Adam Mormolstein

"More-Mole-Steen"

Hello Walls

 

 

If you’ve never seen a picture of young Willie Nelson, be warned: It’s discombobulating .

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Who is this clean cut all-American?

A Brief History of “Hello Walls”

Long before “On the Road Again”, “Hello Walls” was  Willies first hit, and the song that lifted him from obscurity.  Hello Walls was intended to be a co-write between Willie and Hank Cochran, but Hank stepped out of the room for a few minutes.  Willie tells the story best:

One afternoon, after we had just sat around throwing the bull, Hank said, “I’m going to the office to make a few calls.  You work on something by yourself.”

Work on what? My mind was blank.  All I could do was look around and say, “Hello Walls”.

That was probably a stupid way to start a song, but what the hell? It was better than nothing.

“Hello Walls,” I kept singing to myself.  “How’d things go for you today?”

But where was the story? I needed a story.  What was I going to say to the walls?

“Don’t you miss her since she up and walked away?”

That was it.  That’s all I needed.  I was up and running.

“I’ll bet you dread to spend another lonely night with me.  But lonely walls, I’ll keep you company.”

Well, hell: if I could talk to the walls, I could sure as shit talk to the window.

“Hello, window.  I see you’re still here.  Aren’t you lonely since our darling disappeared? Is that a teardrop in the corner of your pane? Now don’t you try to tell me that it’s rain.”

And if I addressed the walls and the window, what about the ceiling?

“Hello, ceiling.  I’m gonna stare at you awhile.  You know I can’t sleep so won’t you bear with me awhile?”

Basically, that was it.  Sitting in that garage room, all I had to do was deal with what was in front of me – the walls, window, and ceiling.  I just had to look around and suddenly the song was there.

By the time Hank came back from his phone call, I’d found a little harmony to carry the lyrics.

“Come up with anything?” he asked.

“Came up with something pretty silly,” I said, “but maybe it’s worth a listen.”

Hank listened to me singing it and said, “It’s worth a fuckin’ fortune.  Willie, my friend, you just wrote a hit.”

Faron Young has a number 1 hit with “Hello Walls”

1961 was the year Faron Young’s version hit number 1 on the country charts, selling 2 million copies.  Willie tried to sell the song to Faron for $500 because he was barely getting by, but instead Faron loaned him the $500 to tide him over.

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Faron Young singing “Hello Walls”

Faron: I took the song out to the Boars Nest and a few of you guys was sittin’ around and I sang it and everybody laughed.  They was going around “hello commode, hello bathtub, hello sink…where did you get that terrible piece of material?” And I sang it to Sue (Brewer), she said “thats a hit honey, you cut that thing.” And me and you laughed all the way to the bank, didn’t we?

Willie:  I tried to sell it to you one time, remember that?

Faron: He did, he tried to sell me “Hello, Walls” for $500. Cause I told him how many it sold, he thought I was hyping it, you know?  I said “no, no, don’t you sell this son” I’m going to loan you some money.  And I loaned him the money, and about 6 weeks later he got another check for like $20,000.

I was sitting in Tootsie’s, and this arm came around my neck, squeezed my mouth open, and he french kissed me.  And it was the best kiss I ever had!  And we’ve been close ever since!

Willie:  I was gonna pay you that $500 back one time when I had it and he wouldn’t take it.  He said, ‘No, you raise me a cow, and whenever that calf gets up old enough to butcher, well you give her to me’.  She’s about 7,000 lbs now!

Years passed.  I was playing a rodeo in Austin when they auctioned off a bull.  My son Billy bought it but didn’t have the cash, so I wound up paying the $15,000.  I loaded it in a trailer and sent it to Faron’s office in Nashville.  He went out to the driveway and found a registered two-thousand-pound prize Seminole bull with a note that said, “Here’s that calf I owe you.” Faron took the bull out to pasture, where he and his partner Jimmy C. Newman, a star of the Grand Ole Opry, used it for breeding for years.

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One More Night

I know it’s been a long time since I’ve posted, but here’s a new song of mine.  Be on the lookout for more music to come!

All The Young Dudes

 

Ben Pranger & Tony Paoletta came over a couple Saturdays ago, and we were able to throw together this awesome cover of All The Young Dudes.  ATYD was written by David Bowie, but the band Mott the Hoople had a hit with it.  This is our slowed down/countrified version.  Let us know what you think and stay tuned for more vid/song action!

Slideways

 

Here’s a little western swing instrument ditty, written by steel man Tony Paoletta.  It features David Ball on the upright bass.  David is also an incredible singer and songwriter who had several big country hits like, “Riding with Private Malone” and “Thinkin Problem“.

It was so great to work with Tony and David on this.  Let us know what you think!

