Category Archives: Music

Issue 368 – Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts

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The Paregien Journal   –   Issue 368   –   Oct. 27, 2017 

Boy Scouts vs. Girl Scouts

I read an article in the Wall Street Journal this week which was a bit shocking. The writer, a former administrator with the Girl Scouts of America, told a bitter struggle which is going on right now between the Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts. Seems that the Boy Scouts’ membership has been hemorrhaging for several years, as times change and fewer boys join the scouts and many older ones are dropping out. So, if you’re in charge of money and growth at the Boy Scouts, what do you do?

Ah, ha. Thought you’d never ask. What the big boys in suits and ties decided was to kick their doors and membership open to girls. Not only that, they developed an aggressive recruiting plan to go after Girl Scout employees, troop leaders and girls to migrate to the winning team before they were all left high, dry and lonesome.

Hmmmm.

That just didn’t seem like a neighborly thing to do, not between folks setting the example for your young folk. So I sat down and wrote a little song in protest, put some guitar chords with the words and videotaped it, then posted in on Facebook and elsewhere. And today I revised the song as a poem. Each has the same title: “Mamas, Don’t Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts.”

Girl Scouts of America - 02

Anyway, here they are, starting with the poem.

Poem 477 Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 27, 2017

Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 25, 2017 -- Page 1 of 2

Mamas, Don't Let Your Girls Grow Up to Be Boy Scouts -- Stan Paregien Sr - Oct 25, 2017 -- Page 2 of 2

Please take time to click on this link and watch my four-minute video of me playing my guitar and singing my song. It is on YouTube:. Just “cut and paste” this information into your browser’s address box:   

https://youtu.be/n-_iMT3rPgk

Oh, by the way, I’m gonna buy a few extra boxes of Girl Scout cookies this year. And maybe you and I can come up with other ways to help the organization. What do you think? And more importantly, what are you going to do?

Girl Scouts of America

 

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Issue 353    –     March 17, 2017

Horsin’ Around in Florida

Retired folks in Florida just don’t have many empty days on their calendars. First of all, there are all those coffee hours, bingo games and shuffleboard games that beckon every week. Then there are all those Yankees who come down from up North to visit “during the season.” And then, if that were not enough to keep one busy, there is a lot of just plain ol’ horsin’ around on my agenda. 

For example, we dearly love all of the beautiful beaches here on the Gulf side of Florida. Some of the best anywhere are from Clearwater to our north and down to Venice on our south. But undoubtedly, the first choice for a broad, pearly white beach and beautiful water the prize goes to Siesta Beach on the west edge of Sarasota. That’s about 20 miles from our house. So . . . hi-ho, hi-ho . . . it’s off to the beach we go. 

2017--02--23 07 Siesta Beach - No 1 in US, No 5 in World

Ralph Iacovacci (“The Italian Stallion,” so named because he liked to put in a quarter and ride those horses outside Walmart) and his wife Eunice told us about a “Night of Nashville Music” program put on by their church. So Peggy and I saddled up and joined the fun.

2017--02--25 01 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 02 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 03 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

Now about that “Best Western Outfit” contest mentioned below in the program, . . . well, shazam . . . I won the doggoned thing. Got a new Dodge Ram pickup truck, too. Hey, I can dream can’t I? The real prize was dinner for two at a local restaurant. That was close enough to satisfy me.

2017--02--25 04 Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05A Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 05B Bradenton, FL - Nashville Music Show

2017--02--25 07 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

“Hey, babe, ya wanna fool around . . . er, I mean pucker up??”

2017--02--25 06 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 08 Bradenton, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien

2017--02--25 09 Bradenton, FL - Stan Paregien's boots and spurs

And next . . . . 

2017--03--02 01 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 03 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 04 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 05 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 06 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 07 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 08 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 09 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 10 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 11 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 13 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--02 14 Myakka, FL - Herrman's Lipizzan Stallions - by Stan Paregien

And then an afternoon spent in Sarasota looking at old (i.e., classic) cars. And we returned that evening for a very good singer (Jimmy Mezz) doing “A Tribute to Music of the 1950’s.” 

2017--03--03 06 Sarasota, FL - P Paregien, G and James Cotton - Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--03 05 Sarasota, FL - James Cotton at Classic Cars - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--05 01A Palmetto, FL - James and Glenda Cotton - by S Paregien

2017--03--05 01C Palmetto, FL - James and Glenda Cotton - by S Paregien

2017--03--05 03 Palmetto, FL - Stan and Peggy Paregien - by G Cotton

2017--03--07 01 Bradenton, FL - James and Glenda Cotton

2017--03--07 02 Bradenton, FL - Peggy Paregien and Allie - by Stan Paregien

And next, . . . we and our neighbors/friends Michael and Penny Letichevsky went over to Aracadia, Florida (about 1 hour southeast of us) on March 11th to enjoy the 89th Annual Arcadia Rodeo. We all enjoyed the cowboy and cowgirl action. They’re even supposed to have a brand-new arena ready for next year’s event.

2017--03--11 01 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien
2017--03--11 02 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 03 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 04 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 05 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 06 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 07 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

That clown is being just a little too nosey, if you catch my drift. 

2017--03--11 08 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 09 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 10 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 11 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 12B Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 13 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 14 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 15 Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16A Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16B Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16C Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 16D Arcadia, FL - barrel racing - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17A Arcadia, FL - rodeo - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17B Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17C Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 17D1 Arcadia, FL - Stan Paregien

And here’s the old cowboy himself.

2017--03--11 17E Arcadia, FL - Peggy Paregien - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 19 Arcadia, FL - Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 20 Arcadia, FL - Penny Letichevsky with Clydesdale - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 21 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 22 Arcadia, FL - Michael Letichevsky with portapotties - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 23 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

2017--03--11 24 Arcadia, FL - bull - by Stan Paregien

Well, as you can clearly see, we have been doing a lot of horsin’ around here in Florida. So you might just as well come on down and join the fun.

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Issue 348 – This Land Is Your Land

 

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Issue 348     –    February 6, 2017

This Land Is Your Land

I did not watch the Super Bowl football game on Feb. 5, 2017. Half-time entertainer Lady Gaga seems to have gotten favorable reviews from lots of folks. I did catch a news clip of her singing a portion of Woody Guthrie’s popular song, “This Land Is Your Land.” It is a populist, kind of get-together-and-sing-Kumbaya song. 

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However, as the late radio broadcaster Paul Harvey used to say, . . . here is the rest of the story.

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I made the following statements about the history of the song, “This Land Is Your Land.” in my 2012 eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH (Chapter 5):  

“On Feb. 23, 1940, Woody wrote ‘This Land Is Your Land’ while living with friend and fellow folksinger Burl Ives at the Hanover House in New York City. He wrote it to counteract what he considered the mindless sentimentality of ‘God Bless America,’ penned by the great Irving Berlin. That song just really irritated him something awful.

“Slowly but surely he worked out the words of his own song and, as usual, simply matched the lyrics up with an existing song. In this case it was the melody of a gospel song, ‘Oh, My Loving Brother,’ a melody that was also borrowed by the Carter Family for their song, ‘Little Darling, Pal of Mine’. Woody titled his song, ‘This Land Is Your Land’ and pretty much forgot about it until April of 1944.

