♫ Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town ♫

As part of this week-long tribute to Kenny Rogers, one of my all-time favourites, each night I plan to include a bit of trivia.  In 2017, Kenny Rogers did an interview with Southern Living magazine.  One of the questions he was asked was to recount his favourite memory of Dolly Parton, his long-time friend and singing partner.  Kenny said his favorite moment was in 2013 while they were recording their final duet together called You Can’t Make Old Friends. At one point, he looked up and saw Parton was no longer at her microphone. Suddenly, she appeared by his side, and put her arms around his neck. “Kenny, I think you should know, I could never sing at your funeral.”

Rogers laughed at the memory. “I went, ‘So we’re assuming I’m going first?’ ” He chuckled again. “But I love her for that. You never know what she’s going to say, but it always comes from love.”Kenny-DollyWhen I first mentioned that I was considering Ellen’s idea for a week-long tribute to the late Kenny Rogers, you guys started giving me ideas, letting me know your favourites, and I jotted them all down.  The #1 favourite, with four requests, is this one … Ruby Don’t Take Your Love to Town.

I had no idea that Mel Tillis had written this song!  The song tells the story of a wounded soldier who has returned home to a woman who shows him little sympathy, leaving him to go out at night and enjoy the company of other men. All he can do is beg her to stay home and keep him company, but his pleas fall on deaf ears.

Tillis based the song on a real-life couple who lived near his family in Florida. In real life, the man was wounded in Germany in World War II and sent to recuperate in England. There, he married a nurse who took care of him at the hospital. The two of them moved to Florida shortly afterward, but he made periodic return trips to the hospital as problems with his wounds kept flaring up. His wife saw another man as the veteran lay in the hospital.  The real couple’s story had a tragic ending:  the man killed her in a murder-suicide.

I also didn’t know that Tillis was the first to release this song, including it on his 1967 album Life’s That Way. Waylon Jennings, Johnny Darrell, The Statler Brothers and Bobby Goldsboro all recorded the song later that year, with Darrell’s version going to #9 on the Country chart. Kenny Rogers recorded the definitive version with his band The First Edition in 1969, taking it to #2 in the UK and to #6 in the U.S.

A lot of controversy surrounded this song when it became a hit for Kenny Rogers in 1969, as the Vietnam War was raging and the song was often assumed to be about a man who came home crippled from that war. Rogers would perform the song in a jovial manner, and the crowd would often clap and sing along, so to some it was seen as disrespectful to veterans. In a 1970 interview with Beat Instrumental, Rogers defended the song, saying:

“Look, we don’t see ourselves as politicians, even if a lot of pop groups think they are in the running for a Presidential nomination. We are there, primarily, to entertain. Now if we can entertain by providing thought-provoking songs, then that’s all to the good. But the guys who said ‘Ruby’ was about Vietnam were way off target – it was about Korea. But whatever the message, and however you interpret it, fact is that we wouldn’t have looked at it if it hadn’t been a GOOD song. Just wanna make good records, that’s all.”

I’ve included two versions here.  The first is Kenny with The First Edition back in 1972, and the second is Kenny sans The First Edition, some thirty years later.  They are both good, I think my preference is the second, however.

Ruby
Kenny Rodgers

You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadows on the wall tell me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

It wasn’t me that started that old crazy Asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes, it’s true that I’m not the man I used to be
Oh Ruby, I still need some company

It’s hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and needs of a woman your age really I realize
But it won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

She’s leaving now cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way I know I heard its slams one hundred times before
And if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

Oh Ruby, for God’s sake, turn around

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Mel Tillis
Ruby lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Universal Music Publishing Group

Donald Trump-un?

They say a man is judged by the company he keeps.  So, when Donald Trump received praise and an endorsement from North Korea’s official state media outlet, DPRK Today, observers sat up and made note.  For three years (1950-1953) U.S. forces fought on the side of South Korea against North Korea’s communist regime.  The war ended in stalemate, with North and South Korea divided … North Korea remains to this day a communist nation, and South Korea a constitutional republic.   The Supreme Commander of the Korean People’s Army (one of several titles), Kim Jong-un, is a dictator of the worst kind, a man who ordered the execution of his own uncle, Jang Sung-taek, along with most of Jang’s family in 2013.  Kim Jong-un is currently under investigation by the United Nations for these executions, as well as other ‘crimes against humanity’.

On 7 March 2013, North Korea threatened the United States with a “pre-emptive nuclear attack”, and has since revealed plans for conducting nuclear strikes on U.S. cities, including Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.

This, then, is the latest in a string of unsavory organizations who have voiced support for Donald Trump since his candidacy began in June 2015.  The news outlet praised Trump, describing him as a “wise politician” and “far-sighted candidate” who could help unify the Korean peninsula.  “There are many positive aspects to Trump’s ‘inflammatory policies’,” wrote Han Yong-mook, who described himself as a Chinese North Korean scholar.  “Trump said he will not get involved in the war between the South and the North, isn’t this fortunate from North Korea’ perspective?”

The article praised Trump’s speech from March 2015 in which he stated he would withdraw U.S. forces from South Korea if they did not spend more on their own defense.  The writer urged Seoul not to increase defense spending so as to prompt a US withdrawal (referred to as the “Yankee Go Home” policy), and urged American voters not to choose Clinton, saying “The president that US citizens must vote for is not that dull Hillary …”

Admittedly, a candidate does not control where his endorsements come from, but I do think it speaks volumes that Trump has received endorsements from white supremacist groups, such as KKK here at home, and now, arguably one of the world’s most dangerous leaders.  A brief comparison of Trump vs Kim Jong-un may be in order.

jong-trump1

  • Both are intolerant of criticism
  • Both have narcissistic personalities
  • Both demand nearly constant attention
  • Both inherited most of their wealth and power
  • Both are prone to wild exaggeration
  • Both frequently name things after themselves
  • Both are known for their aggressive rhetoric
  • Less relevant, perhaps, but still … they both have terrible hair styles and small hands (yeah, I just had to throw that one in)

 

While Trump’s favourite topic is his plan to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border and ban Muslims from entering the U.S., Kim has built doubled barbed wire fences and curtailed cell phone use, not to keep people out, but to keep them in!  Defections are a problem for DPRK under Kim, as they may prove to be under a President Trump, should that unfortunate event come to pass.

While Trump has criticized President Obama for virtually everything, and has called into question his nationality and religion, Kim Jong-un has also criticized Obama, calling him a “wicked black monkey”.  Like Trump, Kim is strong on racism and hate speech.

And then there is the statement that Trump made in regards to Kim: “You’ve got to give him credit. How many young guys — he was like 26 or 25 when his father died — take over these tough generals, and all of a sudden — you know, it’s pretty amazing when you think of it. How does he do that?  Even though it is a culture, and it’s a cultural thing, he goes in, he takes over, he’s the boss. It’s incredible.  He wiped out the uncle, he wiped out this one, that one. This guy doesn’t play games and we can’t play games with him. Because he really does have missiles and he really does have nukes.”

The government of North Korea is already a dictatorship.  The government of the U.S. is currently a democracy, and I, for one, would like to see it continue to be a democracy.  However, Trump is obviously somewhat awed by Kim, the dictator, as he has been by Putin, another who is becoming significantly more dictatorial.  What does this say for Trump?  Think about it.

Read full story in The Guardian