Every #1 Country Single of the Eighties: Ricky Skaggs, “Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown”

“Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown”

Ricky Skaggs

Written by Roy Marcum and Ray Pennington


#1 (1 week)

February 18, 1984

Ricky Skaggs had a long career before his solo stardom, and he effectively weds his past and his present with his revival of “Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown.”

The song had originally been popularized by the Stanley Brothers, and Skaggs first recorded it in 1971, when he was part of a bluegrass duo with fellow Hall of Famer Keith Whitley.  Skaggs’ solo version captures his musical journey between working with Whitley and becoming a country music star, leaning heavily on the stylistic influence of his former band leader, Emmylou Harris.

Skaggs is a bit of a sad sack on this one, as he plays the cuckold husband reduced to begging his wife to do her cheating in another town to save him face with his friends. It’s the kind of song you’d expect from one of country music’s victim queens, and Skaggs plays the pathetic part well, carrying himself with just enough dignity to keep from fully humiliating himself.

He’ll play the louse the next time around, as he tops the chart again with a Mel Tillis cover.

“Don’t Cheat in Our Hometown” gets a B+.  

Every No. 1 Single of the Eighties

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  1. I really love Ricky’s blend of country and bluegrass and thought it was phenomenal sound that stood out. Clean production, great vocals and excellent musicianship. Subjective I know but I would have a hard time not rating his songs from this period less than B+. Just great country music.

  2. Skaggs still sounds great even when singing from a particularly humiliating point of view. This song rivals Jim Reeves’ “He’ll Have to Go” as the greatest cuckold songs in country history, no?

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