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OK. Somebody asked for this on another thread. What are your favorite country songs (if any)? I think we should use songs rather than albums because country is a singles dominated medium. Here are mine – One from each artist. Roughly chronological.
Hank Williams Sr. – “I Can’t Help It If I’m Still In Love With You”
Bill Monroe – “Blue Moon Of Kentucky”
Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys – “Take Me Back To Tulsa”
Patsy Cline – “Crazy”
Johnny Cash – “Home Of The Blues”
Osborne Brothers – “Rocky Top”
The Country Gentleman – “Fox On The Run”
George Jones – “Just A Girl I Used To Know”
Loretta Lynn – “Coal Miner’s Daughter”
Lefty Frizzell – “Saginaw, Michigan”
Charley Pride – “Is Anybody Goin’ To San Antone”
Merle Haggard – “Okie From Muskogee” (He was being ironic, I think).
Tom T. Hall (genuflect) – “I Hope It Rains At My Funeral”
Glen Campbell – “Wichita Lineman”
Byrds – “Hickory Wind”
Flying Burrito Brothers – “Sin City”
Gram Parsons – “$1,000 Dollar Wedding”
Kris Kristofferson – “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down”
Jeanie C. Riley – “Harper Valley P.T.A.”
Willie Nelson – “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain” or “Me And Paul” (tie)
Waylon Jennings – “Lukenbach, Texas”
David Allen Coe – “You Never Even Call Me By My Name”
Guy Clark – “L.A. Freeway”
Townes Van Zandt – “Poncho And Lefty”
Dolly Parton – “Jolene”
Dwight Yoakam – “Guitars, Cadillacs”
Steve Earle – “Guitar Town”
Lyle Lovett – “God Will”
Lucinda Williams – “Big Red Sun Blues”
Uncle Tupelo – “Whiskey Bottle”
Kelly Willis – “Hidden Things”
Neko Case – “Thrice All American”
Laura Cantrell – “Not The Tremblin’ Kind”
Avett Brothers – “Die, Die, Die”
There are a ton more, but this is just off the top of my head….
I'll get to this on Friday. I've never bought the idea that Merle Haggard was being ironic on that song... I'm a fan of Hag though.
Charlie Poole – Ther’ll come a time (1920’s)
Sam McGee – Railroad Blues (1928)
Jimmie Rodgers – Gambling barroom blues (1929)
Harry Mc Clintock – Big Rock Candy mountain (193?)
Carter Family - Can the circle be unbroken ? (1935)
Woody Guthrie – Blowin’ Down This Road (1940)
Bob wills – San Antonio rose (1940)
Roy Acuff – Wreck On The Highway (1942)
Hank williams – Move It On Over (1947)
Joan Baez – East Virginia (1960)
Doc & Merle Watson – My Rough and Rowdy Ways (1967)
Red Sovine – Phantom 309 (1967)
Johnny Cash – Folsom Prison Blues live at Folsom (1968)
Merle Haggard – Oakie from Muskogee (1968) (yes I think he’s ironic, but I'll come back on this subject)
Bob Dylan – Tell Me That It Isn’t True (1969)
Townes Van Zandt - Poncho & Lefty (1972)
Gram Parsons – The New soft shoe (1973)
Ed Bruce – Mama Don’t Let Your babies Grow up To Be Cowboys (1975)
Terry Allen – Wolfman of del Rio (1979)
Alabama – Dixie Land Delight (guilty pleasure) (1983)
Dan Fogelberg – Sutter’s Mill (1985)
Asleep At The Wheel – Chattanooga Choo Choo (1988)
Bad Livers – Precious Times (1992)
The Jayhawks – Two Angels (1993)
Steve Earle –jerusalem (2001)
Great list. There are a few I haven't heard that I need to track down now. Thanks.
I forgot to mention John Hartford. His album Aereo-Plain is truly a lost classic. It's out of print, but you can get a download on Napster.
