

I started out younger at most everything
All the riches and pleasures, what else could life bring?
But now when I'm lonesome I always pretend
That I'm getting the feel of Hickory wind

It's a hard way to find out that trouble is real
In a faraway city with a faraway feel
But it makes me feel better each time it begins
Calling me home, Hickory wind

Keeps calling me home, Hickory wind
 
I just want to say that I count it a great privilege to be allowed to post old videos. I miss being able to sing and play. I enjoyed the creative process, of beaking boundaries and perhaps breaking rules when it came to what was considered acceptable sounds that were supposed to come from the ukulele. I was never a purist.

Regards going home one memory I have of going back to Scotland during the miners strike in 1984 and the hills that were so steep when I tried to cycle up them as a kid were not so steep any more, The river Afton was not so wide and strong. The council houses in the scheme where I used to play were boarded up and abandoned. The only thing that remained and was good was the "Tallys" an Italian Fish and chip shop.

Sometimes going home means your memories don't mesh with reality, and home is a place you would rather forget.
Perhaps that is why Tom Waits wants to take the long way home.

The village i was born in was New Cumnock the toughest village in Scotland
 
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As I read this theme, I immediately thought of this song: Driving her back to London by Martyn Joseph.
 
Of course the obvious choice here is "Hickory Wind". I was going to record it, but it looks like it's been covered already. But I will post a version here from seven years ago from one of the legendary Seasonistas:

 
MR. THORNTON!!! Bonjour, Christopher ... and thank you for hosting! And, of course, Happy Birthday to Tom! I wasn't actually going to do anything today as I still have a cold, but, having woken up to a power cut this morning (high winds during the night) and spending a couple of hours in virtual darkness before it was light enough to see what I was doing, I decided that, once the power came back on - which it did at about 11 o'clock - it was time to indulge myself .. not something I EVER normally do. The chap in this song is in a REAL hurry to get home. I just read in Wikipedia, that the original singer, Alex Chilton, sang it in a "gruff, blue-eyed soul" style. My version is just gruff ... and coldy!

 
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A new recording of a song I wrote about 4 years so it should be new to some here. No overdubbing on this one, just the stripped down version. It's about going back to my hometown and finding everything changed, but still I hope conveys some happy nostalgia. I made a slide show of some historical photos and some modern google street view shots. Below the video are notes for the photos, if anyone is interested. This song was inspired by a time when my kids were still quite young and I drove them through town telling them what everything used to be.



Photo notes:

The old Western Auto eventually became a Mexican restaurant called Mollie's Cafe. It is apparently an Italian restaurant now.

When I was a kid, the Western Auto catalog was just as good as one of the big department store Christmas catalogs, like the Montgomery Ward Wishbook, etc.

The two-story building next to Mollie's was originally Stockdale State Bank. Eventually a new bank was built out on the highway and the old bank became someone's house for a while. Now it must be some kind of store. The sign on the door says "HOMEMADE PEANUT BRITTLE." There are people all along the street because this photo was taken (probably) on the morning of the Watermelon Jubilee. The Hardin Sisters drug store was just to the right of the bank.

The Conoco is now an Exxon. The barn next to it is a drive-through that I called a "beer barn" in the song, but you can buy soft drinks there, too. The Mobil has just been an empty shell for decades. The old Gulf station, where my dad always bought gas, was a flower shop for a long time but I don't know what it is now. You can see another Mexican restaurant next to it. They have a real stoplight at the intersection now. When I was growing up it was just a flashing light, flashing red one way and yellow the other way.

I mentioned the Hardin sisters in another song several years ago, I think the song was just titled "Stockdale." They were two old spinster sisters who claimed to be the grand-daughters, or great-grand-daughters (I'm not sure) of the infamous outlaw John Wesley Hardin. The library is a new building on the same site as their store.

The next photo is the site of the old peanut driers; peanuts have to be dried before they can be shipped. Both watermelons and peanuts are big agricultural products here. When I was a kid, during peanut season, the scent of warm peanuts could be smelled all over this part of town. The old railroad tracks went through where that line of trees are on the left, crossed the highway, and went through where the park is now. When I was a kid, the park used to be a big marshy area covered with weeds and stunted trees. They turned it into the city park after some major landscaping and strategic draining. It will still flood when we have heavy rains.

The school's band hall used to be the Church of Christ. That's where my family went to church when I was growing up. The big cedar tree in the middle has been there forever. The tree on the left was just a sapling when it was planted about 50 years ago, in memory of a man who was a long-time preacher there. My wife and I were married in that building.

The 1985 Dairy Queen photo was taken during the 1985 snowstorm by my dad, while the storm was still ongoing. He worked for the highway department and was out watching roads during the whole thing. The other DQ photo is a modern one from google street view.

The Phillips 66 was called Watkins, because that was the last name of the man who owned it. It's a Mexican restaurant now. They used to have outdoor tables sheltered by giant parasols, but they're gone now. I have seen one other Phillips 66 on the west side of San Antonio.

The last photo is from the 40s or 50s; apparently back then there was a Gulf station on Main Street. To the right of center is a sign that says "DALE." The Dale Theater was the first theater in our county. It closed long before I was born and the remains were finally torn down when I was a teenager. The lot sat vacant for a long time and eventually a small building was built on the site that became the Stockdale Historical Museum.
 
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Hi folks, and thanks for hosting Chris! It's a timely theme, because I've been visiting my mum this weekend, in my childhood home town, and so I've been heading back home today, to my adopted home town. It took rather longer than I would have hoped. Here's a song that explains what happened. It's all (okay, mostly all) true. The tune might be familiar. The words are probably quite familiar too.



With apologies to Paul Simon, but if it helps I did also write my version on a station platform in the north of England. My dinner is reheating as we speak.
 
I love Gram Parsons! Sadly, he left us much too soon. He's one of the finest early pioneers of country rock. I can hardly think of a finer side to a couple of cold beers than Gram Parsons' music.

 
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