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That Great Big Way Out There cover

Review from Western Way Magazine!
Review from ConNotations Magazine!

Following the light of the sun, we left the Old World.
                                         - Inscription on Columbus' caravels

My personal love of country music and honky-tonk songs inspired this recording. I guess that some country songs about the exploration and eventual colonization of the solar system (and beyond!) might help to convince more people that we need to get off our lazy butts and DO IT!

So ... why should we go Out There in the first place? What's in it for me?

How about something that will make the California and Alaska Gold Rush look small:

"The first places where humans could strike it rich in space are a handful of asteroids near Earth, composed almost completely of valuable metals: iron, nickel, gold, platinum. In particular, the asteroid Amun, a mountain of natural stainless steel mixed with precious metals, contains 30 times as much metal as humans have mined and processed throughout history. The smallest of dozens of known metallic asteroids, it would be worth at least an estimated $20 trillion based on current market prices." - CNN News, May 2001

Literally wealth beyond the dreams of avarice! Think about it.

Incidentally, that's enough metal to build spaceships off-earth and save us the trouble of dragging all that fuel and weight out of Earth's gravity-well. Don't have to streamline them either; no air, therefore no friction.

Already, we've had a lot of benefits from the 0.8% of our national budget that we spend on outer space exploration (yes, ONLY 0.8%!) and to list them here would take more space than we have, so I'll just refer you to this website: www.thespaceplace.com/nasa/spinoffs.html where you can see for yourself how much our tentative dabbles into outer space have already given us just in spin-offs, not to mention raw knowledge.

Think of what would happen if we established colonies in the asteroids, or on a couple of already very likely looking planetary moons in our solar system! First of all, we'd be starting with a created ecology in several instances, and thus would gain immeasurable knowledge in properly handling our Home here on Earth. We'd also probably see a repeat of the early days in North America, where splinter groups (religious, political or what have you) went off into the wilderness to find a better way to live. Some lived, some died, but Humanity learned from the experiences. And folks felt like they had the room to be FREE .... kind of like what happened on the North American continent in 1776.

Yes, we will have casualties. We've already witnessed some of them, and there will be more. Carelessness in that kind of a setting, whether in a wilderness here on Earth or in space tends to have a final and certain result of death. But that should not stop us, because we are made of sterner stuff than that. People will die, and the rest of us will learn not to die but learn to live and flourish.

And we will ensure the survival of our species because of it. Right now, all our eggs are in one basket, and if Basket Earth goes belly-up (remember the Impact Theory of Extinction?) we haven't a prayer. But if we have several self-sustaining colonies Out There, we're still in business as the human race. I regard that as pretty important.

Joe's website is located at www.WhiteTreeAZ.com

  • Overland Stage MP3 Sample
    (Nancy Freeman)
    I heard Nancy sing this one evening at a mutual friend's home, and it knocked me over. I immediately begged her for permission to record it, and she was kind enough to let me. Let's start the CD with this .....
  • That Great Big Way Out There
    (W.J. Bethancourt III)
    1940s Bob Wills sort of a thing, but the subject matter is tomorrow. The wealth of the solar system is amazing, if we can only get up the gumption to go there. It has all the potential of being another Gold Rush, with all the things that go with it: wild, wide-open towns, lawmen and lawbreakers, sod-busters, gamblers .... it'll remind you a lot of the Old West.
  • Fishin' For Chickens
    (Hobo Jim Varsos/Jeff Crossan)
    I heard this one in Amarillo, Texas, and loved it. Now, everywhere I go, folks are requesting it. I picture an "old salt" telling a tall tale to a group of new folks fresh from Earth.
  • Second Star To The Right
    (W.J. Bethancourt III)
    This is for Clint Bigglestone and Randall Garrett, two people I am proud to have known. I miss them; Clint for just being Clint, and Randall for his wonderful stories and strange sense of humor. Both of them, though, showed the "sense of wonder" about the Big Up and Out, and I've tried to convey some of that here.

