#402 – January 4, 2012 Playlist

Wednesday MidDay Medley 
TEN to NOON Wednesdays – Streaming at KKFI.org
90.1 FM KKFI – Kansas City Community Radio
Produced and Hosted by Mark Manning
 
Playlist from: Wednesday, January 4, 2012
 
Celebrating Iris DeMent & Her Influences

Iris DeMent


 
1. Loretta Lynn  & Jack White – “Portland Oregon” 
from: Van Lear Rose / Interscope / 2004    
[produced by Jack White of The White Stripes and Racontuers. It was initially intended as a musical experiment, blending the styles of country singer-songwriter Lynn and producer White, who performs on the whole album as a musician. At the time, Lynn was 69 and White was 28. The title refers to Lynn’s origins as the daughter of a miner working the Van Lear coal mines. The album was the most successful crossover music album of Lynn’s 45-year career. At the 2005 Grammy Awards, Lynn won: Best Country Album and Best Country Collaboration with Vocals for her duet with White.]  
 
2. Johnny Cash & Joni Mitchell – “Girl From North Country” 
from: The Best of The Johnny Cash TV Show / Columbia Legacy / 2007  
[a TV music variety show that ran for 58-episodes from June 7, 1969 to March 31, 1971 on ABC. It featured many folk/country musicians of the time: Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan, Linda Ronstadt, Kris Kristofferson, Neil Young, Gordon Lightfoot, Merle Haggard, James Taylor and Tammy Wynette. It also featured other musicians such as jazz great, Louis Armstrong, who died 8 months after recording the show. Recorded at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium, then home of the Grand Ole Opry. The first show featured Joni Mitchell, Cajun fiddler Doug Kershaw, Fannie Flagg  and Bob Dylan. The show included a “Country Gold” segment that featured legends never seen on network TV such as Bill Monroe & his Blue Grass Boys.  Cash refused to cut the word “stoned” from Kris Kristofferson’s “Sunday Morning Coming Down”, he stood by his Christian faith “despite network anxieties”, and persisted in bringing on Pete Seeger whose anti-Vietnam song on another network had “caused a firestorm.” He premiered his Man in Black song on an episode filmed at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University’s campus. The show was dumped in 1971 as part of ABC’s so-called “rural purge,” which also claimed that network’s The Lawrence Welk Show.]
 
3. John Prine w/ Iris Dement – “We’re Not The Jet Set”
from: In Spite Of Ourselves / Oh Boy / 1999  
[In 1968 country superstar George Jones witnessed a fight between Tammy Wynette and her husband Don Chapel. At Jones’s urging, Wynette and her daughters drove away with him. Wynette and Jones married Feb. 16, 1969, and Wynette’s 4th daughter, Georgette, was born in 1970. Jones and Wynette, were nicknamed the “President and First Lady” of country music, and they recorded a string of hit duets that seemed drawn directly from their volatile relationship, which resulted in their divorcing in 1975. Their classic recordings included “Two Story House,” “Golden Ring,” and the humorous “(We’re Not) The Jet Set.”]   
 
10:15 – Influences of Iris DeMent
 
4.  Johnny Cash  – “Ring of Fire” 
from: 16 Biggets Hits / Columbia Legacy / 2007   
[co-written by June Carter (wife of Johnny Cash) and Merle Kilgore. The song was recorded on March 25, 1963 and became the biggest hit of his career, staying at #1 on the charts for 7 weeks.  “Ring of Fire” refers to falling in love – which is what June Carter was experiencing with Johnny Cash at the time. Some sources claim that June had seen the phrase, “Love is like a burning ring of fire,” underlined in one of her uncle A. P. Carter’s Elizabethan books of poetry. She worked with Kilgore on writing a song inspired by this phrase as she had seen her uncle do in the past. In the 2005 film, Walk the Line June is depicted as writing the song while agonizing over her feelings for Cash despite his drug addiction and alcoholism as she was driving home one evening. She had written: “There is no way to be in that kind of hell, no way to extinguish a flame that burns, burns, burns”. Cash claims he had a dream where he heard the song accompanied by “Mexican horns”. Four years after the song was released, Carter and Cash were married which Cash states helped to stop his alcohol and drug addictions. Cash’s daughter, Rosanne has stated, “The song is about the transformative power of love and that’s what it has always meant to me and that’s what it will always mean to the Cash children.]
 