I love the Song "Back in the Goodle Days." There is a good review of the album here:
Hoo boy. Here's a start, limiting myself to one song per artist (and cheating in a few cases):
Junior Brown, “Venom Wearin’ Denim”
Glen Campbell, “Wichita Lineman”
The Carter Family, “No Depression”
Johnny Cash, “Folsom Prison Blues”
Patsy Cline, “Walkin’ After Midnight”
Merle Haggard, “Okie from Muskogee”
Ray Wylie Hubbard, “Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother”
Waylon Jennings, “Luckenbach, Texas”
Robert Earl Keen, “This Old Porch”
Lyle Lovett, “If I Had a Boat”
Roger Miller, “King of the Road”
Willie Nelson, “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other”
Dolly Parton, “Jolene”
Marty Robbins, “El Paso”
Jimmie Rodgers, “Blue Yodel” (any)
Son Volt, “Tear-Stained Eye”
Jerry Jeff Walker, “Sangria Wine”
Hank Williams, “Move It On Over”
Lucinda Williams, “Car Wheels on a Gravel Road”
Bob Wills, “Bubbles in My Beer”
Tammy Wynette, “D-I-V-O-R-C-E”
Dwight Yoakam, “Guitars, Cadillacs”
I know I'm leaving out a lot...
Fell in Love With a Girl - White Stripes
For the moment, everybody picked "Okie from Muskogee"
I've looked up on three different sources (an encyclopedia of country, an ancyclopedia of rock in Frenchh, and AMG), and they all say he was not ironic at all when he sang the song
but the song is so good it doesn't really matter now those times are gone
Anyway if you sing that one now, it is ironic
The books also say some conservative politicians asked him for support and he turned them down
Apart from the hilarious lyrics themselves, good evidence that "Okie From Muskogee" was at least partly ironic comes from the story that song actually grew out of a joke. When the band drove past the "Muskogee" city limit sign on the highway, one of them joked "I bet they don't smoke marajuana in Muskogee," which shortly turned into a joking song on the bus and, before long, a mega hit and conservative anthem.
Quick search for sources: http://historymatters.gmu.edu/mse/songs/question1.html
NPR interview with famous country music historian Bill C. Malone, here: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4125687
Thank you Loophole ! Very interesting indeed, especially the Malone interview about country and politics.
It is true that when you hear the song first, you think it’s a joke, but some people took it seriously, and Merle did nothing to stop them, because as Malone says, he had found to his surprise a big "constituency" of people that acclaimed and bought the record; so, as always, the truth is more compicated than we thought...
For those who don’t know the song, you can find the lyrics here
Another good article about “Okie”, this time on AMG
And by the way, it makes me think of another song I forgot to include
Mike Cross- Elma Turl
One of the most hilarious songs I’ve ever heard, and in particulat the spoken intro by Mike on the live version
The Byrds - "Hickory wind", "You ain't going nowhere"
Lucinda Williams - "Jackson"
Fountains of Wayne - "Hung up on you"
I love "Wichita lineman" (it's one of my favourite songs ever), but is it right to tag it country-music ?
Talkin' about C&W irony, was the Charlie Daniels Band being ironic when they did "A few more rednecks"??? I've always wondered ...
One favourite with me is Gram Parsons, Streets of Baltimore
Yes Dumbangel, Wichita Lineman is country music, it's a form of country pop tagged as Countrypolitan, a commercially-oriented form of country made in Nashville from the 50's on, in wich honky tonk traditional instruments were left behind and pop orchestrations brought in.
The main producer was Chet Atkins.
By the way, did you know that Glenn Campbell toured with the Beach Boys after Brian Wilson's breakdown and retirement to the road ? they even asked him to become their bassist, but he refused for financial reasons...
So he's both pop and country, but this song being recorded in Nashville belongs to the country genre
on the same album ther's a cover of Otis Redding and even of Jacques Brel (the great Belgian Frenchspeaking singer)
I knew that Glen Campbell replace Brian Wilson during tour, that's why I've always seen him as the 7th Beach Boys (Bruce Johnson as the 6th) and not as a country artist. When I listen to "wichita lineman", I hear some great sophisticated pop in a mixture of Bacharach/BeachBoys/Brill-Building style. The song was written by Jimmy Webb, who has nothing to do with country-music.
