PHOTOGRAPHY OF HENRY HORENSTEIN AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE — HONKY TONK

*

Jesus, take the wheel– Country music has done run itself off into a ditch.

The hollow Country/Pop crossover stars of today are more L.A. than Nashville.  They make Garth Brooks look like Hank Williams.  Video killed the AM radio star.  Henry Horenstein’s Portraits of Country Music 1972-1981 is a hugely inspiring photographic archive that perfectly captures the days when Country was C-O-U-N-T-R-Y.  The artists talked the talk, and walked the walk.  They had personality, talent, were characters, and yes– could be a bit corny as well.  But in retrospect, that too is part of the charm and allure. So take a spin.  Each brilliant Horenstein capture is better than the last, and makes me pine for simpler times– not to mention an icy cold can of Schlitz.

__________________________________________________________________

*

15 July 1972, Billerica, MA — Don Stover was a bluegrass banjo picker from White Oak, West Virginia. He came to Boston in 1952 with the Lilly Brothers from nearby Beckley and they played together for over eighteen years at Boston’s Hillbilly Ranch. Stover had great influence on a generation of important young banjo pickers. He influenced Bill Keith who introduced chromatic scales to bluegrass as a member of Bill Monroe’s band and Bela Fleck, a bluegrass and jazz-fusion star. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

1972, Boston, MA — Porter Wagoner Sitting on a Piano Playing Guitar (nice Nudie suit Porter) — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1978, Boston, MA — Lilly Brothers reunion show at the Hillbilly Ranch. The term “Honky Tonk” strictly refers to the type of bar that became popular after prohibition ended in the mid 1930′s. These bars were a little seedy and usually located on the outskirts of town. Honky tonks were a haven where a band could learn and hone its skills. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — A member of the original Grand Ole Opry cast, Deford Bailey was known as “The Harmonica Wizard” and was popular for his ability to simulate the sound of a train on that instrument. But his musical career was short-lived. After he was fired from the show in 1941, due to changing musical styles and racism, he retired from music and ran a shoeshine stand in Nashville until his death in 1982. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1981, Hanover, Massachusetts, United States — Johnson Mountain Boys with Eddie Stubbs (fiddle), Larry Robbins (bass), Richard Underwood (banjo), David McLaaughlin (mandolin), and Dudley Connell (guitar). From 1972 to 1981 country music and bluegrass festivals were in their formative years. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Franklin Delano Reeves has had a long caeer in country music beginning when he was a teenager in North Carolina in the 1940s. He moved to the Bakersfield, California area in the 1950s and made an aborted foray into rock-and-roll. Then moving to Nashville in the 1960s, he finally found a home. “Girl on the Billboard,” “The Belles of Southern Belle,” “Women Do Funny Things to Me,” “Looking at the World Through a Windshield,” and “The Philadelphia Fillies” were among his hit songs. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1973, Reeds Ferry, New Hampshire — Ernest Tubb greets his fans at the Lone Star Ranch.  – Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 Jan 1975, Annapolis, Maryland — Born Harold Jenkins, Conway Twitty began his career as a rockabily singer in the Elvis Presley mold and in 1958 had a pop hit “Its Only Make Believe.” Twitty switched to straight country music in the mid-1960′s and for more than two decades had dozens of top-ten country hits. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Country music fans waiting in line at the Grand Ole Opry. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

1972, Boston, Massachusetts — Porter Wagoner and Dolly Parton were a popular duet couple from 1967 to 1974, appearing on the Porter Wagoner Show. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Nashville, Tennessee — Country music fans waiting in line at the Grand Ole Opry.– Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1975, Annapolis, Maryland — Loretta Lynn had a dozen of top-ten hits such as “Don’t Come Home a Drinkin’ (with Lovin’ on Your Mind),” “Your Squaw is on the Warpath,” “You Aint Woman Enough (to Take My Man)” and “Coal Miner’s Daughter” which was also the title of a movie about her life in 1980 with Sissy Spacek in the starring role. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Nashville, Tennessee — Audience members at the Grand Ole Opry.  – Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Carol Lee Cooper backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Grandpa Jones was best known for his work on the Grand Ole Opry, starting in 1946, and Hee Haw, often performing with his wife Ramona. Born Louis Marshall Jones, he actually started playing as “Grandpa” in 1935 at the age of 22, teaming up with Bradley Kincaid to work the Lum and Abner radio show broadcast from Boston. The act worked well together until Jones died in 1998. He suffered a stroke on the Opry stage. As cast members gathered around him, he looked up and said, “See, I can still draw a crowd.” — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Reeds Ferry, New Hampshire, USA — A couple dancing to Webb Pierce at the Lone Star Ranch. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Boston, Massachusetts — Dolly Parton’s first hit was “Dumb Blonde” in 1967, and worked in the Porter Wagoner band from 1967 to 1974. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Coeburn, Virginia — Ralph Stanley started in 1946 with his brother Carter as the Stanley Brothers. Ralph regrouped after Carter’s death in 1966 and became a favorite on the emerging folk circuit. This new audience helped preserve the band and the unique old-time mountain sound. In 2001, “Dr. Ralph” won the Grammy Award for best male performance for his “O Death,” a traditional tune from the soundtrack of the film “O Brother Where Art Thou?”  – Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Berryville, Virginia — Bluegrass music fans at the Berryville Bluegrass Festival. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

