A Country Music Conversation, Day 8: “For the Good Times” to “He Stopped Loving Her Today”

A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index

A Country Music Conversation: Spotify Playlist (thanks to reader Justin Lai)

Previous Entry: Day 7: “Even the Man in the Moon is Crying” to “Follow Your Arrow”

Day 8 features tracks from Ray Price, Laura Bell Bundy, Jeannie C. Riley, Nickel Creek, and George Jones.


“For the Good Times”
Ray Price

Written by Kris Kristofferson

Ray Price was one of the few male artists in country music history to suffer a backlash from traditionalists when he went for a smoother pop sound, but with that voice, who could stay mad for long? He gives a mature reading of “For the Good Times” that wouldn’t have had the same gravitas coming from a younger artist.

Other Favorites: “‘Crazy Arms,” “Heartaches by the Number,” “I Won’t Mention it Again”


“Giddy On Up”
Laura Bell Bundy

Written by Laura Bell Bundy, Jeff Cohen, and Mike Shimshack

How I wish Laura Bell Bundy had broken through. Her Achin’ and Shakin’ album was relentless entertaining, and “Giddy On Up” epitomizes the fearlessness of the production and her remarkably charming delivery.  I love the bridge, where she becomes her own Pip, answering her own questions with some “Mmm Hmms” and “Nuh uhs.”

Other Favorites: “China and Wine,” “Another Piece of Me,” “Cigarette”


“Harper Valley P.T.A.”
Jeannie C. Riley

Written by Tom T. Hall

Sure, it’s Riley’s biggest hit, and it’s a classic. But the strength of the storyline and her lesser success at radio after it obscure the fact that it’s not just a great record because of Tom T. Hall’s way with words. Her sassy delivery packs a punch that nobody else who’s recorded it has matched – and almost every female artist of her day recorded it, too. Check out her later singles and pretty much all of her Plantation albums. There is a lot of great music to discover.

Other Favorites: “The Rib,” “The Backside of Dallas,” “Run Jeannie Run”

Nickel Creek A Dotted Line

Nickel Creek

Written by Ryan Guildemond

This record is hilarious to listen to, and showcases how innovative Nickel Creek are and how well they complement each other. This has the off-beat weirdness associated with Chris Thile’s work outside of the group, but the singing and musicianship of the Watkins siblings add depth and dimension to the proceedings. They remain his finest fellow travelers.

Other Favorites: “Helena,” “You Don’t Know What’s Going On,” “Somebody More Like You”


“He Stopped Loving Her Today”
George Jones

Written by Bobby Braddock and Curly Putman

It’s often called the greatest country song of all time. He’s often called the greatest country singer of all time. One could quibble with either of those claims, but nobody could seriously argue that the record and the singer are in serious contention for the very best that country music has ever seen. My mind tells me my favorite George Jones song is “A Good Year for the Roses,” but my play count agrees with the historians.

Other Favorites: “A Good Year For the Roses,” “The Grand Tour,” “Golden Ring” (with Tammy Wynette)

Up Next: Day 9: “Hurt” to “I Fall to Pieces”


  1. A lot of classics here. My favorites by Nickel Creek and George Jones are “The Lighthouse’s Tale” and “Choices”, respectively.

  2. Love me some Ray Price. For The Good Times has been recorded by so many. It’s such a beautiful song – one of many that Kris Kristofferson has written over the years.

    And how fun is Harper Valley PTA? I love story songs (the Statler Brothers are my all-time favorite band for their great story songs). And this little ditty holds your attention all the way through. I went and saw the movie version with Barbara (I Dream Of Jeannie) Eden when it came to the theater. I even watched the short-lived series. Tom T Hall is another great songwriter and Jeannie C Riley took this song and ran with it.

    What can you say about the great George Jones. You couldn’t list all his great songs because there’s not enough room. But Golden Ring with Tammy is definitely my all-time favorite by him.

    Nice walk down a good-memory lane. Thanks for this.

  3. I really LOVE Laura Bell Bundy and also wish she had broken through. With the exception of maybe a couple of the songs on the “shaken” side of the Achin’ and Shakin’ album, I am in love with that album. Her new album isn’t bad, either. I feel the same about her and Ashton Shepherd – I’ll keep buying whatever they release.

  4. It is strange that “For The Good Times” was Ray Price’s only Top 40 pop hit, peaking at #11; you’d have thought that “Crazy Arms”, which spent, I think, twenty weeks in the catbird seat on the C&W charts in 1956, would have crossed over as well). But it is interesting to note what other songs it was in company with on pop radio in the winter of 1970-71: “Your Song” (Elton John); “I’ll Be There” (Jackson Five); “My Sweet Lord” (George Harrison), to name just three. This is from the era when anything good, regardless of musical genre, got played.

    “Harper Valley PTA”–It’s interesting to note that this was a #1 pop hit just before it went #1 on the country chart. The week it did go #1 C&W, it ceded the #1 spot on the pop chart to (drumroll please) “Hey Jude” by four guys named John, Paul, George, and Ringo.

  5. I have a love/hate relationship with Nickel Creek (and EVERYthing else Chris Thile is a part of), but I love them most when they keep it simple. “Lighthouse’s Tale,” “When You Come Back Down,” and “Green and Gray” are my favorites from them.

  6. Always liked Harper Valley but didn’t know til many years after it was a hit that Tom T. Hall wrote it. I bought another Tom T song, “That’s How I Got to Memphis” after hearing Jeff Daniels sing it on a re-run of the last episode of The Newsroom.

  7. Favorite
    Jeannie C Riley – “Good Morning Country Rain”
    George Jones – “When The Grass Grows Over Me”
    Laura Bell Bundy – “Giddy On Up”
    Ray Price – “City Lights”

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