I accept your argumentation, Nicolas, but that's just my point of vue.
I disagree that country is a singles-dominated medium, but anyway; here are some really good country songs from the past 10 years:
"You Don't Seem To Miss Me" - Patty Loveless w/ George Jones
"Please Remember Me" - Tim McGraw
"Break Down Here" - Julie Roberts
"Best I Ever Had" - Gary Allan
"Strawberry Wine" - Deana Carter
"Before He Cheats" - Carrie Underwood
"Songs About Rain" - Gary Allan
"Kerosene" - Miranda Lambert
About Glen Campbell, he came and went between country and pop, he's a borderline artist I would say, but his songs reached more often the country charts than the pop charts, so that's why he's tagged as country by AMG.
but in terms of music and audience he was a mix of country and pop, so pop-country (but not bad pop country) suits him pretty well
Tim McGraw - Can't Tell Me Nothin'
Tim McGraw - Do You Want Fries With That
Tim McGraw - Don't Mention Memphis
Tim McGraw - Grown Men Don't Cry
Tim McGraw - I Didn't Ask And She Didn't Say
Tim McGraw - I've Got Friends That Do
Tim McGraw - Just To See You Smile
Tim McGraw - Kill Yourself
Tim McGraw - Live Like You Were Dying
Tim McGraw - Please Remember Me
Tim McGraw - Where The Green Grass Grows
I'm serious too, like I mentioned before.
Other country songs..
Johnny Cash - A Boy Named Sue
Johnny Cash - Folsom Prison Blues
Johnny Cash - One Piece At A Time
Loretta Lynn - Coal Miner's Daughter
Loretta Lynn - Family Tree
Gram Parsons - Return Of The Grievous Angel
Gram Parsons - She
Dolly Parton - Jolene (Is this really country though?)
Can't think of a whole lot more right now.
Alabama- Mountain Music
Byrds- You Ain't Going Nowhere
Dixie Chicks- Sin Wagon
Dixie Chicks- Ready To Run
Dolly Parton- Jolene
Alan Jackson- Tall Tall Trees
Jayhawks- Two Angels
Jayhawks- Will I Be Married
Jayhawks- Miss Williams Guitar
Jeffrey Foucault- Ghost Repeater
John Prine- Sam Stone
John Prine and Iris Dement- In Spite of Ourselves
Johnny Cash- I See a Darkness
Johnny Cash- Folsom Prison Blues
Johnny Cash- Give My Love to Rose
Jonathan Richman- Since She Started To Ride
Jonathan Richman- You're Crazy For Taking the Bus
Lyle Lovett- If I Had a Boat
Lynyrd Skynyrd- Ballad of Curtis Loew
Merle Haggard- Mama Tried
Merle Haggard- The Bottle Let Me Down
Nickel Creek- This Side
Rolling Stones- Dead Flowers
Tim Hardin- Reason To Believe
Waylon Jennings- Lukenbach Texas
Willie Nelson- Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain
Brad Paisley- We Danced
Garth Brooks- Rodeo
Garth Brooks- Friends in Low Places
Tom T. Hall- I Like Beer
Jo Dee Messina- I'm Alright
Martina McBride- Independence Day
Tim McGraw- Where the Green Grass Grows
I really don't think Lucinda Williams, Gram Parsons, The Byrds, The Fountains of Wayne, are country.
Most would put Gram Parsons in the country category (he was a "rock" performed who played "country" music).
The Byrds were usually not country, but they did release one country LP (Sweetheart of the Rodeo) and they performed at the Grand Ole Opry.
Likewise, Lucinda Williams is not exclusively country (by a long stretch), but she has some "country" songs, especially on the "Lucinda Williams" CD from the late 1980s.
I hear what you're saying Loophole, but to me Lucinda Williams is a female Neil Young. She was never played on country radio. Neither was Gram Parsons, or the Byrds--even Sweetheart of the Rodeo. I guess I just hate it when people consider anyone from the south to be country. It also kinda pisses me off when people call the Kings of Leon "southern rock" just because they're from Tennessee. Maybe that's because I'm from the south, and most American rock critics live in New York. I don't think I've ever read a Kings of Leon review that didn't include "southern fried." Anyway, I guess it's not important; it's semantics really. There are just alot of trappings that come with the tag "country."
