Hee Haw

Cruising through the channels Saturday evening, we ran into a Hee Haw marathon. It’d been a long time since either of us had seen it, so I stopped, to make sure it was as dumb as I remembered. It was! It was a late-80’s episode, and it, uh, sucked: the music was lame, the mega-hick jokes were dumb, the sketches were mercifully short, but still managed to drag – twenty seconds of Minnie Pearl and the poofy-hair bimbos is fifteen too many. But the strange part was a segment where Roy Clark is on stage with his guitar, along with another guy who’s holding a Roland G707 guitar synth:

… on Hee Haw.

Other Guy plays some synth-orchestra sounds. Roy’s all like “WTF?”. Then O.G. plays some kind of flutey stuff, showing off what his toy can do. Roy looks like “Yeah, that great. Do I really have to do this? Yeah? Fuck. OK, let’s get it over with,” and starts Duelling Banjos. O.G. fiddles with his foot pedals for a bit, then joins in with this kind of cheesy synth-Jew’s-harp sound – twang, twang, plink, ploink, twang. It was like two different performances: Roy’s tearing the hell out of that song (wow, was he good); but O.G. sounds like he’s playing the soundtrack to some lame-ass fishing game for NES. Strange shit.

And, speaking of music on TV, MTV is celebrating it’s 25th anniversary Aug 1st. So, VH1 Classic has been showing the first hour of MTV all week. Watching it, I noticed something I’m surprised I never noticed before: Britain was pretty gloomy in the early 80’s – or at least the people who made videos for British bands wanted everyone to think of it that way. I hope it’s cheered-up a bit since then.

4 thoughts on “Hee Haw

  1. Rob Caldecott

    Britain gloomy in the 80s? Perhaps in the early 80s, when we had record levels of unemployment (3 million people, which affected pretty much everybody, my family included). However, my formative years started around 83/84 and I remember it clearly as an optimistic time. Do you have any examples of such gloomy videos? Remember that Mrs Thatcher was in power, who was _loathed_ by the left, so any left-leaning band/director might of wanted to paint Britain to be a darker place than is actually was… :) Politics eh? No escape!

    However, the 70s were a f*cking terrible time – especially 78/79 (the tail end of the disasterous Labour government where unions had the country by the balls, and inflation/taxation were at record levels – there was actually a top level tax-rate of 99%! This resulted in a “brain drain” and IIRC, many big-name muscicians left the country.

  2. cleek

    yeah, i guess i should’ve said “early 80’s”. things did brighten up eventually – though that’s about the time i stopped watching MTV (because they stopped showing interesting videos).

    >Do you have any examples of such gloomy videos?

    Madness, The Specials, The Clash, Pink Floyd, the legions of goth/semi-goth/new wave bands, etc.. there’s a lot of general industrial grime, smokestacks, desparate people walking down cold deserted streets..

    of course you’d expect gloom from metal and goth bands, but it all adds up.

  3. joe

    yeah, i was going to bring of Thatcher. basically the same image you got from left-leaning US bands (mostly hardcore/punk/alt) during the Reagan years. stormtroopers, industrial sludge, etc. mm, cheery stuff….. : )

  4. Gordon

    I worked at Triumph Motorcycles America in ’78-’79, which was owned by a worker’s co-operative that locked the factory gates and stood at them for 18 months in ’75-’76 in an ‘industrial action’ to prevent being looted by Mr. Poore of Norton-Villiers. They got going making motorcycles again but I watched that fine old company go down the shitter due to lack of funds. It put a lot of folks out of work. The local Meriden Labour P.M., Geoffrey Robinson, tried to help them, but there wasn’t much hope.

    One of my mates whom I met when he came over here to repair warranty problems in the crate before they got to dealerships is now working for the new Triumph company in Australia. He was over here for about four months, and used his per diem to buy LPs that he couldn’t get in Blighty. He acquired quite a pile of them. When he left, I was surprised that the plane got off the ground!

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