A Salute to Hee Haw: Collectors Edition

This TV DVD set presents the unlikely combination of bad jokes and great country music. You know you’re a 'redneck' if you fall over laughing at this cornball humor. But if you thrill at the classic music it presents, well, there’s nothing to be ashamed of about that.

A Salute to Hee Haw

Distributor: Gaylord Entertainment
Cast: Roy Clark, Buck Owens
MPAA rating: N/A
First date: 1969
US Release Date: 2006-09-12
Last date: 1992

If you recall TV’s Hee Haw program as being filled with a little music and lot of corny jokes, this new five-disc collection will not change that initial -- and accurate -- impression. The jokes are corny now, were corny when they were performed on the program, and may well have been equally corny at the time they were first uttered by ancient farmers and such -- which must have been at least a million years ago. A few of these jokers are comedic pros, such as George "Goober" Lindsey and Minnie Pearl. Granted, many of the lines are funny and worth a chuckle or two. But unless you’re a country bumpkin who hasn’t heard a modern comedian in the past few decades or so, you will not find yourself hee-hawing much while this disc set plays.

However, if you are a fan of traditional country music, you will love four of these five DVDs -- bad jokes and all. (The last disc is all participant interviews). Merle Haggard appears on disc one to sing "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" and "Today I Started Loving You Again". This appearance took place in the late '60s/early '70s, which meant that Haggard was still a relatively young-looking buck. Lovers of The Hag will especially be grateful for these few television clips that do not feature the singer/songwriter performing "Okie from Muskogee". Although this familiar tune has become one of his signature songs, it is hardly representative of what the complicated California artist is all about. Its lyric captured Haggard playing the part of a reactionary conservative during a time when liberal hippies were getting most of the media attention. Anybody that follows Haggard closely realizes he is highly educated about politics, and rarely so strongly aligned with any particular group or party.

"Today I Started Loving You Again", on the other hand, expresses the complex nature of romance, which -- as we all know -- is an oftentimes dynamic and unpredictable situation. "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" might be considered a more tactful, yet still honest, take on the sentiments detailed in "Okie from Muskogee". I’ll take "I Take a Lot of Pride in What I Am" over "Okie from Muskogee" any old day of the week.

Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn - Picking Wild Mountain Berrys

Songstress Loretta Lynn is featured both as a solo artist and in duets with Conway Twitty. One song, titled "Fist City", tells the story of a feisty woman who is unafraid to cause physical harm to anyone who dares to touch her man. She later trades Southern love expressions with Twitty during "Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man". Other country stars include Dottie West, Hank Williams, Jr, Jerry Lee Lewis (doing a credible version of "Whole Lot of Shakin' Goin' On"), Lynn Anderson, Ray Charles (with Buck Owens) performing "Crying Time", Waylon Jennings, Roy Rogers, and Tanya Tucker. If, like me, you only care to see the music sections, this set offers a way to select only the songs for viewing.

Hee Haw was hosted by Roy Clark and the late Buck Owens, and these two country artists were given plenty of opportunity to do what they do best, which is sing and play -- rather than merely kid around. Owens can be seen and heard playing "Together Again", but for the most part, each of these men steered clear of their own hits. Oddly enough, although this show was only produced for a few years, many still primarily associate Owens with his Hee Haw duties, but little else. It was not until Dwight Yoakam began to give Owens public props a few years ago that Buck was once again rightfully recognized for his significant contributions to country music. Clark has never received such critical respect, however, but there is no denying his guitar playing skills, which are amply on display within this DVD package. There are also performers, such as the Hagers (twin brothers), who were almost exclusively known for their Hee Haw association, and received little acclaim outside the program.

One full DVD is dedicated solely to cast interviews, and includes talks with Roy Clark, Roni Stoneman, George Yanok, Charlie McCoy, Lulu Roman, George Lindsey, and Jim and John Hager. But it’s all a lot of nostalgia, for whatever that’s worth.

You may want to think of Hee Haw as the South’s version of Laugh In. Although this Southern-accented show had much in common with that wacky TV program, especially the way jokes came at you in a fast and furious pace, Hee Haw always stayed far away from making any political points, whether conservative or liberal. Laugh In, of course, wasn’t afraid to push the political envelope. Hee Haw will never go down as one of television’s great moments. Even so, this collector’s edition includes plenty of truly great moments -- especially of the musical variety -- and that factor alone makes it worth sitting through the corny jokes.


The year in song reflected the state of the world around us. Here are the 70 songs that spoke to us this year.

70. The Horrors - "Machine"

On their fifth album V, the Horrors expand on the bright, psychedelic territory they explored with Luminous, anchoring the ten new tracks with retro synths and guitar fuzz freakouts. "Machine" is the delicious outlier and the most vitriolic cut on the record, with Faris Badwan belting out accusations to the song's subject, who may even be us. The concept of alienation is nothing new, but here the Brits incorporate a beautiful metaphor of an insect trapped in amber as an illustration of the human caught within modernity. Whether our trappings are technological, psychological, or something else entirely makes the statement all the more chilling. - Tristan Kneschke

Keep reading... Show less

Electronic music is one of the broadest-reaching genres by design, and 2017 highlights that as well as any other year on record. These are the 20 best albums.

20. Vitalic - Voyager (Citizen)

Pascal Arbez-Nicolas (a.k.a. Vitalic) made waves in the French Touch electro-house scene with his 2005 debut, OK Cowboy, which had a hard-hitting maximalist sound, but several albums later, Voyager finds him launching into realms beyond at his own speed. The quirky, wallflower vocals and guitar snippets employed throughout Voyager drop a funk that brings to mind WhoMadeWho or Matthew Dear if they had disco-pop injected between their toes. "Levitation" is as pure a slice of dance floor motivation as theoretically possible, a sci-fi gunfight with a cracking house beat sure to please his oldest fans, yet the album-as-form is equally effective in its more contemplative moments, like when Miss Kitten's vocals bring an ethereal dispassion to "Hans Is Driving" to balance out its somber vocoder or the heartfelt cover of "Don't Leave Me Now" by Supertramp. Voyager may infect you with a futuristic form of Saturday Night Fever, but afterwards, it gives you a hearty dose of aural acetaminophen to break it. - Alan Ranta

19. Antwood: Sponsored Content (Planet Mu)

Sponsored Content is a noisy, chaotic, occasionally beautiful work with a dark sense of humor that's frequently deployed to get Antwood's point across. For instance, throughout the aforementioned "Disable Ad Blocker", which sounds mostly like the creepy side of Tangerine Dream's early '80s experimental output, distorted slogans and recognizable themes worm their way into the mix. "I'm Loving It", we hear at one point, the Sony PlayStation startup music at another. And then there's a ten-second clip of what sounds like someone getting killed in a horror movie. What is there to make of the coexistence of those sorts of samples? Probably nothing explicit, just the uneasiness of benign and instantly-recognizable brand content in the midst of harsh, difficult art. Perhaps quality must to some extent be tied to sponsorship. That Antwood can make this point amidst blasts and washes of experimental electronic mayhem is quite the achievement. - Mike Schiller

18. Bonobo - Migration (Ninja Tune)

Although Bonobo, a.k.a. Simon Green, has been vocal in the past about not making personality driven music, Migration is, in many respects, a classic sounding Bonobo record. Green continues to build sonic collages out of chirping synths, jazz-influenced drums, sweeping strings and light touches of piano but on Migration sounds more confident than ever. He has an ability to tap into the emotions like few others such as on the gorgeous "Break Apart" and the more percussive "Surface". However, Bonobo also works to broaden his sound. The electro-classical instrumental "Second Sun" floats along wistfully, sounding like it could have fit snugly onto a Erased Tapes compilation, while the precise and intricate "Grains" shows the more intimate and reflective side of his work. On the flipside, the higher tempo, beat driven tracks such as "Outlier" and "Kerala" perfectly exhibit his understanding of what works on the dance floor while on "Bambro Koyo Ganda" he even weaves North African rhythms into the fabric. Migration is a multifaceted album full of personality and all the better for it. - Paul Carr