“When the song finally surfaced and was recorded, it only included the first four verses (see below). And it quickly gained traction. Today the first few verses are sung by people all over the world, sometimes with a few adaptations to fit the Canadian or Japanese or Irish or whatever culture. It has been recorded by virtually everyone under the sun, from Bing Crosby to the Mormon Tabernacle Choir. In the 1960s President Lyndon Baines Johnson was one of the first to wonder if maybe it should replace our national anthem. And various big-name corporations, including United Airlines and the Ford Motor Company, have used bits of it for their sales pitches on TV and radio.

“Here is how those first four verses read:

1   This land is your land, This land is my land
From California to the New York island;
From the red wood forest to the Gulf Stream waters
This land was made for you and Me.

 2  As I was walking that ribbon of highway,
I saw above me that endless skyway:
I saw below me that golden valley:
This land was made for you and me.

 3  I’ve roamed and rambled and I followed my footsteps
To the sparkling sands of her diamond deserts;
And all around me a voice was sounding:
This land was made for you and me.

 4  When the sun came shining, and I was strolling,
And the wheat fields waving and the dust clouds rolling,
As the fog was lifting a voice was chanting:
This land was made for you and me.

“The problem with most of the admiration for this song is that the four-verses-only version hides or at least ignores the whole point of the complete song. With all of its verses intact, ‘This Land is Your Land’ stands as a Marxist chant for communal property. Here is how those last three verses read:

5   As I went walking I saw a sign there
And on the sign it said “No Trespassing.”
But on the other side it didn’t say nothing,
That side was made for you and me.

6   In the shadow of the steeple I saw my people,
By the relief office I seen my people;
As they stood there hungry, I stood there asking
Is this land made for you and me?

7  Nobody living can ever stop me,
As I go walking that freedom highway;
Nobody living can ever make me turn back
This land was made for you and me.

“Now, go back and read the first line of the first verse. Doesn’t it take on a much darker meaning? It should because this song is, in fact, radical leftist Guthrie’s most clear challenge to life as most American’s know it.

“He understood that private property rights were, more often than not in the United States, used by land-owning corporations to put down the workers. They and their henchmen, the courts and law enforcement, constantly trampled on workers’ constitutional-granted rights of freedom of speech and freedom to assemble.

“So he was calling on people to join the fight against the concept of private ownership of property which, historically, has been the lynchpin of American politics and economics. Woody reasoned that he was taking the high moral ground in advocating that all Americans should share equally in America’s wealth and property.

“Keep in mind, too, that one of the reasons Guthrie wrote this song was to protest the idealism of the big hit song of 1939-1940, ‘God Bless America.’ And it is in verse 6 that he makes the point that the America he saw, from sea to shining sea, was filled with poor and unemployed people standing in welfare lines. And he felt that capitalism and its innate greed were responsible for the awful situation in which there was a great gulf between the bankers and the guys digging ditches or even those who just wish they had a job of any kind. So nothing would change—the poor will continue to be with us en mass—until we change capitalism to communism. And, though not stated in the song, it was his belief that the labor movement—and unions, in particular—could accomplish that goal.

 “Was Woody a Communist Party Member?

 “Was Woody Guthrie a member of the official Communist Party or was he just a sympathizer on the outside looking in or was he just a guy who sympathized and identified with poor, hard-hit people and sought help from any source?

“Guy Logsdon expressed his point of view when I interviewed him in 2006: ‘Woody loved the United States of America. He loved Oklahoma. And he loved Okemah. He never wrote anything bad against them. He wrote against greed and anything having to do with the suppression of innocent people. If that makes him a Communist, then Jesus was a Communist. Woody was the poet philosopher of the people, the voice of the ordinary person.

“’However, Woody was not radical enough to be a communist. The Almanac Singers, some of whom later became stars as a group called The Weavers, wrote and performed pro-labor and anti-war songs. You know Franklin Roosevelt had a program to rebuild the economy and get production and prices stabilized. It involved killing every fourth cow and plowing under every fourth acre. So the Almanac Singers recorded a song called, ‘Plow Under Every Fourth Soldier’ in protest to the war. That offended a lot of people.

“’And the public sentiment changed radically when Germany waged war against Russia. So the Almanac Singers dropped that song from their programs very quickly. And they started writing and performing anti-Hitler songs.

“’When Woody went to New York City, he was in awe of what they were doing. And he sometimes attended meetings of the Communist Party but, as Pete Seeger has often said, ‘Woody was not a Communist. The Communist Party was a tightly structured organization. And Woody Guthrie wouldn’t join anything like that, because his nature was too independent and unstructured.’”

“Perhaps so. But as we have quoted previously, Woody made that admission or assertion of membership himself. And he did it in what my dear ol’ English teacher at Fillmore (California) High School—Mrs. Percy—would call a simple declarative sentence: “The best thing I did in 1936 [he got the actual date wrong; it was 1939] was to sign up with the Communist Party . . . ” (see Chapter 4.)

“When all views are heard, it seems clear that Woody Guthrie was at the least a solid sympathizer and supporter of the Communist Party. He was a man of his times, and those times were very hard for the working class. So whether he was a card-carrying member of the Party seems immaterial today. And it seems to me that, in the final analysis, Guthrie really had more faith in the unions than he did in Communism. In 1944 he said, ‘I live union. I eat union. I think union. I see union. I walk it and I talk it. I sing it and I preach it’ (Quoted by Ed Cray, Ramblin’ Man: The Life and Times of Woody Guthrie [2011], page 283).

 “Well, as I said, he filed the song away and pretty much forgot about it for several years. But it would finally end up as his signature song and in its four-verse form one of the most sung songs in the world.”

One more thing. The big news right now is about our immigration and deportation policies (or lack thereof). It is old news, really.

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Woody Guthrie had a big place in his heart for the frequently abused immigrant workers and their families. He spent a great deal of time traveling around to make-shift worker’s camps to listen to their problems and to encourage them with his songs. 

In 1948, an event happened that triggered a great deal of anger in Woody.  The U.S. Immigration & Naturalization Department had chartered a DC-3 airplane to deport back to Mexico both illegal immigrants and those Mexicans whose work permits had expired. They left Oakland, Calif., on Jan. 28th with 28 such deportees on board, plus the pilot, a co-pilot, a guard and a stewardess. The plane crashed in a ball of fire near Los Gatos, California.The news reports mentioned the staff members by name and said 28 deportees were also killed. No mention of their names, leaving the impression they were of no importance.

Guthrie took that as a personal insult and an outrage. He went into a writing frenzy, pouring his heart and soul in a song he titled, “Deportees” (also known as “Plane Wreck at Los Gatos”):

Plane Wreck at Los Gatos

(also known as “Deportees”)
by Woody Guthrie

The crops are all in and the peaches are rott’ning,
The oranges piled in their creosote dumps;
They’re flying ’em back to the Mexican border
To pay all their money to wade back again

Goodbye to my Juan, goodbye, Rosalita,
Adios mis amigos, Jesus y Maria;
You won’t have your names when you ride the big airplane,
All they will call you will be “deportees”

My father’s own father, he waded that river,
They took all the money he made in his life;
My brothers and sisters come working the fruit trees,
And they rode the truck till they took down and died.

