“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)”
Written by Murry Kellum and Dan Mitchell
#1 (1 week)
December 8, 1984
For their latest No. 1 hit, Alabama embraces an instrument that they’ve used sparingly over the years.
Hell, they use it sparingly here, on a song that’s entire lyric is built around the importance of having “a fiddle in the band.” But that works with the narrative instead of against it, as the band in the song is being told that they’re not ready to play in Texas because that fiddle isn’t in the mix.
I have to give kudos to Randy Owen for navigating this mouthful of words in the chorus: “So rosin up that bow for ‘Faded Love’ and let’s all dance.” His enunciation is flawless there. And the band itself does a decent job at building up the excitement for the inevitable fiddle breakdown, which doesn’t break any new ground but is lovely to listen to.
Sure, it revisits the formula of “Tennessee River” and “Mountain Music,” but that was a darn good formula, wasn’t it? It’s surprising that they didn’t go back to that well as often as they could have.
“If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” gets a B+.
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