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Just wondering if anyone else caught Ken Burns' Country Music documentary on PBS. Of course there were only rare glimpses of saxophones during the sixteen hour marathon, but I was into the history of a musical genre I really didn't know too much about and it was fascinating. The only drawback was Wynton Marsalis showing up with horn in hand, though thankfully any playing he might have done ended up on the editing room floor. I had to mute the TV whenever he did show up. But it was kinda like when Shelby Foote appeared in Burns' Baseball documentary; just out of place (though Foote was never annoying). It was bad enough Wynton ruined Burns' take on Jazz... but it was really painful to see him in this one, and completely unnecessary.
 

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Why focus on the “only drawback” instead of what you liked about it?
 

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Why focus on the “only drawback” instead of what you liked about it?
Nah. I'd rather not give up an opportunity to bash Wynton. Though I would love to see what they cut out, given the horn in his hand and his penchant for bloviation. But that would have to be its own separate film. I can see it now...

Country Music Made Worse
With Wynton Marsalis
 

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I watched it. I’m not a huge country fan, but I am a huge music fan, and country is mostly music. Some episodes I liked more than others, and everyone has a favorite who was slighted or omitted, or thinks someone who was given too much attention, etc, but over all think it was pretty excellent tv.

Didn’t learn much, because I already know much of the history, but did learn some things. Townes Van Zandt was an amazing character.

Wynton, sometimes I wish the guy would just quit trying to educate everybody and play. He’s actually a very good musician, and some of his projects are or have been excellent. I think. He has jack s*** to do with country music though.
 

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I got to watch some of the 1st episode. I would have liked to see more. I got as far as the Carter family. What an interesting history they had/have. American music wouldn't be the same without them.
 

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A country music fan and a jazz musician are on death row, and both are about to be executed on the same day. The warden comes by to ask about any last requests...
Asks the country dude “You got any last requests, Lee Ray?”...
“Well, you know I’d love it if you could bring in a boom box and play my favorite song about 50 times, turned up real loud.”
Warden: “That shouldn’t be a problem. What’s your favorite song?”
Lee Ray: “Achy Breaky Butt”
Warden: You got it.
Warden (to the jazz man): “What about you? Any last requests?”
Jazz man: “Yeah man. Kill me now.”
 

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Forum Contributor 2013-2016
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We've watched the first two nights so far. Interesting.
 

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I’m not a big fan of country music, but don’t want to denigrate those who are. If you are a big fan of country music, denigrate means to put down or ridicule.
 

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I can handle Western Swing and the Highwaymen. Maybe some Charlie Rich.

Did the documentary cover Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys?
 

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I watched all 8 episodes. I was prepared to be critical, especially about who was left out. I liked it all. I thought it was very well done. They covered everybody. I'm pretty sure Glen Campbell was in there. But I may be confusing the show with other videos I've seen recently. I agree with the comments about Wynton. He was jarringly out of place. People do not want to be edjumicated. They wanna watch teevee and be entertained.

First episode spent a lot of time on the Carter family and Jimmie Rogers. It did acknowledge the contributions and influence of black musicians. I enjoyed the music and I learned a few things. Much of it I already knew. I like classic country music. I don't like modern country music. The documentary respected the history and the singers and songwriters and some of the instrumentalists.

They mentioned Hank Thompson in episode 3 and "Wild Side Of Life" and Kitty Wells' answer song, "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels." It was Kitty Wells' first hit. It made her the first female country singer to top the U.S. country charts and turned her into the first female country star. To the documentarian's credit, it also mentioned that the melody of both "Wild Side" and "It Wasn't God" was taken from the earlier Carter family song "I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes." I had figured that out myself while listening to episode 2 and I was pleased to see it acknowledged when they mentioned Hank Thompson and Kitty Wells' recordings.
I’m Thinking Tonight Of My Blue Eyes https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q4tBmpRdZ94
Wild Side Of Life https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NFXB5cJDmp8
It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2gVW2Xyeb4

But my main question is: what's the deal with Marty Stuart's hair? (You have to see the show to understand.)
 

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“ I don’t think Glen Campbell was mentioned at all.”

He was
 

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Discussion Starter #16
For me, a Ken Burns documentary is a cure for insomnia.
Well, you're Canadian. For the most part, Burns' stories are pure Americana. But if it's not the subject that turns you off, then you probably aren't a documentary fan to begin with. Burns reinvented and reinvigorated the genre a long time ago; and his influence over it cannot be denied.


First episode spent a lot of time on the Carter family and Jimmie Rogers. It did acknowledge the contributions and influence of black musicians.
Yes. Burns was eager to point out that nearly every pioneer in country music had a black muse at some point early in the development of their musical style. But I knew very little about the Carter Family and even less about Jimmie Rogers. All of it fascinating and a good tale to be told.
 

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Not a country fan but some of Burn's work is really interesting.

Without getting into politics his presentation on the Dust Bowl reflects important parallels to todays situation. Additionally, it contains a lot of information most Americans never were aware of.
 

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I must have missed that episode. A friend who is a big fan of that music sent me this article after we discussed some of what we thought were unusual omissions.

https://www.savingcountrymusic.com/biggest-oversights-in-the-ken-burns-country-music-documentary/
That article is inaccurate. Some of the more obscure performers listed were not mentioned in the doc, but several of them were and were given their due. If every country singer or songwriter or musician got a full segment, the doc would be hundreds of episodes.
 
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