  • Word of God MP3
    (Cat Faber)
    When she's not writing "instant folk songs," Cat Faber writes sheer shimmering poetry that happen to be songs too. This is probably one of the most powerful hymns I have ever heard. As I have always said: "It's not the HOW that should concern us, it's the WHY."
  • Helen All Alone
    (Rudyard Kipling; tune - Leslie Fish)
    I would like to meet Mr. Kipling in Heaven and ask him "Who or what inspired this poem?" It is, beyond a doubt, one of the most intense and powerful .... and saddest .... love songs I have ever heard. Leslie Fish put the perfect melody to it, but this is a slightly different musical take on her version. Brace yourself!
  • Black and White Cat
    (W.J. Bethancourt III)
    Just a silly little song about a silly little cat who tended to walk thru walls. What is it about cats that is so delightful? They'll be with us Out There too, I betcha.
  • Beacon Hill
    (W.J. Bethancourt III; tune - Traditional)
    A crewman on a starship visits home in his imagination. When we achieve a Faster-Than-Light drive, or even if we get close to light-speed in our starships, some strange things will happen. Einstein's Theory of Relativity is a two-edged sword.
  • Benson Arizona
    You might remember this from the movie "Dark Star" .... a great (and funny) movie, and a great country song. Benson is a sleepy little town in southern Arizona with much to recommend it. It's just north of Tombstone, and east of Tucson.

  • Big Ty's Ride
    (Mark Bernstein; musical setting - W.J. Bethancourt III)
    "Cowboy Poetry" style about an epic adventure that could very well come true. All the technology involved in this one is quite possible today. All we have to do is get ourselves out there! Big Ty is the sort of guy you could run into in something called Cowboy Action Shooting these days, and this one is dedicated to all my friends who, along with me, engage in that sport: Big Ed, Mogollon Munk, Patches, Annie Lee, Joy Jangles, El Escritor, Lew Nassad, Boston John Doucette and many others. They know me as "Sam Hane."
  • The Mercenary
    (W.J. Bethancourt III; tune - Ralph McTell; Misty River Music LTD. [ASCAP])
    Sitting in a bar, somewhere Out There, a soldier deep in his cups begins to talk. We listen .... we cannot help but listen. We'll still have soldiers Out There, but the problems will be a little bit different. Once again, Einstein's Theory comes into play. This song is respectfully dedicated to David Drake, Joe Haldeman and Robert Heinlein.
  • Simply Human
    (W.J. Bethancourt III)
    Why should we go Out There? Because we CAN! Because we WANT TO! Because IT'S OUT THERE!
  • Will We Still Have Country Music Out In Space?
    MP3 Sample
    (W.J. Bethancourt III)
    And who will wind up doing it? The same kind of people that colonized the Americas: Not the scientists, not the fancy-pants flyboys, not the academics, but the "good ole boys and girls" who want a little more room to stretch out in ... who have the courage to try for a better life someplace else ... who are tired of having to "toe the line" for someone else, and who aren't afraid of hardship and danger.
  • Acts of Creation
    (Cat Faber)
    Let's close with another one from the incredible Cat Faber, in a little storefront church hollowed out from the living rock of an asteroid somewhere Out There. This one is dedicated to my father, who passed to his eternal reward as we were finishing up this album. He would have liked this one.
  • Envoi: Overland Stage
    (Nancy Freeman)
    I asked Nancy if she could write a last verse and chorus to "Overland Stage" for the CD. She looked at me strangely, so I explained the overall theme of the album. She grinned, and in a few days this arrived in e-mail. Perfect!

    Instrument list (Joe):
    Giannini Craviola 6-string guitar
    Giannini Craviola 12-string guitar
    Martin D-12-20S 12-string guitar
    Goya G-30 Classical Guitar
    Larrivee L-10 guitar
    Cort Earth 900 parlor guitar
    Roland GR-1 Guitar Synth
    Weissenborn Hawaiian Guitar
    Robin Octave Electric Guitar
    Michael Kelly "Legacy Dragonfly Custom" mandolin
    Ome XXX 5-string banjo
    Wildwood Heirloom 5-string banjo
    Deering Custom Guitar-banjo
    S.S. Stewart "Special Thoroughbred" 5-string banjo
    Coral Electric Sitar
    Vocals and handclaps

    Produced by Joe Bethancourt / Dennis Putscher

    Dennis Putscher: electric guitar, electric bass, handclaps, keyboard synth, demented inspiration
    Jerica Leathers: fiddle
    Eileen Phillips: handclaps
    Patty Lynn Winters: backup vocals
    Rob Robbins: electric lead on "Helen All Alone." Check out his band at www.simplfy.com

    "Fly's Gallery" photo by Tom Story with blaster-rifle courtesy of Darkling Metal Works. Cover and back cover photos by Karl Wolz.

    This CD is dedicated to the memory of my father, Wiltz J. Bethancourt Jr., and to Rick Felix and Herb Shellans.

    By the way, this is my tenth solo recording. I guess that's some kind of milestone or something ......


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