Some of us are illegal, and some are not wanted,
Our work contract’s out and we have to move on;
Six hundred miles to that Mexican border,
They chase us like outlaws, like rustlers, like thieves.

We died in your hills, we died in your deserts,
We died in your valleys and died on your plains.
We died ‘neath your trees and we died in your bushes,
Both sides of the river, we died just the same.

The sky plane caught fire over Los Gatos Canyon,
A fireball of lightning, and shook all our hills,
Who are all these friends, all scattered like dry leaves?
The radio says, “They are just deportees”

Is this the best way we can grow our big orchards?
Is this the best way we can grow our good fruit?
To fall like dry leaves to rot on my topsoil
And be called by no name except “deportees”?

Sad to say that the practice of devaluing other people is still alive and well. We often find fault with those who are different from ourselves — morally, culturally, racially, religiously and politically. The list goes on.

Now, friends, if you look at this thing strictly logically and scientifically (not morally or religiously) the woes and injustices to the poor, the weak and sickly and the disenfranchised should be of no concern to those of us who are winners in the lottery of life. After all, scientist Charles Darwin preached the survival of the fittest as being in the best interest of the world. So why should one glob of atoms (a human) give a flip about another glob (another human)? You know the routine: (1) Look out for Number 1; (2) What’s mine is mine and I’m after yours; (3) The real “Golden Rule” is that whoever has the gold rules; (4) Greed is good; and (5) Don’t get involved.

Well, . . . if you buy that premise, then it is kinda irrational to do otherwise, don’t you think? Maybe that’s why you’re never seen anywhere a hospital founded and funded by the American Association of Atheists. That’s why there are no major philanthropic foundations operated by the American Humanist Association. That’s what the Society for Humanistic Judaism sits around gazing at their navels. 

Thankfully, however, there are people of goodwill and generous acts of kindness in every group and country. Concern for others, whether a friend or a neighbor or an enemy, is still alive and well.

For example, loving concern is a fundamental theme in the sacred Jewish texts. Here is a sampling from Exodus 23:1-9: “(1) Don’t spread rumors. Don’t plot with evil people to act as a lying witness. (2) Don’t take sides with important people to do wrong. When you act as a witness, don’t stretch the truth to favor important people. (3) But don’t privilege unimportant people in their lawsuits either. (4) When you happen to come upon your enemy’s ox or donkey that has wandered off, you should bring it back to them. (5) When you see a donkey that belongs to someone who hates you and it’s lying down under its load and you are included not to help set it free, you must help set it free. (6) Don’t undermine the justice that your poor deserve in their lawsuits. (7) Stay away from making a false charge. Don’t put an innocent person who is in the right to death, because I will not consider innocent those who do such evil. (8) Don’t take a bribe, because a bribe blinds the clear-sighted and subverts the cause of those who are in the right. (9) Don’t oppress an immigrant. You know what it’s like to be an immigrant, because you were immigrants in the land of Egypt.” — from the COMMON ENGLISH BIBLE (used with permission)

Christians, too, recognize their duty and honor to serve others who have hit hard times. John the Baptist, who was in prison at the time, sent word to this new teacher named Jesus and asked him for some proof that the was the longed-for Messiah. Jesus did not cite as evidence that he had formed a large anti-Roman army, nor that he had a large political campaign war chest, nor that the Who’s Who of Israel were his backers. Amazingly, Jesus told the messengers, “Go, report to John what you hear and see. Those who were blind are able to see. Those who are crippled are walking. People with skin diseases are cleansed. Those who were deaf now hear. Those who were dead are raised up. The poor have good news proclaimed to them.” (Matthew 11:4-5, CEB)

A lawyer with the Pharisee sect of Judaism tried to trap Jesus one time by asking him what the greatest commandment was in the Law of Moses. Jesus said, ” (37) You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. (38) This is the first and greatest commandment. (39) And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself. All the Law and the Prophets depend on these two commands.” (Matthew 22:37-39, CEB)

It is clear in both Judaism and in Christianity that love for others–not just a good feeling but positive, practical help–is fundamental to religious faith.

The apostle James chided his peers by saying, “(2) Imagine two people coming into your meeting. One has a gold ring and fine clothes, while the other is poor, dressed in filthy rags. (3) Then suppose that you were to take special notice of the one wearing fine clothes, saying, ‘Here’s an excellent place. Sit here.’ But to the poor person you say, ‘Stand over there’; or, ‘Here, sit at my feet.’ (4) Wouldn’t you have shown favoritism among yourselves and become evil-minded judges?

“(5) My dear brothers and sisters, listen! Hasn’t God chosen those who are poor by worldly standards to be rich in terms of faith? Hasn’t God chosen the poor as heirs of the kingdom he has promised to those who love him? (6) But you have dishonored the poor. Don’t the wealthy make life difficult for you? Aren’t they the ones who drag you into court? (7) Aren’t they the ones who insult the good name spoken over you at your baptism?

“(8) You do well when you really fulfill the royal law found in scripture, Love your neighbor as yourself.” (James 2:2-8, CEB)

That, my friends, is why you see hundreds of hospitals and universities and homes for the needy founded by and funded by the faith community. Highly respected Jewish hospitals and Christian hospitals are found across America, as are homes for the homeless and abused. Back in my old stomping ground, Oklahoma City, we had the Baptist Hospital, Deaconess Hospital (Methodist), and Mercy Hospital (Catholic), each of them a fine facility caring for anyone who walked through the door. Other religious organizations work every day to help migrants with legal work or with learning English, or helping pregnant women save their babies from abortions, or rescuing young men and women from sex traffickers and drug dealers. And the list of good works goes on and on.

“This Land is Your Land” is a nice song title and sorta give us a warm, fuzzy feeling. In fact, I have personally adapted it to create songs for the people of Rwanda (“Rwandans, This Land Is Our Land”), for the people of Honduras (“Hondurans, This Land Is Your Land”), and for the people of Ireland (“Ireland Is Your Land).  View videos of those songs and 50 others on my “Stan Paregien’s Studio” on YouTube at:https://www.youtube.com/user/CowboyStan/videos

My point is this: it takes that “good feeling” and $5.00 to get you a cup of java at Starbucks. Fact is, it is up to you and to me to look for opportunities to honor God by doing good wherever we go and by teaching others to do the same.  

So if you are looking for hope and purpose in your life, please take a serious look around you. Observe how your neighbors are living. Is it the Believers who are more happy and fulfilled . . . and busy helping others . . . or is it the Non-Believers? There are exceptions, of course, for no one is perfect in practicing their philosophy of life. But my 75+ years of experience has shown me that people of faith actually believe that history is headed somewhere and they are not just sitting hopelessly on a spinning earth.

Just sayin’.

