Zack joins the conversation as we work our way through the next ten entries of this purgatory of a list.
Vince Gill, “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away”
#1 | 1992
JK: A single I generally remember fondly but have always found too polite whenever I revisit it. There’s no urgency to this request: It’s a suggestion of what someone might do, if it isn’t too much of an imposition. I’d cut this for “Liza Jane,” assuming that isn’t yet to come. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: I remember this as much for the all star music video as a I do for the song itself. Still, it is one of Gill’s rare uptempo hits that manages to be on par with some of his ballads. Too High
ZK: Gill’s uptempo hits aren’t among my favorites of his, but this is smooth as butter. Still, in the greater examination of this overall list, it’s Too High.
Jason Aldean, “Take a Little Ride”
#5 | 2012
KJC: How many songs can one artist produce about the same idea? It’s like he has a “let’s go for a ride and get it on” two song minimum per album. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: I cannot get my head around how Sirius determined that any one of these nearly identical Aldean singles is better than another. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: Is this the song where they ride on a tractor? I only ask since these sort of songs make up, you know, like, over half of his discography. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Conway Twitty, “There’s a Honky Tonk Angel (Who’ll Take Me Back In)”
#1 | 1974
JK: Kevin’s exactly right with his suggestion for which Twitty hit should replace this one, which is among the least charming or smooth entries in his catalogue. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: This was better in my memory than it was listening to it again. They’ve done well by Conway with his twelve entries. I’d swap this one out for “I See the Want to In Your Eyes” from the same year. So Wrong (This Song)
ZK: I don’t typically like bitterness just for the sake of, and here, it sounds like he couldn’t be happier to move on anyway, so what’s the point of this? I’m not a huge Twitty fan, personally, but he still deserves his fair representation here. Just, you know, not with this. So Wrong (This Song)
Joe Diffie, “Prop Me Up Beside the Jukebox (If I Die)”
#3 | 1993
KJC: This is no fun to write about, for obvious reasons. I liked his early novelty records the best – this one and “John Deere Green.” They should’ve emphasized his ballads instead, but this one’s a keeper. Too High
JK: Well, the timing on this is just heinous. Of Diffie’s ditties, this has always been my favorite: It recasts Weekend at Bernie’s in a honky-tonk, and Diffie’s performance makes it clear he’s in on the joke. About Right
ZK: I agree it’s no fun to write about, but this, to me, is the quintessential Diffie song. A performer who was equally adept at being “Joe Ditty” and a balladeer akin to George Jones, this song somehow captures both sides to him. Too Low
Johnny Cash, “Man in Black”
#3 | 1973
JK: Iconic, of course, and ranked correctly in relation to the many entries he still has ahead. About Right
KJC: One of his finest moments as a singer and a songwriter, and a great primary source for understanding why he’s beloved across the political spectrum. About Right
ZK: Sadly, not Cash’s flashiest hit, but his most important one. Too Low
Kenny Chesney with Grace Potter, “You and Tequila”
#3 | 2011
KJC: I’m happy they made a hit out of what was once just a Deana Carter album cut. But this is way Too High.
JK: When we wrote about “Anything But Mine,” I mentioned that I own just three Chesney singles. This is one of them, though I certainly wouldn’t have it ranked here. Too High
ZK: One of Chesney’s best, for sure, but ranking it above “Anything But Mine”? I’d disagree, though if it’s far from the most controversial element about this list. About Right
Alan Jackson, “It Must Be Love”
#1 | 2000
JK: I remain salty about the lack of Don Williams on this list. While this isn’t as egregious as including Brennen Leigh’s Lefty Frizzell cover instead of the original recipe, it’s still obviously the wrong choice… And the original still wouldn’t be one of my choices to represent Williams. So Wrong (This Song)
KJC: It took Alan Jackson doing a Don Williams cover for me to realize how much Don Williams influenced Alan Jackson. But why include the cover over the original? So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: Cover albums used to be a great way of connecting country music’s past with its present, and I’d argue Alan Jackson’s Under the Influence album is a great nod to that tradition. As for a list like this, however, Don Williams’ original take on this should be here, instead. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Jake Owen, “Anywhere With You”
#7 | 2013
KJC: Good singer. Useless song. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: It isn’t like this was a huge, career-defining hit or one that gets a ton of recurrent play, so to choose this over any of the countless Charley Pride hits that are missing? I don’t get it. But what do I know? I’d argue that the best thing Owen has ever done was his verse and low harmonies on the cover of “Life in a Northern Town” he cut with Sugarland and Little Big Town. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: I like Jake Owen and think he’s a more charismatic performer than he gets credit for, but to answer the song’s basic question of, “where do you want to go?,” my answer is, “away.” So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Waylon Jennings, “The Wurlitzer Prize (I Don’t Want to Get Over You)”
#1 | 1977
JK: In terms of including a single that the artist themselves hated, this isn’t as bad a choice as Mark Chesnutt’s Aerosmith cover. But, in the overall arc of Jennings’ career, I’d argue that this is still much Too High.
KJC: Norah Jones does a transcendent version of this song. I like the Jennings original quite a bit more than Jennings did – “Remind that if I ever have to put out a single again, I have to sing the son of a bitch every day of my life,” he lamented afterwards. But I wouldn’t rank this nearly as high as Sirius does. Too High
ZK: Jennings’ outlaw reputation is duly noted and appreciated in country music, but it’s his subtler records that show him at his best. Too Low
Tracy Byrd, “I’m From the Country”
#3 | 1998
KJC: Oh dear God, why? So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
JK: What I said before, more or less: A marginal singer of too much terrible material. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
ZK: Stupid catchy, yes, but stupid nonetheless. So Wrong (Doesn’t Belong)
Re. “Man In Black”: I believe this came out in 1971, not 1973.
Re. “Take A Little Ride”: Needless to say, Aldean (one of those guys I would call Bromeisters) doesn’t have a one-track mind, but rather a one-dirt-road mind (LOL).
Prop Me Up is way low. Used to have 20 people loudly singing this off key at work. Maybe it’s just me, but singalong songs are the bomb. Especially with an AH haaaaaaaa! or two or three.
I’ve always enjoyed the Vince Gill song along with the all-star cast video, but there’s no way I’d rank it above “When I Call Your Name.” Still glad to see this song on here, though. Also wouldn’t mind seeing “Liza Jane,” though I was hoping by some miracle that “Take Your Memory With You” would also make it.
The Joe Diffie song is probably my favorite of his novelty tunes. I remember enjoying the video when it first came out, and it was a favorite of my late step dad’s, so it’ll always be special to me. Plus, it’s cleverly written, and it still makes me chuckle today. Although, I’ve always slightly preferred Diffie’s ballad side, I still find some of his novelties to be enjoyable today, since he could actually pull them off very well. Sigh….still can’t believe he’s gone.
Sigh…and I see Tracy Byrd continues to represented here by the weakest of his singles. Smh.
Agree that Don Williams’ version of “It Must Be Love” should be here instead if that song was to be included. Though I wouldn’t mind seeing “Pop A Top” if anything else off of Under The Influence were to make an appearance.
Kenny Chesney may be overrepresented here, but I’m glad to at least see some of his better post Greatest Hits singles being included. I really enjoy both “You And Tequila” and “Anything But Mine.” Plus, it was great to see Matraca Berg and Deana Carter get another hit with the former.
Actually I would regard “The Ballad of Ira Hayes” as Cash’s most important single and the album it came from (Bitter Tears) as one of the two or three most important albums of his career. That said, the Cash entry bellows but is slightly too high.
I agree with JK that “Don’t Let Our Love Start Slippin’ Away” doesn’t belong – it’s not bad but its nothing special
I really liked Alan Jackson, but I was an even bigger Don Williams fan dating back to his days with the Pozo Seco Singers. His version of “It Must be Love’ should be on this list
I loved the Vince Gill song back in the day. It was one of my first favorites of his, but it hasn’t stuck with me in the last few years as one of my favorites.
I’m nervous to admit it, but I prefer Jackson’s cover of “It Must Be Love” over William’s version. I feel like it has more muscle to it while staying pure.
I admit that I was never a big Johnny Cash fan but I can’t argue against the inclusion of “Man in Black”.
I don’t dislike Joe Diffie’s Jukebox song but I still prefer “If the Devil Danced in Empty Pockets”
Frankly, only one song Jake Owen has ever released as a single belongs anywhere near this list, and it is “Startin’ With Me.”
Oh, look, another Tracy Byrd novelty song. How special. I remember at one point during his heyday, Byrd said that he periodically suffered what he referred to as a “Hag attack,” which was a near-irresistible urge to throw away his set list and sing Merle Haggard songs all night long. I would have paid good money to see him succumb to that, live or on record.
Speaking of cover songs, Jackson’s IMBL was pretty good, but I would have preferred to see his cover of “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” or Mel McDaniel’s “Right in the Palm of Your Hand” released as a single than that one.
Joe Diffie’s song is a couple hundred spots too low. But I say that for partly personal reasons. I like the song, but it also was oddly, unexplainably therapeutic at a time in my teens when I was just beginning to discover that, yes, everyone does eventually die.
I’m from the Country is also a little too low, IMO. It’s one of Tracy’s best