25 June 1974, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — A dog playing the banjo at the Gettysburg Bluegrass Festival. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1975, Cambridge, Massachusetts — Waylon Jennings was born in Littlefield, Texas in 1937 and personified the hard-living honky tonk lifestyle. He played bass with rock-and-roll legend Buddy Holly in the 1950′s, misbehaved with Johnny Cash in the 1960′s, and had dozens of top-ten hits including 1978′s “Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys.” It was as an “Outlaw” that Waylon along with Willie Nelson, Tompall Glaser, Billy Joe Shaver and others streamlined arrangements, eschewed cliched lyrics and modernized country music by returning to its soulful roots and mixing in alittle rock-and-roll. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Cambridge, Massachusetts — Roscoe Holcomb (1911-1981) played banjo, guitar and harmonica and sang unaccompanied in a haunting piercing voice which musician and photographer John Cohen dubbed the “high lonesome sound.”  Holcomb made music in churches and dances but made his living in the coal mines and in construction. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Boston, Massachusetts — A patron in Hillbilly Ranch. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1975, Boston, Massachusetts — Jerry Lee Lewis a.k.a. “The Killer” is in the Rock-and-Roll Hall of Fame, but his roots are deep country and his life pure soap opera. He set his stage piano on fire, married his thirteen-year-old cousin, and endured health problems and family tragedies. After his rock career died, Lewis was a constant presence on the country chart in the 1960s and 1970s. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — A harmonica player sitting in the Merchant’s Cafe. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1975, Nashville, Tennesse — Lovers at the Tootsies Orchid Lounge. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Tootsies Orchid Lounge at closing time. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1977, Lafayette, Louisiana — Some patrons drinking at a honky tonk. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Patron plays a song at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 Jul 1974, Nashville, Tennessee — Last call at Tootsies Orchid Lounge. — Image by © Henry Horenstein /Corbis

*

*

15 July 1978, Boston, Massachusetts — Patron listens to a band at the Hillbilly Ranch. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Nashville, Tennessee — Called Stringbean for his long and lanky look, David Akeman was a comedian and banjo player in the old-time country tradition. He told corny jokes and “frailed” his instrument, strumming down on the strings and lifting them up in a style that predated modern bluegrass banjo. While not known as a recording artist, Stringbean was popular in live performances. He was widely admired for his role as a member of the Hee Haw television show and of the Grand Ole Opry (1948-1973). Tragically, Stringbean and his wife, Estelle, were murdered during a robbery attempt in their home. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

*

15 July 1972, Nashville, Tennessee — A wall at the Tootsies Orchid Lounge. — Image by © Henry Horenstein/Corbis

*

more here at the official site http://www.honkytonkbook.com/index.html

*

*

20 thoughts on “PHOTOGRAPHY OF HENRY HORENSTEIN AN AMERICAN ARCHIVE — HONKY TONK

  1. What an essential and beautiful collection! Thank you for spreading it. These are priceless photographs. We are just so strange and clever, we humans!

  2. Excellent post my friend. I’m amazed that you have all of these awesome photos and the history behind them all… You Rock!

  3. Was at Berryville in ’74! I grew up in this mix; my dad was a singer/guitar player. We hosted “Uncle Jack’s Bluegrass” festivals in Florence, MD in the mid ’70′s. Great post!

  4. Wow! Here’s one you could run down… Rockabilly performer/promoter and Pagan’s MC member Billy Poore booked Conway Twitty into the ballroom at Vista Speedway in Lanham, MD in January, 1967. The audience was mostly Pagan’s members, and they “convinced” Conway to play his early rock and roll hits that night. Billy told the story in his book Rockabilly: A Forty-Year Journey, and Mark Opsasnick also told about it in his book Capitol Rock.

    Wouldn’t THAT have been a helluva night/gig to witness…

  5. I love your Americana. Whenever I look at your posts — I feel nostalgic. For such a relatively young culture, American culture is so rich. Thanks for reminding us of this wonderful rich culture we all share.

  6. Dolly Parton was a regular on The Porter Waggoner Show in the early seventies–when performers would actually do commercials for their sponsors.

    I’ll never forget Dolly’s pitch line for free bath towels that would come included in a box of laundry soap: “…But you can’t buy ‘em, you can only find ‘em in boxes of Breeze!”.

  7. Great post as always, just a heads up, David Bryne gave a talk on music and architecture at TED this year and he used that photo “Last call at Tootsies Orchid Lounge” as a one of his slides.

  8. Far out man! Brings back early memories of my own.It was another world then;better in some ways and definantly not in other ways. keep it coming!

  9. Even though they weren’t country music fans, my grandparents watched Hee Haw. At the time, I thought it was corny, but now I have come to appreciate its old-fashioned fun. I kinda miss it now.

  10. Pingback: NUDIE COHN | RHINESTONE COWBOY « The Selvedge Yard

Comments are closed.