Please Help Me I’m Falling

 

This classic country song was originally done in 1960 by Hank Locklin.  It features the first example of what would become Floyd Cramer’s signature piano technique.  Cramer popularized a style of pop/country piano playing where you slide into each note, emulating the bending of a guitar or banjo string.  This became and important part of the era’s “Nashville Sound”.

The original recording was cut at RCA Studio B, and as it happens my friend John Gentile works their, and was generous enough to lend me his talents as a pianist.  The piano from the video has been used on countless other recordings by the likes of, oh, you know, Elvis, Dolly, Willie, Waylon, Roy…The list goes on.

My friends Sadie Hart & Tony Paoletta also contributed their incredible musical skillz.  Hope you enjoy!

Yes It Is

 

I’m working on recording a collection of old songs from the 40’s, 50’s & 60’s that are obscure or lesser known and kind of reworking them with some modern updates.  This is one of them. While not completely obscure (about as obscure as you can get with a Beatles song), it’s one of my favorites.

The original guitar part was supposedly played by George, with Paul crouching close by turning the volume knobs on the guitar to get the effect that the volume was swelling up and down.  Ah, the good old days.

The vocal harmonies are the ones originally sung by the three lads and are both weird and complicated.  The original recording always sounds slightly out of tune because of the dissonant notes they chose, but that’s part of the appeal.

I thought it lent itself nicely to a the Country ‘N’ Western oeuvre in which I am so fond these days.  On this rendition I had the enviable Tony Paoletta do all the volume controls and steel.

Yellow Roses

I first heard this song played by Jim Olbon at Nashville’s very own Foo Bar in the summer of 2012, and through much searching, discovered it was a beautifully melancholic old tune by Hank Snow called Yellow Roses.

I immediately set out to record my take on it and recruited pedal steel extraordinaire Tony Paoletta. For the video I wanted to try something a little different than what I had done in the past. Something a little more with a story behind it.

I asked my brilliant photographer friend Amy Harris if she would be interested in helping me with a video. She said “no”! After asking her 10 more times, she finally, acquiesced and we set out to make the video. We brought in resident model Dolci Key and thus the video was born!

Special thanks to
Amy Harris for Filming/Directing. http://www.photaffinity.com
Dolci Key for staring
Tony Paoletta for the luscious sounds of pedal steel. http://www.tonypaoletta.com

Smoky Mountain Drums

 

Check out the Smoky Mountain Drums in action!  You don’t play these drums, they play you.

How do you think they sound?

Vintage Smoky Mountain Drum Kit

It started as a chance meeting with John Cannon.  We got to talking and I found out that he is a talented painter who has a studio in East Nashville’s Idea Hatchery.  I asked him if he had ever painted a bass drum head before and even though he said “no” I could tell that I had piqued his interest.  Its not a request many people have these days, but it was common for bass drum heads of the 20’s and 30’s to have paintings of natural settings on them.  John took me up on my request and we decided on a scene from my favorite place The Great Smoky Mountain National Park.

I also picked up 2 interesting vintage parade drums, used in marching bands, and converted them into Tom Toms.  The 13 inch drum is a 1960’s Ludwig Legionnaire Parade Drum with a mahogany shell and maple hoop.  I left the snares on this drum so I can switch between using it as a Tom and using it as THE ULTIMATE BALLAD SNARE DRUM.  I am pretty excited.

The 10 inch drum is very similar looking and was also a Parade Drum in a former life that has been converted to a Tom.  The Remo Fiberskyn 3 heads I put on give the drums a woody, warm, tone that sounds like calf with out the temperamental nature of calf.

I would love to hear your thoughts and comments about this antique kit I’ve built!

Silver & Gold

Here’s an old song by Fats Domino that I learned from watching the amazing Jim Oblon.  I was lucky enough to recruit Nathan McLeod to play the sax parts and I think it turned out great!

I was really drawn to fact that this song is over 50 years old and a lot of the ideas and themes are so relevant to today’s life.

This will be part of a collection I’m working on of old country/early rock songs.

Well I'm goin' to go out dancin' every night
Gonna see all the city lights
I'm gonna do everything with silver & gold
But I've got to hurry up before I grow too old

And I'm gonna take a trip around the world
Gonna to kiss all girls pretty girls
I'm gonna do everything with silver & gold
But I've got to hurry up before I grow too old

Well I'm gonna do a lot of things I know is wrong
I hope that I'm forgiven before I'm gone
And it will take a lot of prayers to save my soul
But I've got to hurry up before I grow too old

I'm gonna do a lot of things
I know that's wrong
So I hope that I'm forgiven before I've gone
And it will take a lot of prayers to save my soul
But I've got to hurry up before I grow too old