PonY BonEs Spooked and shattered by tha GhosT of JohnnY Horton
by Matthew PonY Bones
Let me tell you bout tha ghost of Johnny Horton.
They saw him in a vision way back yonder and way on up in tha hell hole Yankee Land of New York State---far far away from Louisiana and Nashville---and his heart broken true friend Merle Kilgore who wrote tha amazing song “Johnny Reb” for Mr. Johnny Horton.
There was three sexually metaphysical witches and three metaphysically cocked out wizards. They had visions of a ghost with a big ole white cowboy hat. The vision occurred many times over a three time span. The ghost tole the same story every time. He said his name was Johnny Horton. He gave specific instructions for the witches and wizards to tell his old friend still living Merle Kilgore the perplexing cryptic statement:
“The drummer is a rummer who can’t keep the beat.”
So who is this JohnnY Horton character you may ask? His name--alas--is not a house hold name as was back yonder in them years that holler defiantly ghost cat calls in the holler after the mean devil hills and just right before the towering mountains. I have seen mountains fall off mountains. I have seen sin death and living death.
Johnny Horton was a country superstar of the 1950’s who was also blessed with the gift to interpret recorded country music songs that became hits on the country charts as well as unbelievably crossing over into the pop market. He also twanged out some unbelievable fiery rockabilly.
Horton’s menacing specialty was a gravely drawl songing and singing out songs that sang and taught about history. I’m talkin about the heart twanging lonesomeness of “North to Alaska.” I’m talkin about “Sink the Bismarck.” I’m talkin especially about “The Battle of New Orleans.” This was Johnny’s biggest and best well known song. Take note! Visionary poet Jack Spicer tore a couple of lines from this massively successful dramatic countrified educational pop bravado music hit, taking the line “And they ran through the briars and they ran the brambles and they ran thru places even tha hound couldn’t go.”
One must not miss the chance to observe the bizarre modernist wacky shaded television performance by Mr. Johnny Horton of this song. One gets subjected to avant-garde dancers in the fog of a television studio whilst Horton stalks and creeps around with a coonskin hat and rifle loaded with real ammunition and not those silly blanks. One may be inclined to ponder if Cageian dance master magician Merce Cunningham had some kinda involvements. The arrangement would be bizarrely subconsciously studied, copied then ripped off by Brian Eno on his Taking Tiger Mountain By Strategy album
Back to the spook song in question. “Johnny Reb” written specifically for Horton by Merle Kilgore was one of Johnny Horton’s last hits.
The song “Johnny Reb” is NOT about the sentimentality of the evil sadistically visceral antebellum south or a pathetic call to arms whose aim is to rouse sympathy and/or a futile exploitation that the south is gonna rise again. DO NOT GET ANY SUPERFICIAL TRUCKIN SPUN COCKSUCKIN IDEAS THA SONG ALLUDES AT ALL TO WHITE POWER AND/OR WHITE SUPREMACY.
Truth is the South is falling failing and keeps on falling. There is not no comforting death possibility for the South to hit the bottom of this bottomless metaphysical drinking well of despondency.
“Johnny Reb” is about the embracement and the acceptance of mortal defeat---a peculiar and cruel defeat that is well worn dogged and well earned. The grace and acceptance is also very very variously well GodDAMNED EARNED! The song is a song of truth that truly embraces getting fucked violently with the ineptitude of a whoring violence belonging to the defeat and death of the confederacy.
Everything is sodden sordid and drenched in the grayness of history. This song is a tribute to accepting defeat. The song does NOT celebrate fatalism. The song does celebrate fatalism. The song is all about nostalgia. The song is not nostalgic. Maybe Johnny Horton is the CAPTAIN OF NOSTALGIA. What does that say about me writing this nonsense archaic analysis? A friend once told me nostalgia is death. I feel something creepin this way!
Abraham Lincoln would have loved the song. President Lincoln apparently ordered the union army band to play the song “Dixie” shortly after the machinations of the civil war machine growled into rupturing rust of forevermore ceasing. “Johnny Reb” is another Johnny Horton history lesson song where you will learn such information read within these writings.