[NOTE: My eBook, WOODY GUTHRIE: HIS LIFE, MUSIC AND MYTH, is available in seven popular formats at:  https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/StanParegien . You’ll find over a dozen more of my eBooks there as well. And before long there will be another one on the list, right now tentatively titled MANATEE COUNTY, FLORIDA: FACTS, FOLKS AND PHOTOS. Stay tuned.]

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The Spiritual Life, Part 2

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 338  –  June 21, 2016  –  Stan Paregien, Editor

The Spiritual Life, Part 2

Our dear friends Clay and Pat Landes came into our lives when we moved from Edmond, Oklahoma to Bradenton, Florida in 2013. We were immediately attracted to them by their openness and hospitality, each with a smile displaying they were in a close walk with God. He has been serving Christ in many ways, and for several years has been one of the elders leading the diverse body of believers we call Central Church of Christ in Sarasota. 

1994  --  2015--09--05  Sarasota, FL - Clay and Pat Landes' 50th Anniversary --  by Stan Paregien

Clay & Pat on their 50th wedding anniversary

renewing their vows. Sept., 2015

 

Though he grew up in a Christian home and once professed his love for the Lord, in his early adult years he had strayed far away. When Clay finally saw the light and returned, he had a burning desire to reach out and help others who had never accepted Christ or who had let their love grow cold. And he is still at it.

That is so despite the fact that about eight months ago he was diagnosed with cancer. In early June, his regular physician said his condition had worsened significantly. So he is now in a hospice program with an array of medical and social and psychological professionals to assist them as needed. Little did that group know that they were dealing with an upbeat, optimistic man . . . who was still on a mission. He told us on Sunday, June 19, 2016, that he had just arranged to have Bible studies with two of those folks “because they need the Lord.”

That same Sunday, Clay found the strength to teach a fine Bible class on 2 Timothy 4:6-18. There was a large audience of adults, many of whom were visitors — friends of his from years back. He began by singing a song that he wrote about a year ago: “Jesus, May Your Will Be Done.” There was hardly a dry eye in the audience.

Then he went on to read the first section of Paul’s letter which begins with, “I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing.”

It was a powerful lesson from a man who, indeed, has fought a great fight for the Lord he loves and who trusts deeply in God’s grace. He knows he is going to heaven, fairly soon, and doesn’t want anyone else to miss out on going there, too. 

So here is his song, both as a poem and then as a song with the chords.

 

2016--06--19   03-A    Sarasota,  FL  -- Clay Landes -  by Stan Paregien

Jesus, May Your Will Be Done -- 2, a poem -  by Clay Landes - Copyrighted 2015

Jesus, May Your Will Be Done --  by Clay Landes - Copyrighted 2015

For those who may need a little guidance in how to share their faith more easily with others, I recommend the following book. The author was a student at Lipscomb University in Nashville, Tennessee during part of the time that I was also there. He has had a wonderfully productive Christian life. But he, also, had a diagnosis of cancer and went through many treatments before it went into remission. So he knows what it means to walk through the Valley of the Shadow of death . . . and had been able to help others who needed to walk more closely with the Lord.

1997 book by Randy Becton, EVERYDAY EVANGELISM, page 1

1997 book by Randy Becton, EVERYDAY EVANGELISM, page 2

 

Poem 454   The Purpose of the Lord's Supper - by Stan Paregien Sr  1 Cor 11 v17-34 -- Page 1 of  2

Poem 454   The Purpose of the Lord's Supper - by Stan Paregien Sr  1 Cor 11 v17-34 -- Page 2 of  2

Keep on the Sunny Side   --  Ada Benkhorn in 1928  -- gospel, bluegrassLife's Railroad to Heaven  --  Gospel, bluegrass

2015--02   The Christian Appeal -- Page 1

The above little magazine is one I’ve read and enjoyed for many years. The editors are two “Texified” brothers, Gene Shelburne of Amarillo and Curtis Shelburne of beautiful downtown Muleshoe. They are gifted writers, teachers, authors, and preachers. They are simply solid-citizens and dedicated Christian men. 

Their magazine is not jammed with the latest hot topic or with shrill voices. It is a relaxed and thoughtful, Christ-centered journal with real-life applications. So I hope you will consider becoming a subscriber. The additional good news is that it is free. Yes, Virginia, there really is such a thing as a free magazine. It is free as in no cost to you. Hundreds of folks who appreciate the journal do send money to help out. But, again, there is no subscription fee and you won’t be barraged for a donation. So give it a try. And tell them good ol’ boys that Stan sent ya. The address is below.

2015--02   The Christian Appeal -- Page 2

One of my current challenges is reducing my number of file cabinets from three to no more than two. Sounds easy enough. But my collection of articles, songs, photos, genealogical material, and etc. and etc. is a bit overwhelming. Fifty years of collecting will do that to you. But once or twice a month the notion of junking some of it strikes and I dutifully start through the files.

Well, it was while I was doing that a week or so ago that I came across the following message by a former Bible professor of mine. Dr. Batsell Barrett Baxter was a congenial, soft-spoken man with the heart of a servant and the mind of Christ. While I was at Lipscomb University, he was head of the Bible Department. And he was the beloved preacher for the Hillsboro Church. And . . . he was the featured speaker for many years on the radio and TV broadcasts called “The Herald of Truth” originating from a congregation in Abilene, Texas. So he was a busy, busy man.

On the last page of this four-page message, I have added a few photos of this wonderful Christian gentleman who died of cancer several years ago.

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 1 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 2 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 3 of  4

Baxter, Batsell Barrett  -  'The Days of Our Lives'  -  Page 4 of  4Bible  -- not a bag of trail mix to pick and chose only what you like

 

Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe - Bradenton, FL 06-02-2016  - Benefits farmers in Rwanda - Part 1 of  2

Land of a Thousand Hills Cafe - Bradenton, FL 06-02-2016  - Benefits farmers in Rwanda - Part 2 of  2

 

Family -- Grandma - church - always welcome at church and Grandma's house --FAMILY CIRCUS

 

 

John 03 v16 --  02

Guess I’d better close for now. I do thank you for stopping by on a regular basis to see what is new. The easy way to do that, of course, is just to sign up to receive a simple email notification that I have posted more material. Please consider doing that.

For several years, Peggy and I had a little sign on our dining room wall that said, “Life is short. Eat desert first.” I saw a lot of wisdom in that and sometimes followed it.

The fact is, though, that none of us has a guarantee of even one more hour of life. Folks die all around us on a regular basis. And in that sense we are all “terminally ill.” So, my friend, let’s you and I do what we can with what we have where we are . . . to help others and to make this a better world, condemned though it is. And that also means periodically conducting a self-examination to make sure we have done all we can to have our lives and our house in order when we die. Just sayin’. 

 

Logo---Zia--THE END--300w x 150dpi----pubDomain

 

Issue 332 – Stan Paregien’s 15 eBooks Online

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 332  –  May 4, 2016  –  Stan Paregien Sr., Editor

Periodically I need to stop and introduce my newer internet friends to some of the other things I have written over the years. So what follows here are thumbnail descriptions of the fifteen (15) eBooks of mine which are currently for sale online in a variety of popular formats.

