September 21st, 2009

Blown away by youtube...

Okay, I sit here blown off my chair. I had no idea that Youtube could be so amazing.

In all innocence I got interested in the old ballad "Now and then there's a fool such as I." I know it goes back to my childhood, but I know and really like the version by Baillie and the Boys. In fact, I just got its cd over eBay. After playing it I got curious about the song. Wikipedia told me about its long history, really starting with the Hank Snow original version around 1952. So I go to Youtube and am gobsmacked.

You can hear almost every version of "A fool such as I" right there, just following the menu song after song. Jim Reeves did a great mellow version. Elvis had a number one hit in 1959. In 1967 Dylan did a basement tape of it. You can hear it in concert, see it in videos of just some guy playing it and loving it. There is a fantastic Friday Night Jam of it, a bunch of old folks playing steel guitars and violins -- so fun to hear it almost makes you cry. As I type I am listening to a steel guitar solo by Buck Grantham playing at the Smoky Mountain Steel Guitar Jamboree in 1994. Talk about sweet hearing the old fellow milk that guitar.

What I am doing here simply could not be done before Youtube. There would be no way to hear twenty versions of one song to compare artists. The funny thing? That ballad is so sweet that even bad musicians make sweet versions of it.

Do you remember Elvis' version?