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Greg Smith, KX0S, Amateur Radio Operator, Audiophile, Soldier, and Teacher

Having Fun

WARNING: This page contains elements that are the equivalent of an old home movie.
(And some darn good music too. Page song done with tubes)

Just some fun, silly things; A little self-indulgence, some reminiscences, a few opinions, and "real" country music.

Watch this:

    I have a small home recording studio that I set up for my daughter. The microphones range from tube to ribbon to condensers to dynamics. The mic pre-amp is a tube Behringer running to a small Behringer mixer. Nothing fancy, but it gets the job done. I use Sound Forge for my software.

    Probably due to my age, and where I grew up, I am a big fan of traditional country music. I like music that touches my heart, country or otherwise. Everyone has their own likes, and I have mine. To me, most country music I hear today seems formulated and lifeless, or not even country. Not all, but most. How many songs do I hear where the singer, with newly acquired accent and memories, tries to convince us that they are authentic country. Hell's bells, even I could write a song for them. How about these lyrics for starters; I tore my old jeans and lost my cowboy hat when I caught my cowboy boot with the hole in it on the leg of a dead hog my sad ole' farmer daddy left in front of my broken down trailer before he died, as I fell down into the Southern red mud drunk on moonshine while trying to walk to my old battered Chevy pickup truck with a gun rack in it so I could drive it fast down the dirt road to the beer joint with the sawdust floor where I left my tractor, and the poor wretched person that didn't like country, last night when I was raisin' hell cause I'm a rebel and a hard workin' man like granddaddy who built his two room shack with his own hands when he wasn't making his homemade wine etc, etc, etc......  And on and on and on, this crap all sounds the same........BAD.
    Tell me if I'm wrong here.
I don't recall Hank, the Hag, or the Possum, ever trying to convince anyone that they were "real" country. They didn't have to. In answer to a question once asked of him, Hank said, and I paraphrase; I don't know what you mean by country music, I just play the music I know...... Enough said.
   The first time I heard the following song, and without my being aware of it, a tear was slowly running down my face.

Click to hear the Murder:


   Above is me in 1980, drinking too much beer and trying to sing (massacre) "Lovesick Blues" or some other sad country song. Click below to hear the song. No, not by me. It's by the tragic Crown Prince of Country Music, live at the Opry.
The trophy in the background was for winning the Bad Kreuznach Military Community Chess Championship in 1979. I was about a 1730-1800 level player. I haven't played a game in more than 10 or 12 years now.

Hank:(A historic Opry event)

   When the picture above was shot, I was living alone in my apartment in Furfeld, Germany. I had just ended a three-year relationship and was feeling sorry for myself (again) . I started drinking far too much. I was also, in my own way, doing my part for diversity. In the spring my girlfriend was a high school senior, and in the fall I was with a divorcee older than me. No discrimination here, or maybe it was just any port in a storm. Anyway, during the summer the  neighborhood teenage girls discovered a new place to hang out and act as teenagers do. They drove me crazy ringing my doorbell, especially with my constant hang-overs. One of them actually took that picture. On weekends, several might be there and we would listen to country music (everyone) and drink beer (me). Sometimes after I had a "few" too many (8or9) they would coerce me to sing for them by sitting on my lap, kissing my cheek, and saying things like, " Greg, mein lieber schatz, singen bitte". Yeah, Yeah, OK . Crazy damn teenagers. Crazy damn drunk. The following recording  is from those crazy days of that crazy year. The microphone was only a 20 dollar dynamic Aiwa, but at least I had a good 3-head cassette deck. This time it is me, so get out the ear plugs. Then, after my assault on the ear drums, a song that describes that year. Revolving door girlfriends, wrecked cars, black-eyes, hangovers, and a DUI. Thank God someone soon came into my life and stopped my destructive behavior.

A crazy teenager in my uniform.

Drinkin' Too much

1980: The storm.

The wine and music flowed

God sent an Angel:

               My love of country music must be in my genes. The photo below is my biological father in the early 1950's. Probably singing Hank's or Lefty's songs. I never  knew him as he divorced my mother when I was very young. He did call me ONCE by phone when I was 15. He was drunk. He passed away in 1993.

William M. Smith
Look at that honker of a microphone.

It's too bad we never met after I was an adult. Maybe we could have sang a country song together. Like the one below.

Me again. Another sad song.

Or perhaps this one.

Runs in the family:

   There are a lot of sad songs in country music. It's one of the staples of the genre. Songs about loves lost, mother, death, and anything else that will bring a tear. If a particular song seems to describe your own situation, it can become very dear to you. Perhaps it even becomes an emotional crutch to lean on.
    How well I know. When all those "I'll love you forever" lines turn out to be a pretty damn short forever, it can hurt. I've sure listened to my share of tear jerkers, with the requisite beer of course. I think this next song provides a unique perspective on it.

Thanks a lot:

    In 1981 I met someone very, very, special. I was 27 and she was 20. I first heard this song at a movie in Germany. I remember thinking that the lyrics must have been written just for me. My special one now has an MBA and wears a suit to work at a law firm, but to me she will always be that pretty young girl with red hair that stole my heart. Almost thirty years later, forever still means "FOREVER".