I hope to have another eBook finished by the end of the summer, this one a non-fiction book with loads of photos and information about places and people in our recently adopted state, Florida. When that one is complete, I plan to start the most challenging non-fiction book of my entire career. Can’t tell you much about it, except that it will probably take a year or two for me to complete it. And I hope it will be my best and most-widely received.

After those two very serious projects end, I’ll ease off the keyboard and chip away at my “bucket list” of over 15 more writing projects. Do you know the story of Mrs. Winchester of the famed, odd-ball “Winchester House” in San Jose, California? Well, her hubby invented the Winchester brand rifle. He made a king-sized fortune on the manufacture of his guns and ammunition. After his death, Mrs. Winchester began listening way too much to a gypsy fortuneteller who convinced her that she would not die as long as there were carpenters at work on her house. So this dear lady with deep pockets kept crews of carpenters busy 24-hours of every day for years. So her house had doors and stairways that led nowhere and rooms that had been remodeled dozens of times. But, bless this mislead lady, her heart stopped way before the hammers and saws would have.

Unlike Mrs. Winchester, I really am not working away at my eBooks under some similar delusion that as long as I’m working on a manuscript I will not die. I’m a realist in the awareness that I may not even finish this page, let alone another manuscript, before the Good Lord calls me  to that Writers Retirement Home in the Sky. God knows I’m ready when He is, but I just don’t want to get on the Gospel Train today if it can be helped. So I keep writing.

In the meantime, please read through this information about what I have already done.

 

2016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 01 of 13

2016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 02 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 03 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 04 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 05 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 06 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 07 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 08 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 09 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 10 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 11 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 12 of 132016--05--03   Stan Paregien's Online eBooks  --- list of 15 -- page 13 of 13

There you have it, friends. My blog for today. I really do appreciate you stopping by once in a while to catch up on what is going on in my corner of the world. I am absolutely amazed at the fact we get visits from people in so many countries around the world. Even a few that I’m gonna have to look on a map and find out where they’re located.

From January 1 to May4, 2016, we had visitors from an amazing 64 countries in the world. Here is the list in order of frequency, with the visitors from the United States being 20 times as many as the next country:

(1) United States, (2) France, (3) German, (4) United Kingdom, (5) Columbia, (6) Brazil, (7) Spain, (8) Netherlands, (9) India, (10) South Africa, (11) Hungary, (12) (13) Australia, (14) Jamaica, (15) Norway, (16) Italy, (17) Ghana, (18) Switzerland, (19) Finland, and (20) Sweden.

Also:  Ireland, Poland, European Union, Thailand, Philippines, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Singapore, Chech Republic, Venezuala, New Zealand, Austria, Portugal, Trinidad & Tobago, Belgium, Israel, Chile, Mexico, Twaiwon, Serbia, Argentina, Puerto Rico, Slovenia, Jordan, Ukraine, Russia, Costa Rica, United Arab Emirates, Iceland, Lebanon, Peru, Mayotte, Turkey, Kuwait, Greece, Sri Lanka, Georgia (Russia), Morocco, British Virgin Islands, Ecuador, Romania, and Vatican City.

What? Vatican City. Yep, Vatican City. Hmmm. Wonder if one of them was the Pope?

That wide and semi-permanent exposure of my thoughts to others in other cultures is another reason I keep on writing. 

See ya next time.  

 — Stan                Stan Paregien, Storyteller -- 01--D   300 dpi

P.S. The above logo was designed for me by my late sister, Roberta Paregien Fournier, who died in 2015. I miss my littl’ sister a whole bunch almost every day.

Bar  -- 03   Blue with tan and maroon border - created by Stan Paregien - 2015-11-10

 

 

 

Issue 331 – Music: Merle Haggard & More

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 331  –  April 25, 2016  – Stan Paregien, Sr., Editor

 

Merle Haggard: One of a Kind

by Stan Paregien Sr

Copyrighted April 25, 2016

One of country music’s brightest stars died on his birthday—as he had predicted—on April 6, 2016. Merle Ronald Haggard’s death was due to complications of pneumonia. He died at his ranch estate near Palo Cedro, California, surrounded by family members and close friends. He was 79.
Haggard, Merle  -- young  -  02

Merle Haggard was a multi-talented dynamo of energy and determination. Much like folksinger Woody Guthrie from the 1930s and 1940s, Merle was a singer who reflected the hurts and dreams of the common working people in the United States. He was, indeed, a poet of the people.  He was a skilled guitar player and fiddle player who could hold his own in any band or jam. He was even a pretty good impersonator of other country stars such as Buck Owens and Conway Twitty.

Most of all, he was an earthy, honky-tonk songwriting machine who penned many hundreds, if not 10,000 as he sometimes claimed, of songs. Merle’s songwriting could be ignited by something he saw traveling across the country on his tour bus. Or he might get a great idea from a story in the newspaper. Or he might be fishing on Lake Shasta in northern California and reel in a whopper of a song concept.

He told one interviewer in 2003 that he wrote each song with the audience in mind: “The idea is for them to go home with a belly full of what they came for.” And he added, “You’ve got to remember songs are meant to be sung. You are not writing poetry.” Ironically, in 2008 the Academy of Country Music gave The Hag its “Poet of the Year” award.

Haggard, Merle  --  late in life  -- a quote -- 02

It all started when the Haggard family of Okie dust-bowl refugees left Checotah, Oklahoma about 1934 for a chance of a better life out in the Golden State. His father was James Francis Haggard and his mother was Flossie Mae (Harp), and his two older siblings were a brother Lowell and a sister Lillian (Merle would be born three years later). When they arrived in Bakersfield, Calif., Mr. Haggard luckily found a steady job with the Santa Fe Railroad. They were living in a small apartment when Mr. Haggard bought an old railroad boxcar, bought a small lot in Oildale and put the boxcar on it. He remodeled it into a home, minus a bathroom and any luxuries. Over the years he kept adding on to it until it was a fairly decent home for the family. [On July 29, 2015, movers hauled that old “boxcar/house” over to the Kern County Museum in Oildale where it will reside in the “Pioneer Village” section and can be seen by Haggard’s fans.]

It was in that boxcar in Oildale, California that Merle Ronald Haggard was born on April 6, 1937. Mr. Haggard died in 1945 from a brain hemorrhage when Merle was just nine years old. That left his mother, a devoutly religious woman, alone to try to train and discipline this head-strong boy. She worked full-time as a bookkeeper, but she had even more of a job tending to Merle. He kept getting into trouble at school and she kept cleaning up his messes and trying to corral him. Then came his teen years and he was way out of control. That provided the sad storyline for his song, “Momma Tried.” [NOTE: It turns out, according to Ancestry.com, that there were some distance relatives of mine also living in Oildale about that time. –SP]

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loT_pYzi3Vw

Back when Haggard was twelve-years old, his brother Lowell gave his much-used guitar to him. Merle taught himself to play by listening to records made by Hank Williams, Lefty Frizzell and Bob Wills. Haggard’s first paying gig was in about 1950 with his childhood friend Bob Teague. They played a set at “The Fun Center,” a seedy bar in Modesto. The two of them received free beer and a $5.00 bill.

