Friday, June 20, 2003

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Picked up a new CD Thursday: 20th Century Masters - The Millennium Collection: The Best of Roger Miller.

I was 4-5 years old during Miller's commercial peak. Songs like "Dang Me", "You Can't Rollerskate in a Buffalo Herd" and of course the ultra-catchy "King of the Road" were irresistable to a little kid (and apparently a lot of bigger ones as well). But he was just not an artist who I was interested in when I got older and started to buy my own music. He seemed like cornball country to me.

Many years later, I was playing some guitar with my friend Mark Hayes (we briefly considered trying to do a duo type thing), and he had been listening to a Miller album and had worked up a medley of sorts with a rearranged "King", and a couple of other songs. He was quite evangelical in his fervor for Miller's music and it started me thinking I should listen to it again, which I did, and it was enjoyable but I still wasn't moved to buy.

Out of the blue, last Sunday, I had "Dang Me" stuck in my head, and I began to wonder if there wasn't a cheap collection out there of Roger's early 60s hits, and sure enough, I found the 20th Century Masters disc on Amazon. Tuesday, I was in Walmart and found a copy for nine dollars. At last, Roger Miller when I want it.

In addition to the aforementioned tunes, this collection also sports "England Swings", "Chug-A-Lug", and "Husbands And Wives", a song Ringo Starr covered on his 1974 album Goodnight Vienna, and covered very well. I've always considered it one of Ringo's best attempts at country music. You know, someone should collect all of Ringo's country songs, both solo and with the Fabs, on one CD. Hell, I'd buy it...but I digress...

Miller was a talented songwriter who sadly had his biggest successes with his most trivial songs; he got pigeonholed in a big way and never really had a lot of mainstream success after his early-mid 60s glory days. I understand he did a lot of great music after that period, I'll take their word for it. Maybe someday I'll get around to investigating it further...for now I'm content with one of the most enjoyable (and for me, nostalgic) set of songs I've listened to in many a moon.