Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Put these guys on your iPod

I used to know this guy named John Hager. John was your typical frustrated musician-Columbia Records PR guy-songwriter who ran a record/tape store called Ludwig Van Ear in Milwaukee. I worked for him ferreting out the 1,342 ways a teenage boy could steal records or tapes there were no CDs then without looking either like he had a flashlight in his pocket or was glad to see someone/anyone.

There were lots of ways to do this and I still like to point out pilfered CDs to modern day frustrated musician-songwriter-record store owners especially if they're on Vanguard's street team.

I should point out that the big record store in Milwaukee in those times of yore was called 1812 Overture. It was run by a concert promoter of whom a then Milwaukee Urinal writer once wrote: "There are two kinds of people in the world ... those who don't like Alan and those who haven't met him yet." Thus, Ludwig Von Ear and maybe even Camper Van Beethoven?

So to get back to my train of free association let me just say of John Hager's songwriting that he wrote at least one embarrassing but ultimately lucrative song, "Bet Your Sweet Bippy, I'm A Hippie." John hated that song but every time a royalty check came in he up and cashed it. Which is why you young whippersnapper indie rockers should hold on to your publishing. Even a song like "Bippy ... Hippie ..." can cover a lot of missing tapes and records and the now even more conveniently sized for stealing, CD.

But enough of John Hager, who I liked very much since he let me go out for hamburgers for the band Chase and carry Kris Kristofferson's guitar after a 24-hour folk concert in Madison, WI which had Earl Scruggs, Linda Ronstadt and the future Eagles, and Dave Von Ronk in it. Maybe I got to carry Kristofferson's guitar 'cause not only can't I remember the 60s, I'm plum rugged on the 70s as well.

Maybe Ty Hager was doing stand up in Tulsa where he is both from and got his start back then as a stand up actor/comedian funny ha ha guy but maybe not yet. You don't think Ty Hager and his music is funny, listen to him sing "Our Boy and Bubba" to Dr. Demento on the good Doc's radio show.

You can do this and more on Hager's myspace.com/tyhagersongs where you can also hear and download four of the warped like a wombat tunes from his soon to be award winning someday CD, "Ty Hager Sings About Life And Girls (But Mostly Girls)." It will hit the big time or should hit the big time soon as Nashville stops kissing Roy Acuff's dead hinder parts and lets Ty play the real, first Ryman and use drums just like the Everly Brothers Phil and Don, Don and Phil did way back when when Roy don't allow no time keeping 'round here. Stream of consciousness; that's the words I was looking for.

The four streams of consciousness songs in question here are by Ty Hager and the Hagermen, his take off on William Hung and the Hungmen, only better. They are, in ascending or descending order: "Our Boy and Bubba," "Never Not," "No Habla Spanish Love Song," and Ty Hager's piece de resistance, "Seven Shallow Graves."

In a six foot under sort of a way, "Seven ..." tells the epic tale of the ghost of a Bob Wills type of guy who finds his good gal in his best friend's arms and puts her separate parts in "Seven Shallow Graves." Kids, don't try this with your uncle Ernie. "She was in my arms; She was in my brain; she was in my DNA ... Now, she's in 'Seven Shallow Graves." Yee hah!

"The part close to my heart is by my window in the back yard!" I don't know why but I feel a singalong coming on and all you gots to do is follow the bouncing body parts, the late (we think) Anna Nicole Smith is pointing out with her gold encrusted fingernails, y'all.

I love this guy. I really love him like Sally Fields on the Academy Awards and both his CDs, even the

2003 one, "Funny Ha Ha; Funny Strange," which his manager at Winthrop Records recently sent me along with a big bag full of kinda new Crack The Sky and John Palumbo CDs. I love however many of them there are now.

"Never Not" has yet another catchy singalong chorus: "I'm never not, never not, never not, thinking about you." Then there is "No Habla Spanish Love Song" in which Mr. Ty Hager Songs puts his Tulsa by way of Austin and on up to the bigtime in Nashville moves on Rosalita on the bus.

Seems he took Spanish in high school, but after exhausting that "memory bank," in about five minutes, there were still "six more hours to Kansas." He didn't know "Dust In The Wind" en espanol so it was time for the arm over the shoulder and possibly other body parts. They had "hablad all they could!" I forget the words from that chorus but my one Spanish brain cell does recall the word to yell if you're being pursued by a Mexican vampire down a long staircase. It's "Secorro! Secorro!" Repeat for emphasis and thank you, Senor Pena.

That leaves "Our Boy And Bubba," since I already covered "Seven Shallow Graves." Bubba is black. Ty Hager and his then POSSLQU U.S. Census term for person of the opposite sex sharing living quarters had a little baby they named Bubba. But daddy Bubba was POSSLQU's "friend you told me was gay ... You and me is white; Bubba's black; and once you've been with Bubba, you ain't never going back."

Put this man on your iPod. He also wears American Gothic t-shirts a lot which means he could do for Grant Wood what the late Kurt Cobain did for Daniel Johnston. He sent me an email too after his manager told me he did believe Ty Hager and I lived on the same planet. I think it's Tralfalmador where we both hope to locate Montana Wildhack and put her on our respective CDs or music cricket portfolios.

Ty Hager, his music and his new partners in that side project he's working on, The Weisenheimerz, are the best thing since John Prine and Martin Mull sat down on a Martha's Vineyard lawn and sang a duo version of Mr. Mull's blues about a poor rich man.

E-mail Gary Peterson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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