The Hag grew up as a juvenile delinquent and petty criminal. He hit the big time, though, when he got drunk and tried to burglarizing a roadside bar and café. He was sent to the big house – the really big house — San Quentin prison. That was on Feb. 21, 1958, and he became Inmate 845200. There, in 1958, he sat with hundreds of his fellow inmates and watched Johnny Cash put on a dazzling, high-energy show. Then and there, Merle decided he would learn to do the same thing.

Anyway, when Merle was released from San Quentin in 1960, he went from bar to bar and honky-tonk to honky-tonk pestering the owners until they let him perform. He once said it was either go back to digging ditches in the oil fields or working like a dog in the cotton fields surrounded Bakersfield, . . . or scratch out a living singing his songs. It was an easy decision, but a difficult plan to execute.  

Later, Merle went to a Lefty Frizzell show. The producer allowed Haggard backstage to watch Frizzell. In doing so, he also sang along with Lefty, albeit out of sight of the audience. But the star heard him and like it, so he talked the producer into allowing Merle to step on stage and sing three songs. The audience applauded enthusiastically, and that made him dream more about being a professional singer and musician.

Soon the word got around that, convicted felon or not, this guy had grit and determination. And, heck, he had a style and a message which resonated with folks in the San Joaquin Valley. In 1962, his friend and mentor Wynn Stewart was performing six-nights a week at his own nightclub, “The Nashville Nevada,” in Las Vegas and had a local TV show. Stewart asked Haggard to join him. There Merle heard Stewart’s plaintiff tune, “Sing a Sad Song.” He asked his friend’s permission to record it. And in 1964 that single became a nation-wide hit for Merle.

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwGIncz-7fM

The very next year, he recorded “My Friends Are Gonna Be Strangers” written by Liz Anderson (mother of Lynn Anderson) and it vaulted all the way up to the top 10 list in the country. His career was officially off and running.

Another Liz Anderson tune, “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” (co-written with her husband Casey Anderson) became The Hag’s very first, certified Number 1 hit. And the money and offers began to be thrown at him, big time.

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ejmDQp13YII

It was Merle Haggard and The Strangers band who, with Buck Owens and The Buckaroos, perfected “The Bakersfield Sound” of straight-shooting, no holds barred, twangy music made with Fender Telecaster guitars, weepy steel guitars and pounding drums.  In Haggard’s band, it was Ralph Mooney playing the steel guitar and Roy Nichols teasing hot-licks out of his Fender Telecaster guitar.

My late cousin, Roger K. Paregien, grew up in Bakersfield. He told me of how he knew Haggard fairly well when he was struggling to make a name for himself playing in the bars and clubs in the area. And my cousin Jerry R. Paregien, while living in Yuba City, Calif., often went fishing and camping at Lake Shasta. He and his wife often saw Merle fishing from his unusual houseboat which he called “Hotel Thermadore.”

The Hag ordered his houseboat specifically for use on Lake Shasta. The official park and lake regulations specified that no vessel could be larger than 15 feet wide and no longer than 50 feet. Well, Merle had his own specifications. His houseboat, launched in 1982, was a three-story vessel that, with catwalks along the sides, measured 18 feet wide and 50 feet long. The rangers protested and, eventually, Merle removed the side catwalks. It was a well-designed party boat which even had a private fishing well inside, where he and his guests could fish day or night without being viewed. He sold his houseboat in 2006. The new owners removed the third story and did extensive updates. It is now called “The Shasta Queen” and can be seen cruising the waters of Lake Shasta. 

Haggard, Merle -- his former houseboat, now called 'The Shasta Queen'

The “Okie from Muskogee” man was at his peak of popularity from about 1965 to 1990.  Merle wrote “Okie from Muskogee” in 1969 while traveling on his tour bus, and it was nothing but his own poke-in-the-eye of the hippies and protesters of that period. However, folks interpreted it as a patriotic piece of Americana and made it one of his best-selling songs. A watershed moment for the Hag came when the Country Music Association in 1970 named his song “Okie From Muskogee” the best single of the year and the album from which it came was the album of the year. Best of all, they name Merle Haggard the Entertainer of the Year.”

YouTube:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=68cbjlLFl4U

In 1972, the sitting Governor of California—a former actor named Ronald Reagan—gave Haggard a full pardon.

Haggard, Merle  --  with Governor Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy

Merle Haggard shares a laugh with California Governor Ronald Reagan and wife Nancy.

And nearly as sweet, Merle had an unprecedented run of nine consecutive Number 1 hits between 1973 and 1976. In 1980, he had another Number 1 hit with “Bar Room Buddies” featuring a duet between himself and mega-star actor Clint Eastwood (for the movie “Bronco Billy”). 

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7l0luZHf_yg

Haggard, Merle  --  with Clint Eastwood  'Barroom Buddies'

Then in Haggard’s autobiography, Sing Me Back Home, was published in 1981. Another musical streak started for Merle that year. From then to 1985, he produced 12 more songs that jumped right into the Top 10 barrel. Heck, 9 of those 12 climbed all the way to Uno Numero. Those number one recordings included “Someday When Things are Good,” “Natural High,” and “Going Where the Lonely Go.” And in 1982 he and George Jones worked together to drive “Yesterday’s Wine” to the top of the chart. Then he repeated that duet thing with “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson in 1983 and rode it to the top of the heap. He was hot. Very hot.

However, his marriage was not. Not hot, that is. He and Leona Williams, after only five years, split the sheets. The next ten years of wild partying became mostly a blur for The Hag, as he abused both alcohol and drugs and sex. But early on, in 1984, he cranked out the great song, “That’s the Way Love Goes” and for it won a “Best Male County Vocal Performance” award from the Grammy folks.

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcUZst4vcAM

The last song he would ever have ring the Number 1 bell was one of my personal favorites: “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star.”

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AfGqJzacgQU

My wife, Peggy, says her favorite Merle Haggard song is “Rainbow Stew.”

YOUTUBE:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FEDT7QGDzsE

The Country Music Hall of Fame inducted Haggard in 1994. And soon, amazingly enough, he took his honky-tonk Bakersfield music on a highly successful tour with The Rolling Stones and with Bob Dylan.

I remember a stressful time in my own life when my wife and I were in financial stress. And I recall latching onto Haggard’s sad-but-hopeful song, “If We Make It Through December.” It still brings tears to my eyes.

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGDo1Jybs_I

Other demons in Haggard’s life included the bottle, drugs and a long list of broken relationships of the female variety. He was married five times. The first was Leona Hobbs Williams, a singer, which ran from 1956 to 1964. The second was Bonnie Owens, former wife of Buck Owens, who sang harmony, and they were together as mates from 1965 to 1978.

Haggard, Merle with wife Bonnie Owens H and George Jones and Tammy Wynette

Tammy Wynette and George Jones with Mr. & Mrs. Merle Haggard (Bonnie Owens Haggard)

That same year, Haggard married his fourth lady, Debbie Parret, but they divorced in 1991. His fifth wife, and the one who was still with him at the time of his death, was Theresa Lane. He had a total of six children. 