17. Kiasmos - Blurred EP (Erased Tapes)

The Icelandic duo of Olafur Arnalds and Janus Rasmussen, aka Kiasmos, is a perfect example of a pair of artists coming from two very different musical backgrounds, finding an unmistakable common ground to create something genuinely distinctive. Arnalds, more known for his minimal piano and string work, and Rasmussen, approaching from a more electropop direction, have successfully explored the middle ground between their different musical approaches and in doing so crafted affecting minimalist electronic music. Blurred is one of the most emotionally engaging electronic releases of the year. The duo is working from a refined and bright sonic palette as they consummately layer fine, measured sounds together. It is an intricate yet unforced and natural sounding set of songs with every song allowed room to bloom gradually. - Paul Carr

16. Ellen Allien - Nost (BPitch Control)

BPitch boss and longtime lynchpin of the DJ scene in Berlin, Ellen Allien's seven full-length releases show an artist constantly reinventing herself. Case in point, her 2013 offering, LISm, was a largely beat-less ambient work designed to accompany an artsy dance piece, while its follow-up, 2017's Nost, is a hardcore techno journey, spiritually born in the nightclubs and warehouses of the early '90s. It boasts nine straight techno bangers, beautifully minimalist arrangements with haunting vocals snippets and ever propulsive beats, all of which harken back to a hallowed, golden, mostly-imagined age when electronic music was still very much underground, and seemingly anything was possible. - Alan Ranta

It's just past noon on a Tuesday, somewhere in Massachusetts and Eric Earley sounds tired.

Since 2003, Earley's band, Blitzen Trapper, have combined folk, rock and whatever else is lying around to create music that manages to be both enigmatic and accessible. Since their breakthrough album Furr released in 2008 on Sub Pop, the band has achieved critical acclaim and moderate success, but they're still some distance away from enjoying the champagne lifestyle.

Keep reading... Show less

Aaron Sorkin's real-life twister about Molly Bloom, an Olympic skier turned high-stakes poker wrangler, is scorchingly fun but never takes its heroine as seriously as the men.

Chances are, we will never see a heartwarming Aaron Sorkin movie about somebody with a learning disability or severe handicap they had to overcome. This is for the best. The most caffeinated major American screenwriter, Sorkin only seems to find his voice when inhabiting a frantically energetic persona whose thoughts outrun their ability to verbalize and emote them. The start of his latest movie, Molly's Game, is so resolutely Sorkin-esque that it's almost a self-parody. Only this time, like most of his better work, it's based on a true story.

Keep reading... Show less

There's something characteristically English about the Royal Society, whereby strangers gather under the aegis of some shared interest to read, study, and form friendships and in which they are implicitly agreed to exist insulated and apart from political differences.

There is an amusing detail in The Curious World of Samuel Pepys and John Evelyn that is emblematic of the kind of intellectual passions that animated the educated elite of late 17th-century England. We learn that Henry Oldenburg, the first secretary of the Royal Society, had for many years carried on a bitter dispute with Robert Hooke, one of the great polymaths of the era whose name still appears to students of physics and biology. Was the root of their quarrel a personality clash, was it over money or property, over love, ego, values? Something simple and recognizable? The precise source of their conflict was none of the above exactly but is nevertheless revealing of a specific early modern English context: They were in dispute, Margaret Willes writes, "over the development of the balance-spring regulator watch mechanism."

Keep reading... Show less
Pop Ten
Mixed Media
PM Picks

© 1999-2017 All rights reserved.
Popmatters is wholly independently owned and operated.