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
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I actually kind of like “Just A Kiss” and don’t mind it’s inclusion on the list just based on commercial impact alone, as besides “Need You Now” it was Lady A’s biggest hit ever and I do like the song somewhat.
For the Good Times should easily be Top 25. Brand New Man is okay, although I think this is too high. Tequila has no business on a top 1000 list.
That particular Billy Currington song has always been one of my favorites from him, but in no way is it good enough to be just one spot below anything Ray Price ever recorded.
I suppose we should be thankful “Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off” was likely written after Tracy Byrd’s commercial peak. Maybe that was a low blow, but…yeah. Still salty about that. I am with Kevin and Zack in re: “Brokenheartsville” and “The Impossible.”
The live version of “Whiskey River” has always been a favorite, but maybe it shouldn’t be this high. There’s a similar but faster version on the second disc of Willie and Family Live that’s even better.
I largely agree with the panel’s comments. Ray Price had a mini-renaissance in the 1970s with “For the Good times”, “I Won’t Mention It Again” and “I’d Rather be Sorry”. Personally, I think “I’d rather Be Sorry” is the best of the three songs and I would have both it and “For the Good Times’ somewhere in the top 100.
“Whiskey River” was a cover of Johnny Bush’s 1972 hit (#14 Billboard/#5 Record World/#6 Cash Box) and I think the Bush original belongs somewhere on this listing – probably around 300.
Re. “For The Good Times”: What’s bizarre is that the industry itself seemed to react rather hypocritically to Ray for going for a “countrypolitan” crossover sound on this singular record after years of doing vintage honky-tonk, at a time when so many others in Nashville were beginning to do the same thing. In any case, the gambit worked, because it narrowly missed going into the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100, peaking at #11 on January 2, 1971.
I agree on Ray Price’s “For the Good Times”. I remember my mother singing other RP songs around the house like “Heartaches By the Number” and “Make the World Go Away” (she also liked Jim Reeves and Eddy Arnold.)
I like “I Got a Feeling”. It’s one of 4 Billy C songs I ever listen to and by far “People Are Crazy” is my most frequently played.
I also like Tom T’s “Old Dogs …” and Zac & AJ’s “As She’s Walking Away”
Re Brooks & Dunn, “How Long Gone” is my favorite. I made up a “Gone Country Songs” playlist, songs with “Gone” in the title, 10 years ago.
Ray had some pretty bland countrypolitan stuff before “For The Good Times” came around. His output starting around 1967 often sounded like he was using string arrangements for the sake of using string arrangements. With “For The Good Times” the string arrangements complemented, rather than overwhelmed the material. Ray received plenty of criticism for songs like “Danny Boy” and “Sweetheart of the Year” both of which would have been better without the string arrangements.
For about four years (1970-1974) Ray found the winning formula in balancing strings and country arrangements
Don’t get me wrong, I love Ray Price, but even during the 1980s he’d occasionally revert back to strings for strings sake. Listen to THE HEART OF COUNTRY MUSIC, Ray’s two record set from 1986 on Step One Records, In the hands of a lesser vocalist this album would be a serious snooze-fest. Even in Ray’s hands the album is sometimes somnambulant. None of Ray’s efforts were terrible (Ray could sing the phone book and be listenable) but there were definite peaks and valleys
Akso. Honestly, with the exception of “I Won’t Mention It Again,” I am generally not a fan of Ray Price’s countrypolitan period. I far prefer his early honky-tonk stuff.
I can appreciate “For the Good Times” from a lyrical standpoint though.
“For the Good Times” is a top 100 song.
Willie’s song is too high.
‘Brand New Man” is about right
“”Just A Kiss” is a too high but I do like the song.
I agree with most others here that “For The Good Times” should be higher, for me, at least somewhere in the top 100. How bizarre it is to see it just one spot ahead of anything by Billy friggin’ Currington. While I generally like Ray Price’s hard core honky tonk stuff from the 50’s and early 60’s the most, I do also enjoy some of the songs from his smoother, “crooner” phase from the 70’s like this one and “I Won’t Mention It Again.”
Unlike “Boot Scootin’ Boogie,” I can never get tired of “Brand New Man” no matter how many times I hear it. It still sounds just as fresh and energetic today as it did in 1991, and it still never fails to get me pumped and happy whenever I hear it. Easily, one of the best feel good country songs from the 90’s! “Lost And Found” is right up there for me, as well. Their entire first album is a classic, imo.
“Sold” is one novelty song I’ll never get tired of hearing, and it’s still just as fun and enjoyable today. My step dad and I always got a kick out of the video, as well, especially with the dance battle near the end with the Amish guys, lol. It’s a bit too high, perhaps, but there’s no doubt this is one 90’s ditty that does deserve a spot here.
As I said in another thread, I do enjoy Joe Nichols’ voice and overall style in general, but I’ve always found him a bit inconsistent material wise. I did like “Tequila” the first few times I heard it, but I grew sour on it shortly thanks to radio overplaying it and not being a fan of the video. I would’ve much rather seen “I’ll Wait For You,” which also came off that same album. That and “Broknheartsville” are honestly the only singles of his I’d include here.
I also liked “I Got A Feelin'” the first few times before radio also killed that one for me. I liked most of Billy’s first album overall, but now I find him to be one of the most overrated artists who came out in the last 20 years (at least on this list), and another who never quite lived up to the promise of his earlier music. “Walk A Little Straighter” is honestly the only single of his I’d personally include on the list.
“Just A Kiss” and “Need You Now” are pretty much the only Lady A songs I’d include. At least back then their music was inoffensive AC country at best, if a bit bland and boring at times. Otherwise, I agree with the general consensus on this site that they are easily one of the most overrated artists from the past decade or so. And yeah, their latest song does indeed suck (even if it weren’t for the whole Lady A controversy).
“As She’s Walking Away” is probably one of the only ZBB songs besides Colder Weather that I can still tolerate today that radio hasn’t quite killed for me. I remember thinking how sad it was that it was the only way Alan could get played on the radio anymore, though. They would continue to play the fire out of this one, but wouldn’t touch “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore” or “You Go Your Way” with a ten foot pole, which kind of made me dislike this song for a while, but I’ve since come around to liking it again.