Johnny Horton was a man of visions and a man who suffered the bizarre destinY of ChrisT God HoLy Ghost the almighty decisively divinely decided destination DECLARING OBSCENELY faTEfuL fate. Horton had the dubious honor of marrying n fuckin and sodden the cum spit into the pussy hole asshole of that one Hot Pants Billie Jean. You see this situation was the destiny of Johnny Horton got the hoodooing curse and cuss by Mr. Death Himself. Billie Jean Hot pants was the beautiful young thanG widow of Mr. Hank Williams Senior--who got jettisoned into death by far too much whiskey tranquilizers and intravenous injections of morphine.
Ghost Cadillac Blues shining underneath a blue blue silvery moon.
When Mr. Horton fell in love with hot pants Billy Jean he had might as well have gone ahead and signed his death certificate. It wasn’t tha young thang’s fault death was naturally inclined to hover around Billie Jean like a bee in the honey den. Billy Jean for unknown reasons was struck with the curse of temporarily being a queen bee in the honey comb abode fixated by desolate Mr death. Billie Jean was a pretty gal woman and did not deserve such a fate, nor did Johnny Horton.
Hank Senior on the hand got what he sure did ask for. After all he was devoutly devoted to the devotion of destruction---yes he prayed hard for that angel of death. Mr. Williams Senior for God’s sake manifested the incantations through songs that encouraged his death, especially in the two songs “Lost Highway” and the aptly titled “Angel of Death.” The latter is one of Hank’s gospel songs. You can sure bet this may be one of the top thirteen ghastly and luridly morbid gospel death songs ever and ever to be written.
Johnny Horton also performed his own very personal version of Hank’s very personal “Lost Highway.” --Mr. Louisiana Man Horton tightened that leather belt adorned with a death grinning belt buckle---Mr. Johnny Horton interpretation took the already desolate song into the realms of sweetened up for the radio grandeur twanging, which comes across like radioactive despondency. Grotesquely illuminating for the future that awaited our Louisianan, the song is a direct prophecy of Mr. Johnny Horton’s demise.
Johnny Horton met his demise by getting hit by a drunk college student outside the where a bouts of Austin, Texas. Three weeks prior, he had suffered a vision and visitation of an angel of the hoLy ghost Lord who informed him of his impending imminent crash course with destiny. Horton was told where and how by the angel. He was not comforted with any information regarding the whys.
He told of his upcoming fatalistic fate to a couple of his closest friends. One was his amphetamine poppin drown down tha drinkin bottle buddy Johnny Cash, whilst the other was Mr., Merle Kilgore who wrote some killer (!) twang songs for the Mr. Johnny Horton. Kilgore last saw Horton a couple days before he sojourned upon tour to calamitous metal crushed glass shattering violent death. Horton told him straight eyed and sober what the facts were going to add up to. He communicated his promenaded premonition with exacting precise calm ---radiated out a gloomy radioactive eeriness.
They made an agreement of sorts. If Horton met his demise as he was foretold, he would relay a message back to Kilgore, to prove there was life after death. The message was:
“The drummer is a rummer and can’t hold a beat.”
One of the psychics three years after the visitation, which kept on mysteriously reoccurring accidentally hears a country music station between baseball games. “Johnny Reb” comes across the waves. The d.j. even mentions “that was the late Johnny Horton performing a song by his friend Merle Kilgore.” The psychic fulfills his obligation by calling the radio station and somehow digging up Kilgore’s contact information.
There is another whole other world upon world after this one, friends. There is a land of ghosts talking to us at all times. Let us go down to the river and receive those fog woven whispers.
*This article is indebted to Ralph Emery, one of Country Music’s most important vessels and a life changing archivist who preserved some very very interesting intriguing and essential apocrypha concerning the personal lives of Nashville’s best. I highly recommend his book (with Patsi Bale Cox as coauthor) The View from Nashville: On the Record with Country Music’s Greatest Stars.