A Country Music Conversation: Sirius Top 1000 Country Songs of All Time, #400-#391

Sirius must have hired a wino to write this mess of a list.

 

#400

David Frizzell, “I’m Gonna Hire a Wino (To Decorate Our Home)”

#1 | 1982

JK: An especially catchy novelty hit on which everyone involved is in on the joke. I’m not mad it’s on the list, but I’m mad that it’s well ahead of “When I Call Your Name” and “Jolene.” Too High

ZK: I’ve got a soft spot for a few of David Frizzell’s hits, and this is one of them. But I also remember my recent rant on Lefty Frizzell’s general representation and remind myself that this is far Too High.

KJC: This song is hilarious and self-aware.  It’s great to see Frizzell represented on this list, even with an entry that is ludicrously Too High

 

#399

Chris Young, “You”

#1 | 2011

KJC:  I swear, the hits from this decade wouldn’t have even been album cuts on C-list hat acts from twenty years earlier, let alone singles.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: I’d wager that even Young himself has forgotten this nothing of a hit. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: Sad as it is, a return to filler material like this would mark a huge improvement for one of the saddest cases of wasted potential within the country music genre. So Wrong (This Song)

 

#398

Alabama, “Born Country”

#2   | 1992

JK: Even though I don’t like most of their hits, I remember those hits. Not this one, though. On first listen / re-listen, I can hear why that’s the case. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: Montgomery Gentry’s “My Town” is right below this and handles this theme significantly better. Like many of today’s hits, it’s a string of country signifiers meant to feed an image, rather than something authentic. Not as brash or immature as those hits, mind you, but still far from interesting. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  Country pride songs make up a good percentage of Alabama hits.  This is one of the lazier ones, trading in the specificity of their best tracks for vanilla southern patriotism.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

 

#397

Johnny Cash & June Carter, “Long-Legged Guitar Pickin’ Man”

#6 | 1967

ZK: OK, sure, I guess? Too High 

KJC: A very entertaining number that was certainly a highlight of their live sets together.  But it’s only here because Walk the Line immortalized their banter on the silver screen.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: In as much as I find their duets to be wildly over-rated, I think this is actually a good and surprising choice to represent them on this list… Albeit like 400 entries ago. Too High

 

#396

Lady A, “Downtown”

#2 | 2013

KJC: God, they even make double entendres boring.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: Even when they’re trying to be fun, they’re still the most boring act in all of popular music. I haven’t listened to this since I reviewed it at the time: It’s just as useless now as it was then, and it’s still probably one of their better singles. Add in the gross way they’ve addressed their name change and the fallout from it, and I honestly would be fine with never hearing from them again. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

ZK: Different for its time and for the band in general, but again, they’ve never been “cool.” Sanitized to the point where I don’t even know why they bothered to try. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

 

#395

Tammy Wynette, “Your Good Girl’s Gonna Go Bad”

#3 | 1967

JK: I’m far more lukewarm on Wynette than many, but this choice and placement strike me as About Right.

ZK: I echo Jonathan’s sentiment, especially when Wynette was always better handling emotive and/or sharply direct material like this over tripe like a certain signature hit of hers. Too High 

KJC: There isn’t nearly enough solo Tammy on this list.  This hit belongs here, but should be lower than the sinful omissions “Another Lonely Song,” “’Til I Can Make it On My Own,” and “My Elusive Dreams.”  Too High

 

#394

Rascal Flatts, “Mayberry”

#1 | 2004

ZK: I’d rather just listen to The Andy Griffith Show theme song. I can’t whistle, but it’s a catchy little booger. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

KJC:  Please. Confederate Railroad’s “Elvis and Andy” was better than this.  So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)

JK: I’d swap this wholesale for BR5-49’s ribald and subversive “Me N’ Opie.” So Wrong (This Song)

 

#393

Rosanne Cash, “Seven Year Ache”

#1 | 1981

KJC: A pop crossover masterpiece, and an early example of Rosanne Cash’s unique craft of setting poetry to music.  Too Low

JK: One of the five best country singles of the 1980s, and an indefensible placement. Too Low

ZK: This whole list has been a seven-year ache. At this point, I shouldn’t be surprised that they’d screw up a placement this badly, but I can still be disappointed. Too Low 

 

#392

Montgomery Gentry, “My Town”

#5  | 2002

JK: A triumph of production and performance, I’d rate this as easily their best single, and the song itself develops its sense of pride and ownership far more organically than have any of the subsequent knocks-offs that were just lists of random rural signifiers strung together. About Right

ZK: One of the better songs of its kind, but their only good selection was “If You Ever Stop Loving Me” in, like, the 800s. “Speed,” “Something To Be Proud Of,” and “Cold One Comin’ On” are just a *few* better replacements. I still think it belongs, but not this high. Too High

KJC: I mean, it’s just a 2000’s country facsimile of 1980’s John Mellencamp, but it’s a keeper.  Too High

