Good prompts this week from Jim Adams at Song Lyric Sunday. He gave us Long, Tall, Small and Short. There are some obvious ones but I decided to dig a little deeper and came up with this great song and video from The Chicks (formerly known as the Dixie Chicks – good for them for changing that name!). They are from Texas and as I lived in Dallas for around 14 years, I watched them become very popular. The first time I saw them they were performing downtown Dallas at one of the many outdoor festivals. They were very talented singers and musicians so it was no surprise they made the big time.
This song itself does not have much of a story behind the writing of it but it’s a good one! The Chicks have a better story and that’s probably why I like them so much. The following article was on NPR.org in June of 2020.
The country trio Dixie Chicks have changed the group’s name to The Chicks in an apparent distancing from a name associated with the Confederate-era South.
The switch was not made with any kind of official announcement or explanation but simply with the release of a new song, “March March,” on Thursday. Its lyrics and video reference current and past public protests involving racial justice, police brutality, gun violence, climate change and LGBTQ rights. The video compares current themes to historical fights in the U.S. for women’s right to vote and the struggles for Black and LGBTQ civil rights.
The video also scrolls the names of dozens of Black victims of police brutality and those who died in apparently racially motivated confrontations, including George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, Eric Garner and Amadou Diallo. The list of names that quickly flash by goes on for more than a full minute.
For years, the Dixie Chicks — Natalie Maines, Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire — served as a cautionary tale to country musicians in terms of avoiding politics. In 2003, shortly before the U.S. invaded Iraq, Maines told an audience in London that they did not support the military action and that she was “ashamed” that then-U.S. President George W. Bush was, like the band, from Texas.
The musicians experienced immediate career fallout. Despite having been massively popular with country audiences before those statements, the group was dropped from country radio stations. Some country fans also staged anti-Dixie Chick demonstrations, which included destroying copies of the band’s CDs.
The damage was lasting. Three years later, broadcast networks including NBC and the CW refused to run ads for a documentary film about the group — called Shut Up & Sing. And the band never really recovered its relationship with the mainstream country industry.
A spokesperson for the group’s label, Columbia Records (part of Sony Music Entertainment), told NPR on Thursday that The Chicks had no comment on the name change. But the switch comes two weeks after another country group, the former Lady Antebellum, changed its name to Lady A. That change was accompanied by a social media statement in which Lady A said that the country’s recent attempts to reckon with racial justice issues had made the band members’ eyes open wide to inequality.
Courtesy of NPR.org
The song, “Long Time Gone”, is about the sorry state of Contemporary Country music. The lyric, “They sound tired but they don’t sound Haggard, they have money but they don’t have Cash,” is a reference to Country legends Merle Haggard and Johnny Cash. The song implies that today’s Country has no soul.
This was written and originally recorded by Darrell Scott on his 2000 album Real Time. Scott is a prominent session guitarist and songwriter as well as a performer.
The song was covered by The Chicks on their 2002 album Home, despite having been written from a presumably male point of view. Released in May 2002 as the lead single from Home, it reached a peak of number 2 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart and number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Their version won a Grammy Award for Best Country Vocal Performance by a Duo or Group.
Lyrics Daddy sits on the front porch swinging, Looking out on a vacant field. Used to be filled with burley t'bacca. Now he knows it never will. My brother found work in Indiana, Sister's a nurse at the old folks home. Mama's still cooking too much for supper, And me, I've been a long time gone. Been a long time gone, No, I ain't hoed a row since I don't know when. Long time gone, and it ain't coming back again. Delia plays that ol' church piano, Sittin' out on her daddy's farm. She always thought that we'd be together, Lord, I never meant to do her harm. Said she could hear me singin' in the choir, Me, I heard another song. I caught wind and hit the road runnin', And Lord, I've been a long time gone. Been a long time gone, Lord, I ain't had a prayer since I don't know when. Long time gone, and it ain't comin' back again. Now me, I went to Nashville, Tryin' to beat the big deal. Playin' down on Broadway, Gettin' there the hard way. Living from a tip jar, Sleeping in my car. Hocking my guitar, Yeah, I'm gonna be a star. Now, me and Delia singing every Sunday, Watching the children and the garden grow. We listen to the radio to hear what's cookin', But the music ain't got no soul. Now they sound tired but they don't sound Haggard, They've got money but they don't have Cash. They got Junior but they don't have Hank. I think, I think, I think, the rest is, A long time gone, No, I ain't hit the roof since I don't know when. Long time gone, and it ain't coming back. I said a long time gone, No, I ain't honked the horn since I don't know when. Long time gone, and it ain't coming back again. I said a long time, long time, long time gone. Well, it's been a long time. Long time, long time, long time gone, Oh, it's been a long time gone. Long time, long time, long time gone. Yeah, yeah. Writer/s: Darrell Scott Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, BMG Rights Management Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind