A Country Music Conversation: Introduction and Index
Previous Entry: Day 23: “Walking Away a Winner” to “Whiskey Lullaby”
Day 24 features tracks from Aaron Tippin, Sammy Kershaw, Donna Fargo, Kenny Rogers (with Dolly Parton), and Patty Loveless (with George Jones).
“Whole Lotta Love On the Line”
Written by Donny Kees and Aaron Tippin
Longtime readers know exactly what I’m going to say about this song. It’s all about the guitar hook that opens the track and loops throughout. He could’ve sung the Alphabet Song over it and I still would’ve played the hell out of it, but the lyrics do a great hook justice.
Other Favorites: “I Got it Honest,” “I Wouldn’t Have it Any Other Way,” “My Blue Angel”
Written by Larry Bastian and Dewayne Blackwell
Another example of something that seems obvious once you hear it, but for whatever reason, nobody ever put down on paper before. Yard sales have a connection to loneliness that is rarely explored, and it couldn’t be put more succinctly – or sadly – than, “They’re sorting through what’s left of you and me.”
Other Favorites: “Third Rate Romance,” “Queen of My Double Wide Trailer,” “Cadillac Style”
“You Can’t Be a Beacon If Your Light Don’t Shine”
Written by Marty Cooper
Preaching to the choir with a twist. Fargo makes the case that those who claim salvation as their own have a duty to lift others up, not look down upon them. A timeless and timely message.
Other Favorites: “Superwoman,” “That Was Yesterday,” “We Can Do Better in America”
“You Can’t Make Old Friends” (with Dolly Parton)
Written by Ryan Hanna King, Don Schlitz, and Caitlyn Smith
The best written song about friendship that I have ever heard, delivered flawlessly by two artists whose friendship is documented on records dating back to 1983. Whether it’s death or just drifting apart over time, old friends simply can’t be replaced.
Other Favorites: “Lucille,” “The Gambler,” “If You Want to Find Love”
“You Don’t Seem to Miss Me” (with George Jones)
Written by Jim Lauderdale
The greatest traditionalist singers from two different generations come together on one record, and the results are extraordinary. The brilliance of Patty Loveless records from this period was how she used the essential elements of traditionalism in a progressive way, creating a new sound that borrowed from rock with every single note still being pure country. This track approaches headbanger territory in the chorus – those drums! – but remains pure hillbilly heaven from start to finish.
Other Favorites: “Here I am,” “You Can Feel Bad,” “The Night’s Too Long”
Sammy Kershaw – Dixie Chicks? Don’t understand.
I absolutely love Donna Fargo and there are so many album cuts I could list but I’ll stay with singles – Happiest Girl In The Whole USA, Superman, You Were Always There, You Can’t Be a Beacon, and It Do Feel Good
Kenny Rogers is my all-time favorite male country singer. He’s probably famous for his story songs but I prefer his ballads more.
Sweet Music Man, Daytime Friends, Every Time Two Fools Collide, She Believes In Me, You Decorated My Life, Don’t Fall In Love With a Dreamer, Love The World Away, Lady, What Are We Doin’ In Love, I Don’t Need You, Through The Years, Love Will Turn You Around, A Love Song, We’ve Got Tonight, Islands In the Stream, Buried Treasure, Crazy, Morning Desire, Twenty Years Ago, Make No Mistake She’s Mine, and I Prefer the Moonlight
I’ll just tackle my favorite Patty Loveless songs today. They are:
Here I Am (but you can’t go wrong picking almost any of the songs from When Fallen Angels Fly)
The Night’s Too Long
Nothin’ but the Wheel
You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive
Sammy Kershaw – Yard Sale was probably my favorite Sammy Kershaw for the longest time. That was until I heard Matches.
For Kershaw, I like your “Yard Sale” and Richard’s “Matches”. I’ll add his duet with Lorrie Morgan, “Maybe Not Tonight”.
For Patty Loveless: “Lonely Too Long”, “Blame It on Your Heart”, “How Can I Help You Say Goodbye”, “You Can Feel Bad” and “That’s The Kind of Mood I’m In”
For Kenny Rogers – I’ll just add a Don Schlitz song, “The Greatest”. Love the ending.
Patty: “Last Thing On My Mind”; “Chains”; “Blue Side Of Town”; “On Down The Line”. I totally agree that she used the traditional elements of country music in a progressive way; and thankfully she’s not alone among the womenfolk in doing so.
Kenny Rogers: With all the hits of his that have been mentioned, I thought I should go into some of his lesser known ones–“All My Life”; “Share Your Love With Me” (with Gladys Knight and the Pips on backing vocals); “What About Me?” (with Kim Carnes and James Ingram).
But I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention “Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)”, his first hit of any kind (with the First Edition), from 1968; and, the following year in 1969, “Ruby (Don’t Take Your Love To Town)”–which, strangely, wasn’t that big a hit on the country chart (only #39), but huge on the pop chart (#6).
Patty Loveless’ run in the 90s and then with Mountain Soul is unparalleled to me. I’m surprised no one has mentioned her version of “You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive” yet. Other favorites of mine are “That’s Exactly What I Mean,” “Nothin’ Like the Lonely,” and “Here I Am.”
Jason’s point is one I would like to affirm. There have been few country vocalists over the past several decades who can match Patty Loveless. Country radio did not serve its audience well when her music disappeared from the airwaves. Her version of You’ll Never Leave Harlan Alive is stunning. As is anything she sings. Wonderful lady!