5. Loretta Lynn – “You Ain’t Woman Enough To Take My Man”
from: Legends of Country Music / Columbis Legacy / 1997 
[Live performance for Austin City Limits taped in 1983. Loretta Webb was the second of 8 children; grew up in Butcher Holler, a section of Van Lear, a mining community in Kentucky. Growing up with such humble roots had a huge effect on Lynn’s life and heavily influenced her music as an adult. Her autobiography describes how, during her childhood, the community had no motor vehicles, paved roads, or flush toilets. She married Oliver Vanetta Lynn, known as “Doo,” on Jan. 10, 1948, at age 13. In an effort to break free of the coal mining industry, at 14, Lynn moved to the logging community Custer, Washington, with her husband. The Lynns had 4 children – Betty Sue, Jack Benny, Cissy and Ernest Ray – by the time Loretta was 18, and in her early 20s she then had twin girls, Peggy & Patsy. No stranger to controversy, Loretta Lynn possibly had more banned songs than any other country music artist, prior to The Dixie Chicks, including “Rated X,” about the double standards divorced women face, “Wings Upon Your Horns,” about the loss of teenage virginity, and “The Pill,” lyrics by T. D. Bayless, about a wife and mother becoming liberated via the birth control pill. Her song “Dear Uncle Sam,” released in 1966 during the Vietnam War, describes a wife’s anguish at the loss of a husband to war. It has been included in live performances during the current Iraq War.] 
 
6. Bob Dylan – “I Shall Be Released”
from: The Essential Bob Dylan / Columbia – Sony / 2000  
[Originally recorded October, 1971. ]  
 
7. Joni Mitchell  – “For The Roses” 
from: For The Roses / Asylumn / 1972 
[Released between her 2 biggest commercial and critical successes – “Blue” and “Court & Spark”. In 2007 it was one of 50 recordings chosen that year by the Library of Congress to be added to the National Recording Registry.  The title song “For the Roses” was Mitchell’s farewell to the business; she took an extended break for a year after. The album was critically acclaimed with The New York Times saying “Each of Mitchell’s songs on For the Roses is a gem glistening with her elegant way with language, her pointed splashes of irony and her perfect shaping of images. Never does Mitchell voice a thought or feeling commonly. She’s a songwriter and singer of genius who can’t help but make us feel we are not alone.” A nude photograph of Joni Mitchell was included on the inside cover of the original LP and is included in the CD booklet. The photograph shows the singer from the rear and was taken from a considerable distance; she is shown standing on a rock and staring out at the ocean. This created some controversy at the time.]
 
10:30  
 
8. Johnny Cash & June Carter Cash – “If I Were A Carpenter” 
from: Classic Country Great Duets / Time Life – Sony / 2004  
[written by Tim Hardin.  Johnny Cash proposed to June Carter Cash during a live show in 1968. Flustered and egged on by 5,000 people in the audience, June finally said “yes.’  The couple then launched into “If I Were A Carpenter” that was then recorded in 1969 after the couple was married] 
 
9. Merle Haggard – “Workin’ Man Blues” 
from: Oh Boy Classic Presents Merle Haggard / Oh Boy Records / 2000  [Originally released in 1969, a tribute to a core group of his fans: The American blue-collared working man. Backed by an electric guitar that typified Haggard’s signature Bakersfield Sound, he fills the role of one of those workers expressing pride in values of hard work and sacrifice, despite the resulting fatigue and the stress of raising a large family. Included on Haggard’s 1969 album “A Portrait of Merle Haggard.” Included in this collection on John Prine’s Oh Boy Records.]
 
10. Johnny Cash – “I’m Leaving Now” 
from: American III Solitary Man  / American Recordings / 2000  
[written by Johnny Cash with vocals and guitar by Merle Haggard. 3rd album in the American series by Johnny Cash. Between “Unchained” and “Solitary Man,” Cash’s health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalized for pneumonia. His illness forced Cash to curtail his touring. The album American III: Solitary Man (2000) contained Cash’s response to his illness, typified by a version of Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down”, as well as a version of U2’s “One” produced by Rick Rubin, it was a Grammy winner, for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for Cash’s version of the Neil Diamond song “Solitary Man”.]  
 
