A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #940-#931

Solid appearances from Vern Gosdin, Tracy Lawrence, and Taylor Swift redeem this batch of entries.

 


#940

Toby Keith, “Dream Walkin’”

#5 | 1998

JK: For whatever reason, I thought this was a bigger hit than a #5, though that could just be based upon what my local stations were spinning in heavy rotation at the time. Keith put out better– and significantly worse– material than this in the years that followed, so I don’t know that I’d go to bat for “Dream Walkin’” for a list like this. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC: “Dream Walkin’” was released at the tail end of Keith’s underrated years, where he quietly put out some of the best country music of the nineties.  To give credit where due, this list heavily emphasizes his nineties output over his superstar aughts period, which was better in quality. Still, I’d trade this one out for “Getcha Some” or “We Were in Love” or even “Upstairs Downtown.” So Wrong (This Song)

#939

Vern Gosdin, “Is it Raining at Your House”

#10 | 1990

KJC:  Another thing this list got right was including a solid dose of Vern Gosdin, with four total entries from this should’ve been superstar.  They weren’t lazy about it, either, as this was one of his lesser chart hits but still one of his best songs. About Right

JK: Given the recency and chart-topping biases, I’m stunned they plucked this gem by Gosdin from its undeserved obscurity. About Right.

#938

Rascal Flatts, “Stand”

#1 | 2007

JK: Mercifully, this wasn’t Rascal Flatts’ attempt at covering R.E.M., though I don’t think this single is worthwhile on its own merit, either. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  How could this lukewarm “empowerment anthem” find a place on this list, but not their one true masterpiece, “I’m Movin’ On?”  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#937

Diamond Rio, “Unbelievable”

#2 | 1998

KJC: Speaking of masterpieces, I will go to my grave championing “You’re Gone” as Diamond Rio’s finest moment on record and one of the best country records of the nineties as a whole.  Seriously, Sirius, it’s on the same album as this disposable claptrap. So Wrong (This Song)

JK: A shameless knockoff of John Michael Montgomery’s fast-talking hits “Be My Baby Tonight” and “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident),” this was beneath Diamond Rio’s considerable talents. So Wrong (This Song)

#936

Jake Owen, “Alone With You”

#1 | 2011

JK: Another song that’s less than 10 years old that I could not hum a single bar of if you paid me to. Owen’s a better singer than most of his contemporaries, but that’s clearing a very low bar. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC: One thing that this list is bringing into sharp relief for me is how forgettable the big hits of this past decade are. Listening to so many of these songs against the backdrop of what came before is helping to pinpoint the problem, which I’ve already noted in earlier entries: a complete lack of melody. Jake Owen can actually sing.  What a waste of his talent. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

#935

Asleep at the Wheel, “Take Me Back to Tulsa”

Did Not Chart | 1973

KJC:  They cover it well, but why not just include the Bob Wills original, as it was the one that was a hit? Strange that the only entry from this band is one that didn’t even chart.  So Wrong (This Song)

JK: On one hand, I’m thrilled that they’re included here at all. On the other hand, I cannot fathom how or why they landed on this recording. So Wrong (This Song)

#934

Bellamy Brothers, “Redneck Girl”

#1 | 1982

JK: Give me “Old Hippie” or give me nothing at all when it comes to these two. So Wrong (This Song)

KJC: I’ve always found their delivery so monotone that I couldn’t get into their records. They sound half asleep on this hit. I’d have gone with “Old Hippie” instead, which at least has more interesting lyrics. So Wrong (This Song)

#933

Brad Paisley, “I’m Still a Guy”

#1 | 2008

KJC: There are way too many Brad Paisley songs on this list, and all of his attempts at humor should’ve been left off.  This song is flat out terrible. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: I’ve always liked Paisley far more than Kevin does, but this frat-guy machismo posturing is the worst of his allegedly funny singles. So Wrong (This Song)

#932

Tracy Lawrence, “Sticks and Stones”

# 1 | 1991

KJC: Ah, the early nineties.  Those glory days when even the B-list players would launch their careers with stone cold classics.  Like Doug Stone and Hal Ketchum, Lawrence arguably peaked with his first hit record, despite some wonderful moments to follow over the next few years.  About Right

JK: And those B-list players could really and truly sing, too. As could the C-listers. And the D-listers. And the never-made-it-onto-a-list-at-all-ers. My favorite of Lawrence’s hits are still to come, but this was a killer introductory single. About Right.