Written for me:

Below is our daughter
Her, at 16.
Me at at 17. Do we look alike?
Listening to this old stuff in 2011.
SSG Brown, WW2

    My Grandfather (my mother's side) served in the Signal Corps during WW2. Photo was taken at Camp Gordon in 1942. Just before deployment to North Africa, he became very ill with stomach ulcers, required surgery, and did not ship out. His signal company ( 141st Sig. Co., 1st Armored Div.) was later decimated by the Afrika Corps at Kasserine. When I was a child he told me stories about Navajo Indians in his company that used their native language instead of code. After the war he worked on aircraft radios at Maxwell AFB in Montgomery. Below is a document citing a promotion in civil service. The odd thing to me is that when I worked as a teenager in 1970 for minimum wage, I received 1.60 per hour. That is the same amount he was being paid in 1949. So doing the math, 2080 x 1.60 = 3328, and adjusting for inflation and other factors, today's equivalent is about 48k a year. Not too bad for an 8th grade education. He did complete the U. S. Army electronics school and was also self taught. I still have his old books. For a guy that likes tubes, they're a gold mine.
    In 1971 my girlfriend's father gave me an old Philco shortwave radio. I took it to my grandparent's house, plugged it in and it didn't work. My Grandfather pulled out an old book and began testing each tube with his VOM. He told me to drive to an electronic parts store and gave me the money to buy a 1U4 tube. It cost a dollar. When he put it in the radio, the radio began playing. He also gave me some old wire, told me to cut it a certain length, and then connect it to the antenna terminal. Signals began rolling in from around the globe. I now know that he was checking the tube filaments and using the half-wave formula, but back then I had no idea. However, I was intrigued that he knew how to do this. I now own a B & K tube tester and have several boxes full of tubes. I have also constructed more wire antennas than I can remember. Speaking of vacuum tubes, if you've never heard music played through vacuum tubes, on modern or restored vintage equipment, you should seriously consider giving it a try. There's sonic magic in there.


Hey, way back in 1969 and 1970, I used to hear a certain song on Friday nights in the Fall. It seemed to play every time a high school football team scored.

The Blue & Gold Cherokees


Kendrick High Games in 1970     
Record: 9-3        
Head Coach:  Williams, Art      
Date H/AOpponentWLTPFPA
  09-04-1970 (Fri)ACentral (Phenix City) (AL)   W3519
  09-12-1970 (Sat)NCarver (Columbus)   W147
  09-17-1970 (Thu)NColumbus   W63
  09-25-1970 (Fri)NSpencer   W346
  10-02-1970 (Fri)NHardaway   W186
  10-09-1970 (Fri)HSouthwest (Macon)   W120
  10-22-1970 (Thu)NJordan   W288
  10-30-1970 (Fri)AWarner Robins   L1214
  11-05-1970 (Thu)NBaker   W1512
  11-13-1970 (Fri)ACentral (Macon)   L1329
  11-20-1970 (Fri) State playoffsACentral (Macon)   W1615
  11-27-1970 (Fri) State playoffsHValdosta   L1228
Being a new school (1967), this was the first year that Kendrick got to play against the "Big Boys"
 of our region. A well known sports reporter prdicted that even though Kendrick was 9-1 the previous
season, the team would not fare well and fimish last. The coach of the long established Columbus
High School even went so far as to say if Kendrick beat Columbus, he would leave town. Guess
what the KHS fans were chanting after our team won that game. Anyway, KHS was the region
champion and played in the State Championship playoffs. The Mayor of the city proclaimed a
 "Big K Day" to honor our coach, the team, and the school. 
I manage a website for my 1971 High School Class. The link is below.

Kendrick Class of 1971

This may be my girlfried and me at a game.
I was crazy about her.

A Song For Her (me):


One of those damn short forevers. Probably why we have Country Music.

One More. For ???

I found my "Rhonda" thirty-three years ago.

   My son also served in the 1st Armored Division, sixty years after his great grandfather. He was assigned to HHC, 1st Brigade. This photo was made when he was home on leave from Iraq in 2006. Words can't begin to express how proud I am of him.
   The speaker in the backgroung is a Paradigm Focus. I gave those to my daughter. I gave my old AR speakers to my son.

My son in 2006. On leave from Iraq.

My daughter, 2009.

    When I was very young my grandfather owned a reel to reel player. The old type with a built-in amplifier and speaker. He would bring it out sometimes and let my older sister and I talk or sing, and record us. In 1993 I found an old Scotch brand tape at my grandmother's house. I kept it, and in 1996 I listened to it. The tape included a short recording of my grandfather, my sister, and myself. It was probably made sometime from 1956 to 1959. It wasn't easy to clean-up and copy. The old recorder was a half-track mono and I was using a four channel Teac. Also, the print through was really bad. I used a graphic equalizer to help eliminate as much noise as I could. The result wasn't too awful. It's on the family page.

I think I'll listen to some country on the tubes.
If you'd like to join me, click below.
I'll be right back with a cold one.

Cross that Ole' Red River:

Aw hell, let's have another and put on Patsy.