drugs

Everyone wants to feel ____ enough. Then they’ll be fine. Fill in the blank and figure out how to get that feeling. For a lot of musical artist, the word that goes in that blank is “high” and drugs are how they try to get there.

It’s that simple. Many of the things that happen around that are not so simple at all. The association between drugs and music is as old as drugs and music. Learn more about it in the following episodes of Cocaine & Rhinestones.

CR013 Rusty & Doug Kershaw: Swamp Things

CR013 Rusty & Doug Kershaw: The Cajun Way

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Doug Kershaw is the most famous Cajun musician in history. His brother, Rusty, is not, though you may be more familiar with his work than you realize. 

These brothers come from a long tradition of surviving against the odds, against a world that would just as soon see you dead as see you succeed. Starting from nothing but a houseboat in Louisiana, they fought their way through an unscrupulous industry, through honky tonk stages screened off with chicken wire, onto the biggest stages in the business, in order to create some of the greatest music ever made. Then, they battled themselves, their past and their addictions.

Side note: what the hell is “Cajun”? Swamp stuff, right? Well, let’s talk about all of that.

This episode is recommend for fans of: Hardcore History, Neil Young, Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan and discovering unbelievably good music that you’ve never heard.

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Jeannie C. Riley

CR008 Harper Valley PTA, Part 2: Jeannie C. Riley

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Jeannie C. Riley’s debut single sold over a million copies within ten days of being released but she never wanted to record the song. She’s often considered a one-hit wonder. We can easily disprove that.

In the late ’60s, Jeannie C. Riley became country music’s most blatant sex symbol to date but she never wanted to wear those clothes. Small town girl with big dreams goes to the city and lets it break her in order to make her. Total cliche, right?

Sure.

Except Jeannie’s choice to bury the story in lie after lie turns it into a mystery tale of obscured identity, infidelity and blackmail. In this episode, some truth sees the light of day, maybe for the first time ever.

Recommended for fans of Johnny Paycheck, Johnny Russell, The Wilburn Brothers, Tom T. Hall, Little Darlin’ Records and mystery novels.

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Merle Haggard

CR005 Breaking Down Merle Haggard’s Okie from Muskogee

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The song was just what so many Americans needed at the time, in 1969. Conservatives needed someone to stand up and defend small town, traditional values. Politicians needed someone to justify America’s continuing involvement in the Vietnam War. Oklahomans needed someone to redeem the meaning of the word “okie,” a hateful slur that arose from The Great Depression.

The only thing is, Merle Haggard wasn’t doing any of those things when he wrote the song.

Then what the exact hell was he doing, you ask?

Maybe things will become a little bit more clear once you know what Merle Haggard knew about Herbert Hoover, The Great Depression, The Dust Bowl, okies and satire. Maybe.

This episode is also recommended if you like: Gram Parsons, Ray Wylie Hubbard and the Revisionist History podcast.

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