Haiku for a country music day

Written Sept. 8, 2011

Jimmie Rodgers, Sept. 8, 1897 – May 26, 1933
Patsy Cline, Sept. 8, 1932 – March 5, 1963

Patsy Cline sang ’em
Just right every time, a voice
That never gets old

“Country-politan”
Arrangements didn’t help her
Still, her vocals shined

Honky-tonk, heartaches,
Come hither, her voice conveyed
So effortlessly

Didn’t need music
She could sing it all by ear
And with perfect pitch

But most of all she
Could cut through a song’s layers
And lay its heart bare

“I Fall to Pieces”
“Why Can’t He Be You?” “Heartaches”
“Crazy” — crazy good

With just the right pause
She brought down revelation
Singing “She’s Got You”

Last gig? KCK!
Then a plane crash took her life
Falling star heartbreak

So tonight let’s go
Walking after midnight, say
“Sweet dreams, Patsy Cline”

Before Patsy Cline
Before danged near everyone
Was Jimmie Rodgers

Jimmie Rodgers lived
32 years, enough to
Start country music

“The Singing Brakeman”
True troubador hit the road
When he turned 13

His dad made him quit
Reeled him back in, got him jobs
Working the railroad

Jimmie stayed restless
Lessons from guitar hobos
Added to his licks

He played when he could
Mixing music with the rails
Americana

Tuberculosis
Got him off the rails, gave him
More time for music

Played and toured a lot
Did all right with weekly show
Early radio

And then through town came
The Victor Talking Machine
Company — Records!

New technology
Jimmie cut two songs and made
$100

Then came “Blue Yodel”
Sold half a million copies
Made him some real bucks

TB took his breath
Made it harder to record
Got him in the end

But he left his mark
On scores of country singers
Though he died so young

Hear that train whistle?
Jimmie Rodgers heard it too
And made his magic

Patsy, she’s got me

Jimmie, waiting for a train

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