Haggard was so in touch with the hearts of his fans that he had 38 songs reach Number 1 on the charts. At one point in his career he released nine songs in a row that made it to Number 1. Over 100 of his songs were successful enough to at least make it on the charts, no small accomplishment for any entertainer.

Here is the list of his thirty-eight (yes, 38) Number 1 hits and the year each was honored: (1) “I’m a Lonesome Fugitive” in 1966; (2) “Branded Man” in 1967; (3) “Sing Me Back Home” in 1968; (4) “The Legend of Bonnie and Clyde” in 1968; (5) “Mama Tried” in 1968; (6) “Hungry Eyes” in 1969; (7) “Workin’ Man Blues” in 1969; (8) “Okie from Muskogee” in 1969; (9) “The Fightin’ Side of me” in 1970; (10) “Daddy Frank” in 1971; (11) “Carolyn” in 1971; (12) “Grandma Harp” in 1972; (13) “It’s Not Love (But It’s Not Bad)” in 1972; (14) “I Wonder If They Ever Think of Me” in 1972; (15) “Everybody’s Had the Blues” in 1973; (16) “If We Make It through December” in 1973; (17) “Things Aren’t Funny Anymore” in 1974; (18) “Old Man from the Mountain” in 1974; and (19) “Kentucky Gambler” in 1974.

And (20) “Always Wanting You” in 1975; (21) “Movin’ On” in 1975; (22) “It’s All in the Movies” in 1975; (23) “The Roots of My Raising” in 1975; (24) “Cherokee Maiden” in 1976; (25) “Bar Room Buddies” with Clint Eastwood in 1980; (26) “I Think I’ll Just Say Here and Drink” in 1980; (27) “My Favorite Memory” in 1981; (28) “Big City” in 1981; (29) “Yesterday’s Wine” with George Jones in 1982; (30) “Going Where the Lonely Go” in 1982; (31) “You Take Me for Granted” in 1982; (32) “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson in 1983; (33) “That’s the Way Love Goes” in 1984; (35) “Let’s Chase Each Other Around the Room” in 1984; (36) “A Place to Fall Apart” with Janie Frickie in 1984; (37) “Natural High” in 1985; and (38) his very last Number 1 song of his whole career, “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star” in 1987. 

Merle Haggard achieved those 38 Number 1 records in a span of just 15 years. He would continue performing around the world for another 29 years, but would never again have a Number 1 hit.

On stage, he preferred to sing his songs rather than to talk much to his audiences. My wife and I went to a concert in Las Vegas in 1986 which featured George Jones, Merle Haggard and Conway Twitty doing their individual sets. Merle, like George Jones, came out and said little; but delivered a solid performance of his hit songs. The evening was stolen by Conway Twitty. The hormones of the women in the audience went into overdrive when he came out and said, “Hello, darlin'” in his deep, sexy voice. Then throughout the program he shared stories about his career, his long friendships with other performers, and such. The concert featuring these three legends was a moment to remember, but Twitty best connected with the audience.

Merle Haggard’s standard practice, during the last two decades of his career, was to approach each concert and live audience was to go with the flow. He no longer worked for a set-in-concrete set list. With an inventory of some 300 songs he could easily draw from at any moment, he liked just winging the show and following the applause of the audience as a good signal of the type of songs they wanted. Not many performers are comfortable with that arrangement.

Merle and his wife Bonnie Owens in 1965 were selected for the “Best Vocal Group” for their duet songs in a whole album, and in 1967 that won “Top Duo.” In 1970, the Academy of Country Music named him “Entertainer of the Year.” In 1977, Merle Haggard was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame. In 1982 his song, “Are the Good Times Really Over” won the “Song of the Year” award. In 1995, he walked away from the Academy of Country Music awards show with their “Pioneer Award.” In 1997, he was inducted into the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame. In 2006, he was honored with a “Lifetime Achievement Award” from the Grammy organization and he also won the BMI “Icon Award.”  In 2010, he went to Washington, D.C., where he was given a Kennedy Center Award. The Academy of Country Music in 2013 bestowed on him its “Crystal Milestone Award.”

In 2015, Merle joined forces with old-friend Willie Nelson, again. This time they did a duet on video titled “It’s All Going to Pot.” Both Haggard and Nelson were both shown smoking marijuana joints. That was no surprise for Willie’s followers, but probably was for a lot of people who love Merle’s music.

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A6c6eUeoa9Q

There were clues, however, in various interviews when Haggard poopooed the efforts of the Federal government to enforce anti-pot laws. In a magazine interview in 2003, he said: “I had different views in the ’70s. As a human being, I’ve learned [more]. I have more culture now. I was dumb as a rock when I wrote ‘Okie From Muskogee’. That’s being honest with you at the moment, and a lot of things that I said [then] I sing with a different intention now. My views on marijuana have totally changed. I think we were brainwashed and I think anybody that doesn’t know that needs to get up and read and look around, get their own information. It’s a cooperative government project to make us think marijuana should be outlawed.”

 

Haggard, Merle  -- and Willie Nelson  --  01

Merle & Willie

Now, one little-known talent that ol’ Merle had was in impersonating other country music stars. In the video below, he is on the Glen Campbell Show and impersonates Marty Robbins, Hank Snow, Buck Owens and Johnny Cash (with Owens and Cash appearing with them).

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t4V3S7kGNjY

Haggard, Merle  --  with Buck Owens, Johnny Cash and Glen Campbell

Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens & Glen Campbell

Then here is another impersonation session on live TV in which Merle Haggard and wife Bonnie Owens Haggard sing together, and Marty Robbins is there.

YOUTUBE:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ng5bPhCHAIs

On April 9, 2016, a private funeral service was conducted at the Haggard estate in northern California. Nashville star and long-time friend Connie Smith sang “Precious Memories,” while she and husband Marty Stuart sang a duet of “Silver Wings.” The Hag’s old buddy Kris Kristoffersen sang “Sing Me Back Home, Again” and “For a Moment of Forever.” Then Willie Nelson’s son, Micah Nelson, joined Kristoffersen in singing the Willie-Merle hit song, “Pancho and Lefty.” After that, Haggard’s own sons—Ben, Marty and Noel—joined Kristoffersen in singing “Today I Started Loving You, Again,” a song written by Merle Haggard and wife Bonnie Owens Haggard in 1968.

Haggard, Merle  -- with Kris Kristoffersen  --  01

Merle & Kris a few years back

The tired, worn-out body of Merle Haggard was thus laid to rest. However, his large inventory of music CD’s and DVD’s and videos will help keep his legendary talent in the public’s mind for decades and decades to come. Real estate sales people, particularly in California, always like to say, “Buy property now, ’cause they ain’t making any more.” They’re not making any more Merle Haggards, either. So it is hard to guess what young country music star might one day over-shadow the career of Merle Haggard, but we know that eventually it will happen.

Still, ‘ol Merle’s music will be heard across America as long as the grass grows and the water flows.

End.

2016--03--20--B     Dion DiMucci of 'Dion and the Belmonts'

2016--02--22   Death of country singer SONNY JAMES at age 87

2016--03--20    Neil Young, 'My Defining Moment'

House concerts reappearing - by Ginny Beagan -- Page 1 of 2

House concerts reappearing - by Ginny Beagan -- Page 2 of 2

Alright, friends and internet neighbors, here are a few songs that some of you may want to learn and share with your own friends.

Somebody Make Trump Go Away -- a song copyrighted 2016--03--10 by Stan Paregien Sr

Banjos  --  Music  -- Maestro spends eternity in the banjo room in hell

 

 

Atheists Don't Have No Songs  -- by comedian Steve Martin -- page 1 of  2

'I got the ain't nobody reading my tweets blues.'

Big Boss Man  --  by Al Smith and Luther Dixon  -- Blues

Blue Ridge Mountain Blues  --  by Bill Clifton and Buddy Dee  -- bluegrass

Gift, The -- by Garth Brooks -- page 1 of 2 -- Christmas songGift, The -- by Garth Brooks -- page 2 of 2 -- Christmas song

He's In the Jailhouse Now  --  blues, bluegrass

Isle of Innisfree   --  by Richard Farrelly of Ireland -- Irish song

Music -- banjo - he told me he's a musician, but he's a banjo player

1900s -- early  --  All-Girl Orchestra in Manatee County, Florida

Music  --  Mother Grimm cartoon 'Doe, a female dear, - - -' buzzards sing

Thank you, so much, for stopping by and spending part of your day with me here at the ol’ cowboy bunkhouse. See ya the next time.

— Stan

AA  Fair Use Disclaimer - 01 -- designed on by Stan Paregien Sr on 2016-02-01

 

Issue 323 – Life in Florida, Part 1

The Paregien Journal  –  Issue 323  –  Friday, Feb. 12, 2016

Stan Paregien, Editor

Life in Florida, Part 1

This issue is devoted to showing  a number of photos taken at some of our recent music events. Since moving to Bradenton, Florida in June of 2013, we have hosted maybe 5 or 6 music jams in our home. We maxed out with 19 folks the last time. So we thought about hosting a music jame at our clubhouse in Plantation Grove MHP in Bradenton, Florida.That would allow us to invite a lot more folks and several more musicians. 

As we were exploring that idea, I also decided to add poetry to the mix. You see, there is a long-standing tradition at cowboy festivals across the country of including music, poetry, storytelling and the reading of formal papers on various cowboy subjects. So Peggy and I decided to give it and try here. 

The first time we hosted a “Music & Poetry Show” at our clubhouse we had some 42 folks show up. And several people were prepared to read some poetry for us. It seems to be a welcomed combination, though unusual in this area. So please come enjoy the fun. If you plan an instrument and/or sing, we’d be happy to have you perform. We would particularly like to add a fiddle player, a harmonica player, a dulcimer player, a mandolin play and even a drummer or a steel guitar player. They just seem to be scarce in these parts. And if you want to read poems, each being no more than 4 minutes in length, we’d be happy for you to share with us.

 

2015--11--20   2672    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2674    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2675    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2676    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2678    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--11--20   2679    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam -  copyrighted by Peggy Paregien

2015--12--11   2705--A    Bradenton, FL --  Music and Poetry Jam

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2016--0006--A   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0006--B   Jan 15  - Bradenton, FL   PG Music and Poetry Jam - by Stan Paregien2016--0008   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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2016--0009   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin2016--0010   Jan 15  Bradenton, FL -- PG Music and Poetry Jam -- by Virginia Corbin

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Those who share some poems with us last time included Evelyn Sklair, Virginia Corbin, Joyce Sparks, Don Betts, Judy Teeuwen, Mike Teeuwen, Eunice Iacovacci and Tom White.

So, there you have it. Our “Music & Poetry Shows” are just a lot of casual, home-grown fun. We don’t take ourselves too seriously. Each person who reads a poem, plays an instrument and/or sings a song is doing it just out of the pure joy of sharing with our friends and neighbors and other guests. Please note that no one involved with this event receives a payment for services rendered, other than the applause of the audience.

Below you’ll find the flyer for the next show. Won’t you please consider joining us??

Flyer 1 - for 2016--02--19  Music and Poetry Show -- by Stan Paregien

NOTE: Sometimes we have new folks say, “What the heck is finger food?” That just means we’d like to only have things that can be eaten with one’s fingers as we do not sit out knives or forks. We’re looking for non-messy cookies, carrots, crackers, chips, celery sticks, peanuts, and such. Coffee (both regular and decalf) and water are free.

Invite a friend and come on down.

End.

 

Issue 318 – An Evening with John McEuen

The Paregien Journal – Issue 318 – Dec. 21, 2015

Stan Paregien, Editor

 

An  Evening with John McEuwen

2015--12--20   2716--A1    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band was founded in Long Beach, California in 1966. Band members came and went, and the band itself performed under the name “Dirt Band” from 1976 to 1981.

The members with longest tenures include singer-guitarist Jeff Hanna, harmonica player and drummer Jimmie Fadden, and banjo-guitar-mandolin player/singer John McEuen. The band’s successes include a cover version of Jerry Jeff Walker’s “Mr. Bojangles” and a bit hit with “Fishing in the Dark.”

NGDB’s many albums include 1972’s  “Will the Circle be Unbroken,” featuring such traditional country artists as Mother Maybelle Carter, Earl Scruggs, Roy Acuff, Doc Watson, Merle Travis, and Jimmy Martin.

A follow-up album based on the same concept, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken: Volume Two” was released in 1989. It was certified gold, won two Grammy Awards and was named Album of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.

Jimmie Fadden and John McEuen performed with other members of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band on a “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” reunion, also featuring guests Allison Krauss, Vince Gill, etc. See the YouTube posting at:

 

Also, see a brief Documentary on the making of “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” collaboration:

 

And, just for a hoot, watch a clip of a dozen or so stars performing “Will the Circle Be Unbroken.” Includes Jimmy Martin, Jeff Hanna (NGDB), Michael Martin Murphy, John Denver, Paulette Carlson, Carter Sisters, New Grass Revival, and Murphy,Vassar Clements

 

 

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2015--12--20   2716--E    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- Matt Cartisonis- copyrighted by Stan Paregien

Matt Cartsonis not only sings well, but he plays about a dozen instruments. And he composes music for movies and TV programs.

2015--12--20   2716--F    Sarasota, FL --  John McEuen Birthday Concert -- J Robert - copyrighted by Stan Paregien

J. Robert, fiddler, a resident of Marco Island, Florida

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There were, at my estimation, about 125 or more of us seated at tables both inside the Fogartyville Community Center building and just outside on the patio. My three buddies and I were seated out on the patio, just 30 feet or so from the stage and a great view of the band.

The crowd, a mixture of men and women on the . . . uh, well, . . . the more mature side of life . . . , were enthusiastic about the performances. If you haven’t been to a sure-’nuff live concert lately, well neighbor, then it has been too long. Git up from in front of the TV and go. You’ll be glad you did.

END.