For goodness sake, this “For the Good Times” placement…
Billy Currington, “I Got a Feelin’”
#5 | 2004
ZK: I got a feelin’ that this placement is So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
KJC: Come on, man. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: Best thing that can be said about this is that, mercifully, it isn’t a Black Eyed Peas cover. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Ray Price, “For the Good Times”
#1 | 1970
KJC: This Kris Kristofferson masterpiece also happens to be one of Ray Price’s greatest vocal performances. I’m stunned this isn’t in the top 50. Too Low
JK: At this point, I’m real not stunned. But I agree fully with what should be the proper placement for this absolute classic. Too Low
ZK: Look, you don’t take a song as well-written as this (by Kris Kristofferson, no less), give it to a vocalist like Ray Price and slot it randomly at friggin’ #269. A top 100 record, easily. Too Low
Brooks & Dunn, “Brand New Man”
#1 | 1991
JK: A brilliant opening salvo that they managed to top only with “Neon Moon,” just two singles later. Their best uptempo cut, and ranked Too Low
ZK: We’re at the point of this list where I’m conflicted on the rankings. Like, in the most absolute sense, I think this is About Right. It’s the single that started it all for the most successful duo in country music, and while they do have better ones, you need this, too.
KJC: Arista Records had this thing of launching artists with signature hits. Within eighteen months, Alan Jackson broke through with “Here in the Real World,” followed by Pam Tillis (“Don’t Tell Me What to Do”), Diamond Rio (“Meet in the Middle”), and finally, Brooks & Dunn with “Brand New Man.” All four are classic records, but I’ll go one further with “Brand New Man” and call it the best record that they ever released, a pure shot of adrenaline every time I hear it. Too Low
Willie Nelson, “Whiskey River”
#12 | 1978
ZK: This classic went through the ringer as far as its timing and release goes, released five years after it was initially included on an album and as a live single, no less. I’ve never really know how to judge its legacy outside of being a signature live cut. About Right
KJC: A Willie Nelson stan helped make this list. Great song, of course, and a lovely live performance of it. But it’s not one of the best country records of all time, certainly not among the top 300. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: I understand the impulse to want to include this based upon how popular it is in his live shows, but this ranking is kind of absurd. Too High
Lady A, “Just a Kiss”
#1 | 2011
KJC: Don’t know why they even had to steal Lady A from another performer when this record makes the case so well for calling them Lady Ambien. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: This isn’t even their dullest single; their commitment to making music that wouldn’t even liven up an AARP commercial is really something. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: Their story lives and dies by “Need You Now.” I know this was the band’s second biggest hit, but it doesn’t merit inclusion … like, at all. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Hank Williams, “Honky Tonk Blues”
#2 | 1952
JK: He’s underrepresented on this list, but the relative ranking of this one is pretty well correct. I’m going to have to start budgeting my “Too Low”s, so I’ll say this one is About Right.
ZK: Of the many Hank Williams songs here (they got that right at least), this is one I actually don’t mind seeing here. That’s, of course, assuming it’s leading the pack of other singles in rankings and LOL to that, I guess. About Right?
KJC: They got this one About Right, and Zack’s reasonable concerns about his presence moving forward aren’t too much to worry about; Hank Sr. has five more songs above this, and four are in the top 100.
Zac Brown Band & Alan Jackson, “As She’s Walking Away”
#1 | 2010
ZK: I actually disliked this until high school, mostly because I thought the character was an idiot for talking to an old man about his girl troubles instead of leaving him to actually take his advice. I was also an idiot until high school. This has nothing to do with anything, though, and I’m just rambling. It’s not “Colder Weather,” but it’s a bright spot for early 2010s country radio. Too High
KJC: I love the “older man counsels younger man element” of this, both for the song’s narrative purpose and for the implication that by 2010, Alan Jackson was an elder statesman whom everyone should listen to. This is my favorite Zac Brown Band record. About Right
JK: I love everything about this record: It’s one of the last times Brown sounded interested in learning something as a narrator, and Jackson is perfectly cast. One of the few real bright spots at country radio in the last decade, and I’ll say this is actually just a bit Too Low.
John Michael Montgomery, “Sold (The Grundy County Auction Incident)”
#1 | 1995
KJC: A cute novelty song that ended up being Montgomery’s final mega-hit, though the list has all of his included hits besides “I Swear” ranked way Too High.
JK: A fine example of what it aspires to be, but wildly overranked here. Too High
ZK: A completely ridiculous ditty that’s also ridiculously fun, and likely has its own place somewhere in the country music history books. With that said, we don’t really have room for ditties at this point. Too High
Tom T. Hall, “(Old Dogs – Children And) Watermelon Wine
#1 | 1972
JK: I don’t have much to add to what Kevin and Zack have to say below: Mad about the obvious omission for Hall, not mad at this ranking. About Right
ZK: Their Tom T. Hall choices really are just strange, and their highest-placed one is just utterly predictable (we’ll get to it). This is slotted About Right if we assume that “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” is ahead of it (it’s not), and is one of my personal favorite examples of Hall’s unconventional wisdom.
KJC: Unfortunately, “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” is not on this list at all, but I won’t begrudge this hit still being About Right.
Joe Nichols, “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off”
#2 | 2003
ZK: “Brokenheartsville.” That’s the song I was hoping to see here, and even then, slotted just a bit back.
… Wait, it’s not on here at all!? My Lord, they only picked three Nichols songs, and they all stink. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: I’m okay with there being three Joe Nichols songs on this list. I’m even okay with “Tequila” being one of the three. I’m decidedly not ok with their other two choices, and even if I’d gotten my way with the other two (“Brokenheartsville,” “The Impossible”), I wouldn’t have any of them in the top 300. Too High
JK: They ranked this ahead of “Coat Of Many Colors” and “She Thinks I Still Care.” I don’t dislike this record all that much– it tells its one joke well, and I’ve always wished Nichols had gotten Blake Shelton’s career arc– but come on. Too High