By On the occasion of our 20th anniversary
By Gustavo Arellano
By R. Scott Moxley
By Alfonso Delgado
By Courtney Hamilton
By Joel Beers
By Peter Maguire
By Charles Lam
Photo by Rebecca SchoenkopfOur souls were salved when the immortal Miss Loretta Lynn! came to town Sunday night to croon to the Crazy Horse Saloon. And we even forgot politics and the Davis recall for a minute, till one of her dorky Nashville backup singers came up to duet with her on "God Bless America Again." As the lovely Miss Lynn sang the pretty refrain, "God bless America again/You see all the troubles that she's in/Wash her pretty face, dry her eyes and then/God bless America again," the dorky singer with the "Yakkety yak" bass recited such plaintive lines as, "Why don't we put the Bible back in the classroom? And what's so wrong with 'Under God'?" He went on to inform us that we as a nation need to be back down on our knees—although I think he specifically added something about not being damned-to-hell sodomites—and then and only then, will God bless America. Again. It sounded to me like somebody had been taking talking points from the Ayatollah, but the crowd, naturally, went insane. I wanted to burn them all at the stake, but that might have just been my flu talkin'.
Miss Lynn too was feeling poorly. Her hand shook sometimes as she sang, and she would reach up with the other to hold on and keep it company. She said she'd had a bug since the start of her tour, and at the beginning of the show asked if we'd mind if she sat? We could sit on the stage too, she said, and take our shoes off if we wanted! Get comfortable! "Whaddaya wanna hear?" she shouted. "It's your show. I'm just here to sing!" People shouted back for "Coal Miner's Daughter."
"I hate 'Coal Miner's Daughter,'" she announced, and dismissed it like that. "But someone asked for 'The Pill,'" she said, and turned to her band. "Let's give it to 'em!" And she and her dorky Nashville band did. It was updated from the cute old ballad about henhouses and incubators (nonetheless stricken from playlists all over the country when it was recorded) to a little showstopper where Miss Lynn pantomimed dealing with all her fussy brats while women marched for rights in New York, and she wasn't gonna have no more babies, because there's number four, and dammit, she's on the phone! Oh, and she's got The Pill!
And even though she was sitting, with her legs crossed, Miss Loretta Lynn belted into every corner of the Crazy Horse—which may be in a mall now, but you're getting Loretta Lynn in a couple-hundred person theater. The waitresses were nice, too.
Miss Lynn, in fact, is the single most charming woman I have ever seen on a stage, whether she was talking about drunk Indians ("Them Indians is so dumb it don't matter anyway!") or purring at the tables of loving drunks in the front row. "Have a drink on me," she told 'em, grinning broadly.
"We love you, Loretta!" people screamed constantly, and every time, she'd stop and answer in her rich, russet voice, "Well, I love you too, baby!"
She was a tiny queen in a hive of men playing mostly pretty or rollicking music, although when she let the band take over, it was as distressing as when Buck Owens' band, The Buckaroos, broke into "Play That Funky Music, White Boy" at the Crystal Palace.
So where were the hipsters? Where were the Doll Hut slaves who fall all over themselves to reward the stunningly talent-free Hank Williams III with their presence whenever he jitters into town? They couldn't be bothered to make their pilgrimages for Miss Loretta Lynn, when the cheap seats were in the $20s? For. Shame.
I guess I have to admit, though, that at least they didn't have to sit through Miss Lynn's insufferably dorky Nashville band, who were six pieces of the worst kind of simpering fools, with three additional dorks on backup vocals. They would have been fine, riding Miss Lynn's gravy train, if they didn't insist on playing such Nashville twaddle as The Gatlin Brothers' "All the Gold in California" and "Don't Rock the Jukebox" by none other than Alan Jackson. The "Colettes"—the backup dudes—did some disco, too, as everybody in the place threw up except for the fun chair-dancing drunks in front of us, who chair danced. (They'd already spilled a beer before the show started. We loved them!)
But worst of all? The band never learned the adage "Be friendly, but not familiar." They simpered and smirked and made love to us all—but especially to Miss Lynn. It was appalling, as if the little blond-haired cretin punk thought he was doing Miss Lynn some kind of favor by leering at her. Take your gigolo self plumb away from here. Spend your simpers where they're needed.Notes From the Commie Girl Wire Service!
At the King Neptune's show Friday, a biker chick was seen flashing the George Fryer Combo—much to the chagrin of her drunken biker boyfriend who began hurling insults and beer at the band. He was promptly escorted out sans girlfriend. Drummer Dickie Velvet, with his keen sense of abandoned-woman radar, picked up on her during the break and took her home after the gig. There were unconfirmed reports of crazed biker-chick rooftop sex in Long Beach that night.