“So Much Like My Dad”
Written by Bobby Emmons and Chips Moman
Radio & Records
#1 (1 week)
September 18, 1992
An underrated George Strait set produces its only No. 1 hit.
The Road to No. 1
After “The Chill of an Early Fall” topped the Radio & Records chart, Strait missed the top ten for the first time in years with his cover of “Lovesick Blues.” MCA then sent the lead single to his next album, Holding My Own, to radio. “Gone as a Girl Can Get” went top five on both charts. The second and final single from that album returned him to the top of the Radio & Records rankings.
The No. 1
Willie Nelson originally recorded “So Much Like My Dad,” and you can hear traces of that original version in Strait’s cover of it. But he still makes it entirely his own. “Dad songs” are a big part of Strait’s repertoire, driven by his close relationship with both his father and his son. He always delivers them well, softly but without a drop of sap.
I still think the song needs a second verse, but what’s here is still moving. It’s one of his more easily forgotten hits, but it’s very much worth rediscovering.
The Road From No. 1
Holding My Own was cut short by Pure Country, George Strait’s film debut. Its accompanying soundtrack launched him back into the A-list among country album sellers. The lead single, which became one of his signature songs, will top the charts before the end of 1992. We’ll cover it soon.
“So Much Like My Dad” gets a B+.
Every No. 1 Single of the Nineties
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I don’t love this song. It’s kind of boring to me. But I’m grumpy that I can’t add “Gone As A Girl Can Get” to the Number One Singles of the Nineties playlist that I’ve been making as this feature has been moving along.
The simple authentic dialogue and relatability of the conversation between a son and his mother is stunning. If this performance were a movie it would be cinema verite.
The nervous piano sounds like a reluctant doorbell ringing as the narrator stumbles through explaining his unexpected homecoming and awkwardly shares his reasons for being at his momma’s doorstep. He meanders through memories, ultimately settling on recognizing that he is, in fact, in trouble.
Strait finally cuts to the quick when he blurts out “She says she’s gonna’ leave me, momma.” Strait’s vocals plead with hurt, confusion, and disbelief. The swirling steel guitar comes within a sob of crying out, “Can you believe it?”
But he also has a plan. Every desperate man does.
This song is absolutely brilliant. Another verse would diminish the raw focus and stunned intensity of his wrestling with the possibility of his his girl leaving him. He is delusional. The listener knows his momma’ can’t help him even as he can’t help himself from asking her for advice.
This sing is heartbreaking.
This is another one of my personal favorites from George Strait. I love everything about it, from the arrangement, the beautiful melody, the lyrics to Strait’s performance. I get chills every time I hear this one. I guess it just that feeling of sadness that Mom can’t easily make the pain and troubles go away like she did for him as a kid, and that harsh reminder of how much more complicated things are as an adult. Billy Dean’s “Only The Wind” has a similar effect on me. This song also has some of the most gorgeous steel guitar playing I’ve ever heard, and I love the sound of that plucking instrument after he sings “She says she’s gonna leave me Mama.” Not sure what that instrument is, but it’s very unique sounding, and this is one of the only songs I’ve heard it on. Besides the story of the song playing like a movie in my mind, I can also picture couples slow dancing to this one in a dimly lit smoke filled dance hall. Just an absolutely beautiful song!
Unfortunately, this is yet another song I don’t quite remember hearing all that much during 1992, nor do I recall ever hearing it as a recurrent for the rest of the decade. I instantly fell in love with it when I got his Holding My Own album earlier in the 2000’s. That album also seemed to be one of the ones often playing over the speakers whenever we went to one of our favorite barbeque places in the early 00’s.
Holding My Own has actually become one of my favorite Strait albums, and I agree that it’s one of his most underrated. It’s a shame that it got cut short and was eventually overshadowed by Pure Country, since there are quite a few other songs on it that I believe would’ve made great singles. I particularly think the title track, “Trains Make Me Lonesome,” and “Wonderland Of Love” would’ve all sounded great on the radio. I also love “All Of Me Loves All Of You” “You’re Right, I’m Wrong,” and “Faults And All.”
I’m familiar with almost the songs so far in this feature, but I can’t recall ever hearing this song before. On first listen, it’s a good song.