11. Greg Brown  – “Blues Go Walking” 
from: Covenant / Red House Records / 2000 
[his 17th album. NPR wrote that “Greg Brown is both a road poet and a keen observer of the natural world.” Greg Brown says that he likes to think about his work as stories sanded down into songs.]
 
10:45
 
12. Victoria Williams -“Early” 
from: Going Driftless An Artist’s Tribute to Greg Brown / Red House / 2002   [features female songwriters incl.: Lucinda Williams, Ani DiFranco, Iris Dement, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Greg Brown’s three daughters & more, who’ve joined forces to record a tribute album, each selecting their own favorite song by Brown to benefit The Breast Cancer Fund.  Iris married Greg Brown on November 21, 2002. ]
 
13. Greg Brown w/Iris -“Jacob’s Ladder” 
from: Honey in The Lion’s Head / Trailer / 2003
 
14. Steve Earle & The Del McCoury Band w/Iris – “I’m Still In Love With You”
from: The Mountain / E – Squared / 1999 
[Released February 23, 1999. Songs were written by Earle as a tribute to the founder of bluegrass music, Bill Monroe, who had died in 1996.]
 
11:00
 
Iris DeMent was the youngest child of Pat DeMent and his second wife, Flora Mae. (As the baby of the family, she was Pat DeMent’s fourteenth child, and Flora Mae’s eighth.) She was born near the town of Paragould, Arkansas but grew up in Cypress, California, where she grew up singing gospel music.  
 
Iris DeMent grew up singing gospel music. During her teenage years she was first exposed to country, folk, and R&B, drawing influence from Loretta Lynn, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, and Joni Mitchell who we featured in our first hour.
 
In this hour, we will feature music from her debut recording, “Infamous Angel,” as well as its follow-up, the autobiographical, “My Life,” released in 1994 and we’ll play from her third Warner Brother’s release, “The Way I Should,” released in 1996, which contains some of Iris DeMent’s more political songs.
 
Also this hour we’ll feature more of Iris DeMent’s collaborations with other artists, singing harmony w/ John Prine, John McCutcheon, Emmylou Harris, Tom Russell, Nancy Griffith, Randy Scruggs, and Kansas City Bus Driver – Gary Kirkland.
 
After a series of jobs: as a waitress and typist, Iris Dement wrote her first song at the age of 25. She played at open-mic nights in Kansas City, before moving to Nashville, in 1988, where she contacted producer Jim Rooney, who helped her land a record contract. Dement did not make her recording debut until 1992, when her independent label offering, Infamous Angel, won almost universal acclaim. Despite a complete lack of support from country radio, the record’s word-of-mouth praise earned her a deal with Warner Bros., which reissued “Infamous Angel” in 1993. 
 
15. Iris DeMent -“Let The Mystery Be” 
from: Infamous Angel / Warner Brothers / 1992 / 1993
 
16. Iris DeMent – “Easy’s Getting Harder Everyday” 
from: My Life / Warner Brothers / 1994
 
17. Iris DeMent -“The Way I Should”  
from: The Way I Should / Warner Brothers / 1996 
[Produced by Randy Scruggs]
 
11:15  – Collaborations
 
18. Nanci Griffith w/Iris – “Ten Degrees and Getting Colder”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993 
[written by Gordon Lightfoot]
 
19. Nanci Griffith w/Iris & Emmylou -“Are You Tired of Me Darling”
from: Other Voices Other Rooms / Elektra / 1993  
[High Harmony – Iris / Low Harmony – Emmylou Harris]  [Nanci Griffith’s 10th album. Here she pays homage to other songwriters who have influenced her own career.] 
 
