My song today is ‘Move It on Over’. This song was written and recorded by the American country music singer, Hank Williams in 1947. ‘Move It On Over’ was recorded in Nashville on April 21, 1947, and the song is considered one of the earliest examples of rock and roll music, although many claims that the song, ‘Rock Around the Clock’ released in 1954 by Bill Haley & His Comets’ would go on to become the first hit rock and roll single. Both records feature the same 12-bar blues arrangement with a melody starting with three repetitions of an ascending arpeggio and tonic chord.
The song follows a man who is forced to sleep in the doghouse after coming home late at night and not being allowed into his house by his wife. In many respects, the song typified Williams' uncanny ability to express in a humorous way the aspects of everyday life that listeners could relate to, but rarely heard on the radio.
‘Move It on Over’ was Williams' first major hit and reached Number 4 on the ‘Billboard Most Played Juke Box Records’ chart and got him a write up in ‘The Alabama Journal’. The revenue generated by the song was the first serious money the singer had ever seen in his life. It also earned him a spot on the coveted ‘Louisiana Hayride’, which was the training ground for the ‘Grand Ole Opry’.
Many others have recorded and performed the song subsequently. Notable hit versions were performed by Bill Hayley, Ray Charles, and many more artists.
Every married man will manage to get themselves in the ‘dog-house’ with their wife at some time in their life. During such periods of marital disharmony, the man’s wife will not talk to him, may refuse to wash his dirty underpants, or cook for him. Depending on how deprived a doghouse she has put her husband in, and for how long a length of time, he will definitely experience some ‘coitus interruptus’ through the loss of his conjugal rights for the wrong he has done her! I have even known the regular nightly headaches of a woman five times a week transmogrify into a two-year period of blinding bouts of migraine attacks that come on every time her husband undresses for the night with the bedroom lights on.
I once came across a married man who lived out in Skelmanthorpe who would frequently come home late from the pub having had one pint too many. If he had not returned from his drinking session before 11:00 pm, his wife would take his whippet dog (who normally slept in the kitchen at night-time), and tie the dog to the door handle of a small shed in the yard. When her husband eventually decided to put an appearance in, and he found the front door locked and bolted on the inside (rendering his house key pointless), he would hear his dog barking at his return. He would find the dog tied to the door of the garden shed. That was when he realised that not only had he forfeited any ‘nooky’ for the night, but he would have to sleep alongside his dog on the shed floor as a punishment.
I recall telling an animal-lover friend of mine called Jim this story and can still visualise him laughing his head off. Jim had spent a lifetime working with creatures and loved all animal life, along with their often-eccentric owners. I often think that my Probation Officer experiences over 25 years have provided me with sufficient personal stories to make a book.
In fact, were Jim still alive, I might even have asked his advice about the merits of combining a good number of my Probation Officer experiences over the years into a humorous journey of mankind at work. Jim had direct experience in this process which made him extremely happy in his later life, as well as very wealthy. He helped me so many times between 1990 and his death in early 1995 with my charitable ventures and despite his vast wealth, he lived a relatively plain and humble existence and had little love of money for money’s sake. His regular contributions to my charitable ventures would involve numerous cheques for hundreds of pounds each time he helped to promote some venture.
Yes, were Jim still alive, I would ask the retired veterinary surgeon, Alf Wight, from Thirlby in North Yorkshire (who I always called Jim), and who the world of television and film knew as ‘James Herriot’, how to cash in on a job that one loved and would have done for no wages anyway!
Incidentally, Jim was as nice and polite a man as ever drew breath, as he was generous, and I am certain he was also someone who probably never experienced being put in the dog house by his loving wife, Joan (or Catherine as she preferred to be called). He was such a gentle, kind man who considered the needs of others before those of himself. This was a personal trait he maintained until the very end of his life. Just a few hours before he died (and while he was presumably in his sickbed), he took time out to have his wife post me a signed copy of one of his books to put in my monthly charitable raffle. Another good friend of mine, John Thorpe (author of ‘Leeds Then and Now’ and a regular columnist writer with ‘The Yorkshire Evening Post’ until the mid -90s) was the proud literary raffle winner of the said autographed book from Jim.
Love and peace Bill xxx