The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Great Philosophers of the 20th Century #14: Webb Pierce

"There stands the glass
That will ease all my pain
That will settle my brain
It's my first one to day

"There stands the glass
That will hide all my tears
That will drown all my fears
Brother, I'm on my way"


swac said...

"Wondering, wondering, who's kissing you..."

Words fail me when it comes to explaining how truly great Webb Pierce was, both as a musician and a character. I love that photo, with the Cadillac encrusted with silver dollars.

Someone once told me that when bus tours would go around to look at country stars' homes, Webb would actually invite the tourists into his backyard to let people look at his guitar-shaped pool (the first of its kind, in Nashville anyway). Needless to say, it didn't endear him to his neighbours much.

Webb played a major part in modernizing country music in the '50s but just try and find his music in a record store these days. I lucked into a used copy of his Bear Family box set, and it's one of my favourite music purchases of the past decade. When he was in his prime, before the bottle got the best of him, he could do no wrong.

Professor Batty said...

...and don't forget the bridge: "I wonder where you are tonight, I wonder if you are alright, I wonder if you think of me- in my misery? There stands etc...
Chet Atkins, perhaps to one-up Webb, also had a swimming pool built- in the shape of a guitar...amplifier...

swac said...

I understand that Chet and Webb were good friends, although the fact they were on different labels (Chet at RCA and Webb as part of the Owen Bradley contingent at Decca) meant you don't see many pictures of them together. Charlie Pride told me that when Red Sovine encouraged him to go to Nashville, he sent him to his publisher, who was also Webb's publisher, and Webb got Charlie in to see Chet Atkins, and Chet signed him on the spot (more or less...there was a contract waiting in the mailbox when Charlie got back home to Montana, where he was working in a steel plant).

j. Winkel said...

Hey, I posted a wax figure (!) of Webb on my blog a week ago!