Waylon Reads My Mood

California High Rise

77 degrees in L.A. Sky is endlessssss!! Bright blue.

Tall, thin, Washington palms  swaying, isolated,  along the boulevard.   And me?  I’m singing “Good Time Charlie”.

—–

Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues is a song written and performed by Danny O’Keefe.

It first appeared on O’Keefe’s self-titled debut album in 1971. The following year he re-recorded it (with a slower, more downbeat arrangement) for his second album, O’Keefe; this version was also issued as a single, reaching #9 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart.

It was covered by numerous artists, including Dwight Yoakam, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Mike Farris and Elvis Presley.

Born in Spokane, Washington, in 1943. O’Keefe’s musical career has spanned four decades from his early days playing in the Minnesota coffee houses to his present station in the Seattle area. He is still very active both in the recording studio and on stage.

Career

O’Keefe is best known for his only hit singleGood Time Charlie’s Got the Blues“, which was released in September 1972, and reached #9 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart, and for “The Road”, covered by Jackson Browne on Running on Empty. “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues” stayed on the Billboard chart for 14 weeks and sold a million copies.[1] The gramophone record‘s sales culminated in a gold disc issued by the R.I.A.A. in June 1973.[1]

O’Keefe’s unique lyrical style and haunting melodies earned him a reputation as an important songwriter of his genre.[2] With Bob Dylan he co-wrote the environmental movement anthem, “Well Well Well”.[3]

In concert with his music and through his organization The Songbird Foundation, O’Keefe has been active in the environmental field, helping to develop public awareness of the effect that indiscriminate coffee-growing techniques have on the songbird population.

O’Keefe’s songs have been covered by numerous musicians, including Jackson Browne (“The Road”), Elvis Presley, Judy Collins, Leon Russell, Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Jimmy Buffett, Alison Krauss, Ben Harper, Cab Calloway, Mark-Almond, Andy Williams, and others; in Italy his song The Road has been covered by Ron (singer), with Italian lyrics written by Lucio Dalla (and titled Una città per cantare).

Discography

  • 1971 – Danny O’KeefeCotillion RecordsProduced by Ahmet Ertegün
  • 1972 – O’Keefe – Signpost/Atlantic Records – Produced by Arif Mardin. Contains the top-ten hit “Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues”
  • 1973 – Breezy Stories – Atlantic Records – Produced by Arif Mardin. Contains the single “Angel Spread Your Wings”
  • 1975 – So Long Harry Truman – Atlantic Records – Produced by John Boylan. Contains the single “Quits”
  • 1977 – American RouletteWarner Bros. Records – Produced by John Court and Kenny Vance
  • 1979 – The O’Keefe FileWarner Bros. Records – Promotional CD containing songs from previous LPs
  • 1979 – The Global Blues – Warner Bros. Records – Produced by Jay Lewis and Danny O’Keefe
  • 1984 – The Day To Day – Coldwater Records – Produced by Mathew McCauley and Tony Peluso. Contained the singles “Along for the Ride” and “Someday”; both singles charted in the “20’s” in AC charts
  • 1989 – Redux – Beachwood/Chameleon Records – A re-release of The Day To Day with a new title and two new songs. Contained the singles “Along for the Ride” and “Someday”. VH1 played the video of “Along for the Ride”
  • 2000 – Runnin’ From the Devil – Miramar Records – January 25, 2000
  • 2000 – Danny’s Best 1970 – 2000Raven Records Australia – 2000
  • 2003 – Don’t Ask w/Bill Braun – Produced by Bill Braun. All songs written and performed by Danny O’Keefe and Bill Braun
  • 2008 – In Time – Bicamerical Songs – Produced by Mick Conley

References

  1. ^ a b Murrells, Joseph (1978). The Book of Golden Discs (2nd ed.). London: Barrie and Jenkins Ltd. p. 318. ISBN 0-214-20512-6.
  2. ^ Nytimes.com
  3. ^ Billboard.com – Discography – Danny O’Keefe – Danny’s Best 1970-2000: Good Time Charlie’s Got the Blues
And, from Songfacts.com:  This is the biggest hit that Danny O’Keefe performed. It struck a cord with restless young people who were stuck living dreary lives in dead-end small towns while their friends were moving away to better things. (thanks, Mike – santa barbara, CA)
There are two versions of this song. The first was released on Signpost Records (distributed by Atlantic), and the second was released on Rhino’s “Have A Nice Day” Series, CD #17. The second version is longer, with different wording at the beginning. (thanks, Frank Luna – Tucson, AZ)
This song that tells the tale of a man the good life left behind and who takes “pills to ease the pain.” In an interview with Mojo magazine July 2010 O’Keefe recalled the writing of this song: “It was very simple and got to the heart of the matter,” he said. “It was written in not much over an hour. I think I hoped that a country artist would cover the song, but it made reference to pills and those references were taboo for country singers then.”
O’Keefe told Mojo about the song’s lyrical content: “Maybe it was about hipsters drawn to the high life. I lived in interesting times and there was a lot of experimentation with every kind of drug. There were a lot of damages and strange intersections of lives that provided much grist for a young songwriter’s mill.”
O’Keefe on the song’s legacy: “The success of one’s dreams is always exhilarating. Elvis cut the song with the same group of musicians I had, so there was a pride in continuity, but I didn’t think he brought anything new to it. Over the years I’ve come to appreciate it more as part of the song’s great legacy.”
This was to be O’Keefe’s only hit but he is known for penning “The Road,” a song recorded by Jackson Browne on his 1977 album, Running On Empty.
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3 thoughts on “Waylon Reads My Mood

  1. Very interesting. I didn’t take the old dog to be a C&W type. As I listen to this freedom-lovin’, America-huggin’ melody, it seems so wrong for sophisticated Hollywood. When I drive down Hollywood Boulevard I hear jazz. My Charlie would be Charlie Parker. Also I hear new music with lots of synthesizers, a hopping bassline, and drummers who use a lot of cymbal. California is all about the new–there’s nothing old there at all. Or as Gertrude Stein said, there’s no there there.
    Best,
    Heidi

    1. I usually don’t like C & W. But the “outlaws”, Waylon and Willie and the ilk stir my soul. I love ALL music. Except “minimalistic” stuff, Phillip Glass, monotonic. Bach’s intricate harmonies astound me. Beethoven’s power. Chopin, Schubert, Copeland.

      The Allman Brothers Band, southern rock, rock-a-billy, bluegrass [even]! Classic operatic arias. Motown!

      Gifts from the gods!!

      Big band jazz… … …Duke and Count. Intricate stylings in small cabaret, sung with smokey, hoarded-voiced chanteuse.

      I could go on like this forever.

      But I won’t!!

      TD

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