12 June 2020

You probably didn’t figure I’d be starting this week’s SWING ON THIS blog with a quote from Noel Coward’s 1930 play PRIVATE LIVES. I didn’t, either. But the first song on the playlist this Saturday got me thinking about it, and specifically about a line from one of the characters, Amanda, who finds her ex-husband and his new wife have rented a hotel room adjoining the one she and HER new spouse are occupying. The ex-mates find themselves drawn once again to one another, and when her former husband scoffs at a popular song, Amanda says, “Extraordinary how potent cheap music is.”
   
I don’t see that as any sort of a putdown. Instead, it’s an acknowledgement that tunes written solely to manipulate emotions — even those aimed squarely at the lowest emotional common denominator — can move you in ways few other things can.
   
And that brings us to the first song of Saturday’s show, “Got A Letter from My Kid Today,“ a 1941 release by Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. This one doesn’t just tug at the heartstrings; it threatens to jerk them out of your chest — especially if you’re a parent.
   
I don’t want to oversell it, but “Got A Letter from My Kid Today” has always had a profound effect on me. It’s contrived, manipulative, and, yeah, a little cheap, but — as the line from the Coward play notes, it works extraordinarily well.
   
Of course, there’s plenty more good listening on tap this time around, including Spade Cooley’s greatest hit, Jerry Reed’s first single, and the Bagsby Brothers covering the Hoosier Hot Shots. So c’m’on along!
   
That’s SWING ON THIS, 7 p.m. Tulsa time, on radio station KWGS, 89.5 FM and live-streaming everywhere at publicradiotulsa.com
 

1. “Got A Letter from My Kid Today,” Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys
2, “Corrine, Corrina,” Billy Parker
(for JACK & CAROLE BENDER
3. “Twenty Beers,” Jimmie Skinner
(for DALE CLARK, JOHN HAMILL, and the GLASS LIFTERS) 
4. “From the Indies to the Andes in His Undies,” Bagsby Brothers
(for WAYNE MCCOMBS)
5. “Shame on You,” Spade Cooley and His Orchestra
6, “The Old Watermill,” Merle Haggard
7. “If the Good Lord’s Willin’,” Jerry Reed
(in memory of JONY)
8. “San Antonio Rose,” Don Wilkerson
(for AP MCQUIDDY)
9. “Played the Game Too Long,” Original Texas Playboys
10. “Texas Blues,” Ida Red
(for BRETT BINGHAM)
11. “I’ll Be There If You Ever Want Me,” Leon Russell
(for JODI CASH and the LEON LIFERS)
12. “Moonlight in Oklahoma,” Smokey Wood and His Wood Chips
13. “Blues for Dixie,” Brazos Valley Boys
14. “We Three,” Wayne Hancock