Welcome to your weekend alt country music post! We have finally arrived to a period during, and immediately after, Parsons entered the scene.
While Parsons was busy building on what the Byrds started, there was a whole lot of creativity in the Country music scene. I mentioned that the Marshall Tucker Band, the Outlaws, and others, were pushing the more confined popular country music genre into new territory.
This post is not really so much about alt country or torch and twang (whatever) as it is about what Parsons inspired and made even more acceptable. If anyone listens to Sirius/XM you will hear Marshall Tucker, and Neil Young along with the more modern alt country bands, Whiskeytown, Old 97s, Richard Buckner, and the like, on the Outlaw channel. Yet, you would also hear such bands on AOL’s alt country channel too.
Many of the bands in the 70s had a more rocking sound, and were, interestingly, southern. Southern Rock comes from the what the Byrds and Parsons (and the Burrito Brothers) wrought. But there were many mid-western influences here as well, like the Ozark Mountain Daredevils. These bands were ex-60s rock-n-roll hippies who discovered country was a truly American craft. There was an appreciation for the soul and the simplicity to the country music scene. Yet, never far behind, was the rock influence.
Therefore, some songs and OLD videos of what was once the 70s and early 80s. If you were alive listening to terrestrial radio (KICE and KFAT) in the 1970s, you would here these bands, and they would be called “country”:
Pure Prairie League
New Riders of the Purple Sage–Panama Red
Ozark Mountain Daredevils–Jackie Blue
Molly Hatchet (yes, they belong here on the rock side of the country influence)
Amazing Rhythm Aces: This song was actually a huge mainstream country hit, but the Aces were no mainstream band:
This post would not be complete without OLD ZZ TOP. I think, along with Marshall Tucker, that ZZ was one of the most influential country rock bands of the 1970s. And, as many alt country folks would admit, old ZZ Top was influential (wait until you here the Scorchers give them a shout out)–by the early 80s, ZZ was a sell out band. Still, ZZ formed in 1969 and by 1971 they were packing the house, and a few domes, in Texas. Country, rock, and blues makes up the ZZ influence:
Back Door Love Affair (Live), but from their first album:
Up next: Jason and the Scorchers, the Long Ryders, Cowboy Junkies–the bands that many thought would drive a dagger into the heart of mainstream country. The Scorchers would come to believe that the Outlaw band Charlie Daniels were sellouts.
By the 1980s, there were many country and americana music lovers who thought that the mainstream country acts were not only more or less pop acts, but also ripping the heart and soul from true musicianship. It was a contentious decade, again, all spawned by the Byrds and Parsons.