I agree with Chris : these artists (byrds, lucinda Williams, etc.) are rock artists who played country/ or were influenced by country.
In my own list I added two rock artists : Bob Dylan (because he did one all-country album, Nashville skyline) and The Jayhawks.
Gram Parsons is the most country of the rockers : he is the father of country rock, AMG says "Parsons pioneered the concept of a rock band playing country music, and as a solo artist he moved even further into country music, blending the two genres to the point that they became indistinguishable from each other".
it is true ; after him, especially in the 80's and 90's, genres as alternative country (Lyle lovett, freakwater, Bad livers) was barely distinguishable from alternative country-rock (Uncle tupelo, whiskeytown, jayhawks, lucinda williams)
Country as any genre took from other genres (blues in the beginning, jazz with western swing, then rock withthe bakersfield sound or the outlaws).
I think it depends on your point of view : to people more accostumed to alt rock, Lucinda Williams is country.
I remember when I used to work for a magazine in Paris. It was the beginnig of the 2000s it was an urban magazine, very hip, and they talked about electro or indie acts like vincent Gallo. Once the editor told me "we're gonna make an article about folk" I asked him which artists, and he told me Cat Power !
Anyway, Chris, where are you from in the South ?
Don't hesitate to answer to the "let's talk demographics" thread !
I think the Byrds are from California. I consider Sweetheart of the Radio to be country because of the style of music on that record. If a "rock" band is playing "country," then it is country music--notwithstanding what radio station it gets played on. If you are singing songs by Harlan Howard over a peddle steel, you are doing country whether you like it or not.
Tom Petty is from Florida. I didn't put him in my list of favorite country singers--even though I love the song American Girl.
I guess I am making my own definition. The style of music that I call "country" is that which is derived from Hank Williams Sr. (in spirit) and retains a certain twangy element. In my opinion, what Lucinda did in the 1980's is closer to the spirit of Hank Sr. than anything from Garth Brooks or the other hat acts.
I just don't want you to think that I am so dumb that I put all southern acts are country.
Loophole, I guess you are right when you say that a rock artist can play country.
The only difference is to what you apply the adjective "country" : to the artists or to the songs.
The Byrds are a "rock" band because the major part of what they play is rock and they belong to the rock scene.
Anyway it is mostly a historian or a record shop seller's problem to classify artists; i like to do that, because like a lot of people on this forum I love both music and statistic, and twisted as i am i can't help but wondering : is this guy country, blues, rock...
I'm working on building separate historical compilations of blues, country, rock and r&b and I realize how it is difficult to classify some artists
generally, unless i completely disagree with them, I use AMG's genres classification, which is quite good.
A lot of people (most of all the musicians themselves) criticize this classification, but it is useful for scientific study. that's what they do in art history, why not doing it for rock ?
When you make a rock and roll list none of those artists sound the same so why does a country list have to be an exact sound?
Good point, john
I guess the answer coul be that country (like blues, and unlike rock) is a traditional music,so people will be more touchy about certain artists being or not being country.
i don't like that, but as a blues lover, I'm a subscriber to a blues mag and there are (bad) writers and readers always wondering if this artist or that artistis (or isn't ) blues..
What do we care ?
Rock is a fusion genre so it is more eclectic
country is about tradition
How do you classify modern "country" artists played on American "country" radio (Shania, Faith, etc.) whose music bears little resemblance to the traditional country sound and who list as their primary musical influences acts like Billy Joel, the Carpenters, and the Eagles?
These artists are probably the reason that alt-country (rock or country?) exists. I think so-called "alt-country" is more "country" than what is played on country radio and stocked in the "country" section of record shops.
I guess it's fun to classify, but the exercise is fraught with problems.