 

#391

Bobby Bare, “Marie Laveau”

#1 | 1974

ZK: They really went with some strange choices to represent Bobby Bare, but this one makes sense. It was his only No. 1 hit and is placed about right, and who doesn’t love a good Bare/Shel Silverstein combination? About Right

KJC: Shel Silverstein’s legacy as a songwriter is as impressive as his legacy as a children’s poet, and Bare is a hell of a storyteller.  About Right

JK: Both Bare and Silverstein were at the peak of their powers on this hit, and it’s hard to imagine today that mainstream country once embraced records like this one. About Right

 

Previous: #410-#401 | Next:  #390-#381

 

7 Comments

  1. Re. “Seven Year Ache”: It certainly made Rosanne her own star, separate and apart from her mega-legendary father; and it also helped connect the 1970’s country-rock of Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris (the latter of whom does backing vocals on this song, if I am not mistaken) with the female country music explosion that would begin just before the end of the 1980’s.

    And yes, it is a great example of early 1980’s pop/country crossover. it not only hit #1 on the country chart, but also peaked at a very respectable #22 on the overall Hot 100.

  2. “Sirius must have hired a wino to write this mess of a list.” – This might be one of my favorite opening lines yet! About sums up my feelings towards this list.

    Rosanne Cash, Alabama, and David Frizzell are my favorites out of this pretty weak batch.

    “Second Year Ache” is another one of my all time favorites from the early 80’s Urban Cowboy period. Also like Trisha Yearwood’s version on her 2001 album, Inside Out (in which Rosanne makes a guest appearance). I agree with all the comments on this one, especially Zackary’s. I love most of Rosanne’s other 80’s singles like “I Don’t Know Why You Don’t Want Me,” “Hold On,” “Never Be You,” “Runaway Train,” “If You Change Your Mind,” “The Way Me Make A Broken Heart,” and “Tennessee Flat Top Box.” Yet another artist we haven’t seen enough of on this list.

    I’ve actually always really liked “Born Country,” and I find it to be much more sincere and authentic than most of the modern in your face country pride songs. Also, it’s probably held up better for me personally, because it came out during a time in my childhood that I look back fondly on, and it hasn’t been overplayed like most of their upbeat 80’s singles. Also, I always thought it was cool how they were able to actually make it sound like there were crickets in the background when Randy sings “crickets serenading in the yard.” Plus, I really like the melody and that fiddle solo. With all that being said, I probably wouldn’t have placed it this high.

    “I’m Gonna Hire A Wino…” still never fails to crack me up when I hear it to this day, which is certainly a good thing for a humorous country ditty. Have to agree with you guys on it being too high, though.

    Even though I consider “You” to be one of Chris Young’s better singles before he jumped on the bro-country train, it’s getting ridiculous to still be seeing him on this list at this point. He’s WAY overrepresented for an artist who was truly good for only a short time and has been wasting his talents ever since, imo. And we STILL haven’t seen “Neon” yet, either (nor am I really expecting to, sadly).

    Never was a huge Montgomery Gentry fan, but I did like most of their earlier singles from their first few albums. “My Town” is one of them, and once again, it’s much more listenable and comes across as a lot more sincere than many of the more recent small town anthems. Still a bit too high, though.

    On the other hand, when “Mayberry” came out, that’s when I beginning to think that the whole romanticizing small town life theme was being run into the ground already. Probably the first single from the Flatts that I really disliked.

    What a shame to learn that “Til I Can Make It On My Own” is not on the list. I definitely would’ve personally ranked it higher than “Good Girl.” Same with “Another Lonely Song.” I enjoy a lot of Tammy’s ballads, and it’s too bad that many of them seem to be overlooked today.

    “Downtown” would probably be my least favorite Lady A song of all time if it weren’t for “Bartender”. That song seriously annoys the heck out of me, and it boggles my mind how it got this far up the list.

  3. Agree that this is a fairly weak batch of songs with only Bare’s “Marie Laveau, Frizzell’s “Wino” and Cash’s “Seven Year Ache” being real standouts.I largely agree with the panel comments

    If I remember correctly Bare is represented by this song, “Tequila Sheila” and “Dropkick Me Jesus”, none of which I would place among the top ten Bobby Bare songs

  4. I’ve always liked “Wino,” but this is too high. Ditto “You,” ‘Mayberry” and “Downtown”

    A forgettble group of 10 overall

  5. Rosanne Cash’s Seven Year ache best here by far.
    Not a big fan of Montgomery Gentry’s My Town or Alabama’s Born Country but I have a half dozen other MG songs in my i-tunes library and about 20 from Alabama – most frequently played by far – Old Flame.

  6. “Seven Year Ache” should be much higher.

    I just happened to put on “..Wino..” out of the blue last night. I’ve always enjoyed it as it is cleverly written and sounds great, but it’s too high for this list.

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