20. John McCutcheon w/Iris – “Over The Garden Wall”
from: Sprout Wings and Fly / Rounder / 1997  
[written by AP Carter]
 
21. Gary Kirkland w/Iris – “Just For Me”
from: Shootin’ The Works on Love / Dark Horse / 2003 
 
11:30 – Collaborations
 
22. Randy Scruggs w/Iris & Emmylou  – “Wildwood Flower” 
from: Crown of Jewels / Reprise / 1998
 
23. John Prine w/ Iris – “In Spite of Ourselves”
from: In Spite of Ourselves/ Oh Boy / 1999   
[written by John Prine]
 
24. Tom Russell w/Iris – “Love Abides”
from: The Man From God Knows Where / Hightone / 1999
 
11:45
 
25. Greg Brown  -“Good Morning Coffee” 
from: If I Had Known – Essential Recordings, 1980 – 1996 / Red House / 2003
[Iris married singer-songwriter Greg Brown on November 21, 2002. They now both live together in Iowa.]
 
26. Greg Brown – “Bucket”
from: Evening Call / Red House / 2006   
[The Washington Post writes, “The singer-songwriter from Iowa has a baritone as rough and chunky as Thanksgiving gravy with the turkey bits still in, and that’s just how his words drip out on his album, “The Evening Call.” on “Whippoorwill” he sing as sweetly as his lover down in Kansas City. That’s his wife, Iris DeMent, and on “Joy Tears,” he tells her, “When you start your singing, honey, the heavens open up with grace.”] 
 
27. Iris DeMent – “Leaning on The Everlasting Arms” 
from: True Grit (Sountrack to the Motion Picture) / Nonesuch Records / Dec. 17, 2010   
[The musical score for the Coen Brothers new interpretation of the True Grit was created by Carter Burwell. Much of the music was adapted from old public domain gospel hymns.  The very last song heard in the film, during the closing credits, is the only piece on the soundtrack that includes vocals.  The track is not available on the CD release, but is available if you download the entire album through I-tunes.  The song was originally written by Elisha A. Hoffman and Anthony J. Showalter, and originally published in 1887. Copyright is now Public Domain. Iris also included an earlier version of this song on “Lifeline” her 2004 independently released album of protestant gospel hymns, she grew up hearing her mother sing.]
 
11:59:30
 
27. Noel Coward – “The Party’s Over Now”
from: Noel Coward in New York / drg / 2003 
[orig. 1957]
 
A Personal Note:
 
I first met Iris DeMent when I was working at Kinko’s at 39th & Rainbow in KC, KS, in the early 1990s.  Iris came in to copy a few of her press clippings, and on another visit to make her wedding announcements.  Later I personally discovered her as a singer on Late Night with Conan O’Brien where she performed her song “My Life.”  Then I ran into her at the old Classic Cup in Westport.  I was nervous and shy, but she approached me and asked, “How do I Know You?”  Our paths crossed many times again and we bumped into each other at a Patti Smith concert in Lawrence.
 
Iris DeMent played three songs for one of our Big Bang Buffet shows back in 1999, at one of the first First Fridays,  at the Hobbs Building during Culture Under Fire. She took the same stage as the incredible dance performance by David Ollington that ended with his body being absent of all clothing.  Iris also did a benefit for Friends of Community Radio in 2002, and for KKFI in 2004, both times Greg Brown joined Iris in concert.  We were all surprised when Iris and Greg were married several months after their 2002 show at Unity Temple on the Plaza.
 
Iris performed her song, “Wasteland of the Free” on stage at the Uptown, to open for Michael Moore, because it was one of his favorite songs.  She played with Greg at Community Christian Church before Amy Goodman (of Democracy Now), took the stage.  Amy is also a huge fan of Iris.  Iris helped raise over $20,000.00 in both benefit concerts she gave for Community Radio.  She never took a penny. 
 
One of the biggest reasons Iris did all of these things was because Anne Winter was a mutual friend, and Anne asked Iris. Anne was like that really incredible mentor who challenged us all to rise above life’s mediocrity, and DO something.  She challenged us all.  But she also LOVED helping to make her friend’s dreams come true.  Having Iris play on stage with us at a Big Bang Buffet show was one of those moments for me.  Asking me to stage manage at the Michael Moore show at the Uptown Theatre, was another.  Inviting me to sing old time hymns with Iris and Anne, and Ike Sheldon of The Wilders, at Iris’s River Market loft was another.  Anne helped to make all of these connections.  Anne even went on tour with Iris at one point, to support her friend.  
 
Thank you Iris! and thank you Anne!  I love you both so very much!
 
Sources for Notes: Artist’s websites noted above and wikipedia.org

Show #402

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