Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Remembering Dean Martin's country phase

Hey pallies, likes I simply never ever tire of the awesome diversity of Dino-devotion that is poppin' up likes all over the 'net. Today we finds ourselves at 'nother new-to-ilovedinomartin blog pad tagged "EARLY '70S RADIO" where blogmaster Mr. Kim Simpson holds forth.

Simpson's bio tell us that he is "PhD, is a musician, writer and radio host based in Austin, Texas. He is the author of Early '70s Radio: The American Format Revolution, and hosts Sunday Folkways on Austin's KUT and The International Folk Bazaar on KOOP."

How great it is to find someone of Dr. Simpson's credentials writin' 'bout our most beloved Dino. Today's Dino-love by Simpson is well written bit of Dino-prose puttin' the accent on "Remembering Dean Martin's country phase." Dr. Simspon shares some great details 'bout our Dino singin' Country that I never knew before simply addin' to my Dino-knowledge, and likes youse knows how much I loves learnin' more and more 'bout our great man.

As we near the end of our Dino-amore-month celebratin' it's way cool to find 'nother pallie usin' their expertise to expertly lift up the name of our amazin' Dino. ilovedinomartin expresses our thanks to Dr. Kim Simpson for addin' to our Dino-knowledge. To view this in it's original format, likes just clicks on the tag of this Dino-message. Dino-learnin' and Dino-growin', DMP

Remembering Dean Martin's country phase

Although the only Dean Martin song to reach the Billboard country Top 40 chart was his "My First Country Song" (1983), which also appeared on his Nashville Sessions album, his big country phase actually happened between the years 1969 and 1973. His 1969 version of Merle Haggard's "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" was his final Hot 100 charting single, while his versions of Glen Campbell's "Gentle on My Mind," Marty Robbins' "My Woman, My Woman, My Wife," Bobby Bare's "Detroit City," and Jerry Reed's "Georgia Sunshine" all bubbled under the Hot 100 between 1969 and 1971 (1971 being the year he bowed out of the pop charts for good). This chart activity, though, explains the otherwise surprising references to Martin that occasionally popped up in country-identity op eds in the music biz trade papers of the day about potential interlopers sneaking tastes of the country pie.

What was this all about? For Martin, it was good business sense, if not an actual fascination for the country genre. By the '70s, the abyss between classic middle-of-the-road vocalists and the pop charts was wider than ever, and country was an acknowledged stepping stone in the era of "cross-country" stations. Although the notion of cross-country seems to be remembered most in terms of country/rock hybridity, it was the MOR/country fusion that had the biggest influence. Country artists like Charlie Rich, Tammy Wynette, and Ray Price crossed over easily to MOR stations, while MOR artists like Martin, Bobby Vinton,and Patti Page transitioned almost as easily to country playlists. Martin's own television variety show, as a matter of fact, outlasted competing shows hosted by Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell, and aired into the mid-'70s, when he would also host specials on NBC called Dean Martin Presents Music Country and Music Country USA. This aspect of Martin's legacy all makes sense in light of early '70s radio and record industry market calibration, but it certainly runs counter to the Brat Pack Dino persona that prevails in the collective memory.

Dean Martin - "For the Good Times" (1970)


Levi said...

When i said my favs i should have said Gentle on my mind too, i think his country songs are his best songs.
I know one of kys big favs is My woman my wife

dino martin peters said...

Hey pallie, likes Levi is simply totally totally digs our Dino croonin' "Gentle On My Mind"....certainly our Dino is the gentlest on our minds for Dino-sure...keeps lovin' our Dino!