No wonder I got into country music in 1991. What an awesome collection of songs. I could actually enjoy country radio if this is what was in the rotation! Sorry this is four days late, but there was no way I was going to find a new list for July 24 when this collection was so damn good.
Top 20 Country Songs
July 20, 1991
“Small Town Saturday Night”
Ketchum’s breakthrough hit is a detail-laden celebration of the mundane social lives of small town teenagers. He didn’t write it, but it’s so intelligent it’s hard to believe he didn’t. Witness the explanation that the world is flat, and drops off sharp at the edge of town, because “when people leave town, they never come back.” A
Lee Greenwood & Suzy Bogguss
Greenwood’s last top ten hit was Bogguss’ first, and she elevates the proceedings by her mere presence. He mercifully keeps his vocal histrionics in check. B+
“Down to My Last Teardrop”
Smart, vivacious and sung with fire, Tucker’s rarely sounded better. This is one of her best singles that isn’t from the early seventies. A
Gill does a little rockabilly number that sounds pleasant, but doesn’t really go anywhere. B-
“We Both Walk”
Morgan growls her way through this insistent kiss-off number, as she tells her man, “Don’t you try to come through my door. I can’t watch you leave anymore.” A-
“She’s a Natural”
Unbelievably sappy. Crosby lays it on thick. It’s hard to believe that he was among the prodigious early roster of Arista Nashville, which featured Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio and Lee Roy Parnell. C
“One of Those Things”
Speaking of Tillis, her second hit single was a re-recording of a song she wrote that failed to chart when she was a Warner Bros. artist. Janie Fricke covered it soon after, but it wasn’t until the newly confident writer ripped into it on her Arista debut that it was finally a hit. A-
“Fallin’ Out of Love”
McEntire does her very own “Woman to Woman”, whispering in the ear of a female friend who has just been done wrong, but in a demonstration of how things have changed for women, she celebrates with her friend as the man who left her behind comes crawling back, and she turns him away. One of the best singles in a very illustrious career that’s been full of great, great singles. A+
“Til I Found You”
Even Marty filler is pretty good. But this is Marty filler, no doubt. B-
“You Know Me Better Than That”
Love this song. Hilariously true to life. We put on airs, but eventually people see us as we really are. A
“Lord Have Mercy On a Country Boy”
Josh Turner did a stellar cover of this on his album Your Man, and it’s something of a counterpoint to the Hank Jr. classic “A Country Boy Can Survive.” Here, the evil isn’t the big city, but rather the increasing presence of suburbia. And in the end, wasn’t that always the real threat to the country lifestyle? A
“The Moon Over Georgia”
“The Thunder Rolls”
A masterpiece of a cheating song, and yes, the song is better because they left off the last verse. It makes for great theatrics live, but leaving the storyline hanging on the record adds to the ominous atmosphere that pervades it. A+
“Here We Are”
Damn, they were a great radio band. Nothing substantial here, but it sounds great cranked up to 11. B
“Point of Light”
Then-President Bush’s vision of “A Thousand Points of Light” was so inspiring that Randy Travis built an entire song around it. In the process, he celebrates everyone from teachers to environmental workers. Wonderfully earnest. B+
“Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)
Sixteen years later, it’s still one of the best kiss-off numbers in the history of a genre that’s full of them. You tell her, Travis. A+
“She’s in Love With the Boy”
Who doesn’t love the saga of Katie and Tommy? Trisha’s first hit made her an instant star, and endeared her to little girls across America, who then were really, really confused when they heard Hearts in Armor. That album is one for the ages, but you know what? So is this charming little single. A+
“Somewhere in My Broken Heart”
Achingly beautiful, and a level of excellence that is disarming for such a young artist. A
“I Am a Simple Man”
Ricky Van Shelton
Good enough, but he always sounded better channeling the Nashville Sound legends than he did doing anything contemporary. B
“Don’t Rock the Jukebox”
The final classic on a list chock full of them, it became very clear with this single that Jackson was going to be a traditionalist with a new perspective. How nobody had ever written this before is beyond me, but that’s his true genius: discovering the obvious truths that other singers and writers miss while they’re digging too deep. A+
Awww…I love that I was 6 when these were big, but I still LOVE quite a few of them. I’m not sure I could say that about any other type of music.
I love most of these as well although 1994 was my year to love country.
wow I don’t remember most of these songs. Probably because I was onlyone at the time but still, usually I know most hit songs regardless of their age. There’s only about five or six of these that I know. I’ll have to look up the rest.
Good article, although Marty Raybon was such a great singer that I’d give the otherwise lackluster Shenandoah song a “B” (in the hands of most vocalists it wouldn’t be worth the “C” that you gave it !)
I really got into Country Music in 1968 when Johnny Bush’s “UndoThe Right” caught my attention. I would never assert that 1968 was a premium year for Country Music – l little too much pop/schlock like “Honey”. I would cite 1972, 1986, 1974 and 1973 in that order as the best post-1968 years for Country Music. I won’t get into the worst years (all years have had some good music) other than to say that when the music drifts away from steel guitar and fiddle, it drifts away from being of much interest to me.
“Small Town Saturday Night” and “She’s In Love With The Boy” I just have never been able to get into. They’re good songs, but for a long time, my old local station (WOKQ in Portsmouth, N.H.) played each song CONSTANTLY; they still do with the latter although I don’t know if they still play the former. But I’ve been scared away from those two songs for life just from overplaying. Give me “Past the Point of Rescue,” however, and I’ll be a happy person for a long time.
It’s pretty remarkable that I can count five of these that I still hear regularly on the local radio station.
This is the year I got into country music, I was only 5 but a music video with a dog bobbing its head and dancing ducks by a young lady named Trisha Yearwood caught my attention! I have been a fan ever since
Brooks and Yearwood’s songs are still played on my radio station here!