Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Songs: Father's Day Edition-Kenny Rogers

         Today's Sunday Songs is a special edition.  What's more special that pre-plastic surgery Kenny Rogers?!  This one's for you, Dad!    

 SAD: Kenny Rogers- Coward of the County

My dad has always loved country music, so I grew imitating Hank Williams. Jr. by singing "There's a tear in my beer 'cause I'm crying for you dear."  As is fitting, I am very familiar with the work of one Mr. Kenny Rogers.

"Coward of the County" was a song I had a very hard time figuring out as a little kid riding in the car.  I had a lot of questions that I never asked anyone.  

How does everyone in the county know Tommy?  How big is the county?  Why was his dad in prison?  What exactly did the Gatling boys do to Becky?  Did Tommy kill the Gatling boys?  Did he go to jail?

Now that those questions are out of my system, let me get to my expert opinion on the sad level.  First of all, any song that contains the line "he was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison" is obviously sad.  Then you have the added drama of Tommy eventually having to discard his father's advice that "you don't have to fight to be a man."  Now if Tommy's father hadn't ever given him this advice, then he wouldn't have a coward's reputation and Becky would have been safe!  This (seemingly sound) advice actually has a very negative effect on his life, as he doesn't correctly interpret his father's words.

Promise me son, not to do the things I done
Walk away from trouble if you can*
They won't think you're weak
If you turn the other cheek
I hope you're old enough to understand
You don't have to fight to be a man 

His dad already knows that sometimes you have to fight when you're a man!  If only Tommy had been old enough to really understand then he wouldn't have to view his Dad's words as naive.  SAD!

 HAPPY: Kenny Rogers- Through the Years

Luckily, Kenny does have songs that remind you more of his orange juice commercials (with his original wife and face) than sad miscommunications.  This is one!  I don't have a specific memory of this growing up, but my Dad and I did dance to it at my wedding.  If it's not being played at a wedding, I see it more as a song for a woman to be listening to while she cleans her coffee table on a cool summer evening.

If you've heard this song, you know it's happy (in a weepy way).  Kenny's learned what life's about by loving you, through the years.  HAPPY!

(NOTE: An infinitely more interesting video that would not post can be found here.  Kenny is speaking at a podium in Giants stadium in 1986 and is surrounded by people dressed in native costumes from around the world.)

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there!

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