Wednesday, November 09, 2016

Curly Putman - and the GREEN GREEN GRASS OF HOME

Well, yes, one of the truths touched on in the classic "Green Green Grass of Home," is mortality.

Eventually, we will return to the green green grass. Either we'll be sprinkled on top of it, or buried six feet under it. 

And so the end has come for Curly Putman, who not only wrote that song, but co-wrote the other candidate for "greatest country song of all time," the even more morbid "He Stopped Loving Her Today." 

I once mentioned to Mr. Putman that I figured he had as much fun writing the songs as we all did hearing them. I thought it was especially true of the "agony" songs. He and Bobby Braddock intimated as much, regarding "He Stopped Loving Her Today." As they wrote, they were heaping on the sentiment, and almost smiling at how they were creating more and more torment for this poor lovelorn sap. And yet, producer Billy Sherrill insisted on, let's have a stanza about the guy's funeral. 

Why shouldn't country songwriters have the same sense of gleeful evil as Alfred Hitchcock? Alfred used his story boards and his actors to make his ironies and his horrors as sublimely awful as possible. I think you'll find that Mr. Putman did the same thing on "Radio Lover" Writers tend to enjoy putting their characters in danger, and in three or four minutes, you can set up the listener for a deliciously sour twist ending that doesn't turn a blind eye to human nature. 

A fun thing about the non-stooge Curly, is he DID have a sense of humor. I mean, he didn't simply write songs that a tear-jerker like George Jones could sing so well, (or the sad Tammy Wynette on "D-I-V-O-R-C-E"). One novelty number he uncorked is "You Can't Have Your Kate And Edith Too." Oh, the pun-ishment. 

For ye who don't like C&W at all, how about this: Paul McCartney paid tribute to Curly via "Junior's Farm." Yes, when Paul was trying to soak up the country life (Ringo wasn't the only one), he spent time with Claude Putman Jr.  aka Curly. Macca never forgot the cool life on Junior's farm.

And who could ever forget true story-masterpieces like "Green Green Grass Of Home?" Below is Curly's own version. He did make a few albums in his time, and he was a good singer. He died at the age of 85, but we'll never stop loving the songs he brought to this world. 

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