#931

Taylor Swift, “Mean”

#2 | 2011

JK: Swift was already plenty snide and judgmental in her songs by the time she recorded “Mean,” which has always made its message scan as a bit hypocritical, but there’s simply no faulting the melody or construction, and the arrangement was certainly the most country-sounding of her career. About Right

KJC: Easily her finest country music moment, with the rest of her career highlights being pop records. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Even the jarring shift of tone during the bridge works better now, as Swift has allowed her own venom to surface more visibly with time.  Too Low

Previous: #950-#941  | Next: #930-#921

6 Comments

  1. Agree w KJC on Diamond Rio’s “You’re Gone” (written by Jon Vezner & Paul Williams, the latter of “We’ve Only Just Begun” fame). It’s their best effort along with “One More Day”.

    I like quite a few Tracy Lawrence songs including one of his last hits, “Paint Me a Birmingham”.

    Re Asleep at the Wheel, maybe they should have selected “Dance with Who Brung Ya”. (solely written by Ray Benson). I only discovered it near the end of last year when i bought the Western Swing Authority’s new album “Big Deal”. Ray is one of the guest vocalists on the album, joining with Shane Guse of WSA on “Dance with Who Brung Ya”. Love the WSA even though they have had no chart success and don’t appear to tour very much – hardly ever outside of Canada. Shane’s wife, Stacey Lee Guse, has become one of my favorite female vocalists.

  2. No Taylor Swift song should be on the list especially a hypocritical piece like “Mean.”

    “I’m Still a Guy” is a classic country novelty song but the site always has been leery of Paisley.

  3. I’m just waiting for this list to get to Faith Hill’s ‘Mississippi Girl’ and to read Jonathan Keefe’s updated thoughts from his legendary review 14 years ago. I loved the ‘Fireflies’ album (minus Mississippi Girl), but damn, that review etched itself onto my brain.

  4. The toby Keith entry is too low. its one example of hoe good he was at one time, and never was again. His pre-“How do you like Me Now” stuff was his best: Upstairs Downtown, Me Too, Blue Moon….

    I’ve never been a fan in general of Jake Owen (Save “Down to the Honky Tonk) or the Bellamy Brothers, except for Old Hippie and “Kids of the Baby Boom”

  5. I agree with Scott on Toby Keith’s “Dream Walkin’.” It’s actually one of my favorite songs of his too, and it deserves to be higher, imo. “We Were In Love” is another one of my favorites from his pre “How Do You Like Me..” days. I consider anything after “Angry American” to be the true beginning of Toby’s downhill slide, though. There were still a lot of good album cuts on the “How Do Like Me Now” and “Pull My Chain” albums, and great singles like “My List” and “You Shouldn’t Kiss Me Like This” in between.

    Love that Vern’s “Is It Raining At Your House” actually made the list. Great song! Early 1991 was the last time Vern and other 80’s & 70’s veteran artists like Conway Twitty, Don Williams, etc. were still getting decent airplay.

    “Sticks And Stones” is a classic from the early 90’s, and it was the song that instantly made me a fan of Tracy when I was a little girl. Still have the cassette of his debut album that my dad got for me back then. :)

    I always liked “Unbelievable,” and it’s pure fun, but I agree that there are stronger singles from Diamond Rio that should be included before this one.

    I actually like a lot of the Bellamy Brothers’ singles from the 80’s, and it always irritates me that “Redneck Girl” seems to be the only one that most people remember. “When I’m Away From You” is my personal favorite from them.

    Ugghh, can’t believe the Paisley song was actually included. I was doing my best to forget that song existed. I’m in total agreement with most of his attempts at humor throughout the mid-late 00’s. Hopefully, some of his earlier singles from his first two albums also made the list.

    “Stand” is just typical bland mid-late 00’s country that made country radio very boring to listen to during that time, imo.

    I’m also not a big fan of Jake Owen, but I actually think “Alone With You” is one of his better songs. I really like the melody, and I think he sings it well enough. That said, I’m still not sure it really belongs on a list such as this.

    “Take Me Back To Tulsa” is fun western swing. I like the version Asleep At The Wheel did with Clay Walker on the Ride With Bob album.

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