Tuesday, September 08, 2015

The Definition



https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vfyayWe6_oY
I'm not a big country music fan but this entry is about one song I love. It's from June 26, 2011.
I'm a serial channel changer, both in my living room with the television and in the car with my radio. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, I have limited options in both places so I run the gamut in short order. Last week, as I was going to camp one morning, I was typically sliding through my five music and two sports talk radio stations when I hit on Okie From Muskogee. I'm not a big country music fan but I cranked  it up and started singing with the legendary Merle Haggard. It may have been years since I'd heard it but I could pretty much go word-for word with 97.1 on the FM dial in Houston. Okie From Muskogee won the Single Of The Year in 1969 from the Academy of Country Music and its author/performer Haggard was chosen as Male Vocalist of that same year. Haggard implied that it was at least partly a satire but to many, it is the defining song of his storied career. I actually was in Muskogee once as I was traveling with one of my college basketball teammates, Duane Jenks, who lived in nearby Braggs, population 301 according to the 2000 Census. It's safe to say that Okie From Muskogee, which reached # 1 on the Billboard charts, help put its namesake on the mental map of many American. It certainly did with a kid from Nebraska.

As I sang along with Merle, I realized that to me, this song is the definition of country music or country music as it used to be. (My apologies to David Allen Coe who believed his You Never Even Call Me By My Name was the perfect song of this genre.) Okie sounds country, it has country themes, it evokes memories, it's not complicated, and you can sing along to it.  If someone from another country asked what country music was all about, I would play this song. My job is to teach kids about Jesus and all my classes focus on Jesus. In our sermon tonight, our guest preacher, Truitt Adair, said, "If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus," and that is what we do. Quite naturally, we spend considerable time on the Parable Of The Prodigal Son. One note I always give is that this teaching of Jesus has been called The Gospel In a Nutshell. If you have only one chance to convince someone of the love of God, tell them this story because in spite of the carelessness and greed of the younger brother and the anger and hatred of the older brother, the Father was full of love and forgiveness and mercy. It's the only time in scriptures that God is portrayed as running as He goes out to meet the son that gave up home and fellowship with family for the wild life. Merle Haggard said Okie From Muskogee was formulated while in prison and he realized the value of the freedom he had lost. Kind of like the younger son who found his own type of prison when he ran away to find freedom but lost what he already had at home in the protection of the One who loved him the best. I think there's a song in there somewhere.

Applicable quote of the day:
"There's a rumor that there may be an attempt at organizing a possible script for a series on my life, which, when you look at my police record, you'd have to have more than one hour to tell the story."
Merle Haggard


PS: My runner-up song that is the definition of country music is Patsy Cline's She's Got You. If you have a nomination of your own, leave  it as a comment or tell me on FACEBOOK!

God bless,
Steve
Luke 18:1

http://www.hawleybooks.com/
E-mail me at steve@hawleybooks.com

2 comments:

duane.jenks@rhchurch.org said...

Thanks for letting me know you remembered! Do you also remember us driving that morning for 5 hours in fog so thick you could only see about 150 feet, all the way to the Kansas line at I-35 when we drove out of it and left behind that enormous cloud bank on the ground?
Duane Jenks

duane.jenks@rhchurch.org said...

Thanks for letting me know you remembered! Do you also remember us driving that morning for 5 hours in fog so thick you could only see about 150 feet, all the way to the Kansas line at I-35 when we drove out of it and left behind that enormous cloud bank on the ground?
Duane Jenks