One of my favorite musical genre questions is this: What is "alternative"? What is it an "alternative" to? How do we know whether something is "alternative" or just plain rock? Does the definition change over time? Are the following bands "alternative"?: Velvet Underground, Stooges, Iggy Pop, Big Star, Patti Smith, Television, Roxy Music, Sex Pistols, Clash, Talking Heads, Blondie, Elvis Costello, R.E.M., U2, Replacements, Hoodoo Gurus, Beck, Pixies, Nirvanna, Beastie Boys, Radiohead. I have seen them all described as such (more so in the 1980s than now), but to me they are just part of the continuum of rock music. Somehow we all know that Pavement is "alternative" and that "Guns'n'Roses" is not. But where and how do we draw the line? Just asking...
Genres are broad. That's why there are sub-genres and sub-sub-genres etc... Every genre is eclectic and that's why we need sub-genres. Just like Rascal Flatts sounds nothing like Hank Williams, Panic at the Disco sounds nothing like Elvis Presley. But, both are still country and rock and roll respectively.
Loophole, I think I probably went off on a tangent when I started talking about the KOL being called southern rock just because they're from TN. I don't think that you grouped southern artists as country at all. Judging by your list, you seem to have a lot of respect for the genre. I guess what kind of struck me was that asking the question "What is your favorite country song" is somehow different from asking "What is your favorite song?" And to me, songs like "Return of the Grievous Angel" and "To Live is to Fly" stand among the best songs ever written, in any genre. If I were to name my favorite country songs, I wouldn't include them. I would be trying to come up with good stuff by Clint Black or something. I guess that's why I draw the distinction. But I see where you're coming from Loophole. It seems that you consider the more noncommercial "alt-country" acts to be the true "country" acts of today.
And I will post in the demographics thread.
Loophole, your question about the definition of "alternative" reminded me of something that I'd like to tell everyone about....
For those of you who haven't heard of it, here in Canada we have a radio show that's syndicated across the country; it's called the Ongoing History of New Music. It's a one-hour show about everything related to rock music - hosted by one guy, Alan Cross, and he covers everything from alternative, punk, electronica, metal.... you name it. He's done entire shows about b-sides, musical gadgets, rock semantics, bootlegs, collectible records, and tons of other stuff. A very interesting listen.
I highly recommend everyone checking out the site, specifically, the transcripts and past shows links. You can listen to past shows or subscribe to the podcast. If you guys are the big music geeks I think you are, I venture to say that you'll probably enjoy the show. A lot.
I learned a lot from that show back in the day. I kinda stopped listening because it's so devoted to radio rock. I mean, the guy didn't even give Radiohead a spot on his list of the top 25 alternative artists of all time.
Yeah, I kinda figured you'd heard it, jonmarck. After all, the show is recorded in your town.
Anthony, Thanks for the link. The show looks pretty cool. I wonder if its broadcast in Windsor (across the river from me).
Loophole, you're right about the world "alternative"
I don't like it either, although I use it
I haven't classified my rock artists yet, and I think alternative is not a good word.
after all, if by alternative you mean "issued on an independant label", first rnr recordings in the 50's were alternative...
It seems that everything produced after 1977 and bearing the influence of punk is tagged as "alternative".
(I have to the very geeklike project to tag precisely my entire mp3 collection in windowsmedia, consisting of 14000 files; i'm done with blues and country, classical, folk and gospel, but the most difficult part -rock- is yet to come. The problem is that you can only choose one genre/subgenre per artist, whereas the right way would be to give an artist/album/song several subgenres; the Beatles for instance (even one given song) are rock , for sure, but what about the subgenre ? Pop, pop-rock, psychedelia, British Invasion, Mersey Beat ?
I'd go with British Invasion on that one (but, of course, that would be a very America-oriented view of things).
Great list. I forget to put "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mother” and "Sangria Wine" on mine, but I should have! Those are both great works of genius.
Sub-category: Humorous Texas C&W Anthems.
Thanks a lot Anthony for that radio link - that is kickass. Can't believe they did 4 parts on Nickelback though - what's with that?
Yeah, some of the topics are questionable. But he more than makes up for it with other shows. Some of my favorites:
- 9 Great B-sides
- Building A Record Library
- Modern Day Collectible Records
- Radiohead (but of course)
I was just on the site and I missed a recent show called The Secret Of Album Cover Art. I need to go check that one out.