I Caught Her a’Cheatin With My Boots On

I love breakup songs. There is just something about the melancholy overtone and sometimes  “in your face” lyrics that make me……oddly happy.

There is a whole art to the composition of a country breakup song. It is  a beauty all on its own. I’ve always felt the best emotions one can express musically is heartbreak. The cliche is true, “where words leave off, music picks up.” There are just certain emotions you must portray vocally. It adds new levels to the conversation. 

And what better venue then Classic Country music. I’ll never get tired of the southern quips,  cheatin’ ridden, sympathy drinkin’ country ballad. So I decided to compile a list of my favorite Classic Country breakup songs. They are in no particular order and this is only the tip of the iceberg.

5. “Tears Will Be The Chaser for Your Wine” – Wanda Jackson

No country or rock’n’roll list of mine would be complete without an entry by the Queen of Rockabilly, Wanda Jackson. This song came out in 1966 and was after Jackson’s early rock days. The little lady from small town Maud, Oklahoma with the nasty voice sounds especially sweet on this song. She let him down real easy letting him know there will be no place left for him if he walks out, except for a glass of wine.

4. “By The Time I Get to Phoenix” – Glenn Campbell

I first heard this song sung by Reba McEntire (Oklahoman). She did a great job, but the original will always be the best version. This Jimmy Webb (another Oklahoman) penned ballad suits Glen Campbell’s voice like a glove. This song makes me want to go on a long depressing road trip with just my dog and I.

3. “She’s Got You” – Patsy Cline

Growing up I never listened to Patsy Cline. That’s partly due to the fact I grew up in the 90’s and the first decade of the millennium, but I was also told that she was just kind of boring and I wouldn’t like her. That person (not mentioning names) was DEAD WRONG. Cline’s voice is like molasses slowly being poured over a lover’s lament. “She’s Got You” takes the cake for me. It really captures the time and what it meant to fall out of love in the 60’s (I got your class ring, that proved you cared).

2. “Cry! Cry! Cry!” – Johnny Cash

I don’t think this list would be complete with out an entry from the man in black. This was Johnny Cash’s first single of which he wrote and performed. It peaked at number 14 and was released under the legendary Sun label. My favorite line: “Soon your sugar daddies will be gone. You’ll wake up some cold day and find your alone.” That’s below the belt. Take that you gold digger.

1. “I Will Always Love You” – Dolly Parton

This song is one of the best compositions ever written. Although, I think its title often gives the song the wrong idea. This is not a wedding song or country’s version of “Endless Love.” This song was written by Dolly Parton when she knew it was time for her to leave the Portor Wagoner show. He had helped start her career and had done many things for her, but the relationship had become unhealthy and restraining.  It was best for them to split, but one had to take the first step. Dolly took that big step, along with a lot of cash to the bank.

This concludes my current list of heartbreak songs. I think I pulled out some fairly normal country songs that don’t include your dog a’ dyin’ or your mamaw’s beatin’, but these songs represent the essence of the country music ballad. It’s real and holds nothing back and is packed full of emotion.

Now I’m going to get my boots back. Those were expensive.

The Judds: Why Not You?

This post reaches far back into my life. It retrieves memories from when I was only a mere three years old. You see, my dad was a country music DJ and there was this one song that had a bit of a repetitive phrase with brilliant stylization.

“Why don’t you tell me why-y-y-y, I can’t say goodbye-y-y-y.”

Now some early 90’s country fans know exactly what dazzling red head sang this Judds 95823rtFNL3song. It was the incomparable, the amazing, the show stopping, the legendary Wynonna Judd. I can honestly say she sang my first favorite song. Now I have binders full of favorite songs.

As any true Wynonna Judd fan does, I had to get all her early “The Judds” recordings. There is something magical about her and her mama’s, Naomi, soothing melodies. At times it was like Naomi was telling Wynonna, “I’ve been there,” while maybe Wynonna was “just going there.”

And I loved that dang red party dress that Naomi always paraded around in. It just makes me smile. (I’m pretty sure I have a VHS of one of their concerts…)

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So for this post, I wanted to discuss their landmark debut album, Why Not Me. It’s odd how the title song works in me. Every few months I just find myself asking ,”whynot me on rainy day?” and then the inevitable happens. The record is busted out and I can’t stop listening for weeks.

Of course, one of my top picks on this album is “Why Not Me?” but every song is a Judds gem. Each song plays into the next. Side A is full of breakup songs. “Mr. Pain” and “Drops of Water” are creative love songs built around heartbreak.

Apparently, Mr. Pain causes a lot of water to fall from your eyes. He also leaves his boots behind. Beware ladies.

Side B is comprised of more upbeat songs that require a party dress to listen to. This side initially breaks into “Bye Bye Baby Blues” and then into “Girls Night Out.” They had a complete change in attitude just a flip over. I believe two of the Judds’ biggest and most profound songs are found on this side. For one, the record concludes with “Mama He’s Crazy.” This is a landmark classic that will always find itself among the best country music songs of all time.

My favorite song off this album has to be “Love is Alive.” It explores how love isn’t just a word or emotion. It is something that lives within us. This song goes hand in hand with their later hit, “Love Can Build a Bridge.” What a better duo then a mother and daughter to sing this moving melody? I have no fancy words. I just love it.

So lastly, my question to Wynonna and Naomi is “Why not you?” You are both beautiful ladies inside and out and sing like you permanently belong on the Grand Ole Opry stage, The Judds’ music has moved millions. They will always be one of my all time favorites.

 

For the Lovers Out There…

I’m not really into “mushy gushy” love. But to be fair I have never been in love before so I am not sure what it feels like. Romantic love is an abstract concept for me, but I feel I may have a tiny grasp on it through a few songs so I decided to make a list.

So here are the top 5 most romantic songs from one who has never been in love.

5. “I Got You Babe,” by Sonny and Cher.

This song is just full of puppy love. Who doesn’t want to be in a cute relationship where you use terrible grammar to explain your love for each other. The song quickly rose to number one on the charts in 1965 making Sonny and Cher a household name. Sonny wrote this song during the night and woke Cher to listen to his new composition. She told him it wasn’t his best and went back to bed.

4. “Try a Little Tenderness,” by Frank Sinatra

This has been a long time favorite of mine. I originally heard it sung by Michael Buble. I then heard Frank Sinatra’s version on his album of the same title. Although Buble’s version is amazing, you just can’t beat old Blue Eyes.

3. “Moon River,” by Andy Williams

This song is a classic. I was introduced to me by my mom. It was her and her high school sweetheart’s song. It is a beautiful story of a couple in love that are willing to go anywhere with each other. This song recognizes the heartbreak that may be coming, yet shows how love can win with commitment. There are also some great covers of this song by Judy Garland and Anita Bryant.

2. “I Want to Know What Love Is,” Foreigner

I’m jumping quite a few years ahead, but I have always greatly respected this song. As a young un-in-love eligible bachelor I find this song particularly comforting. It would be a dream of mine to find someone who I simply just want to show me what love is (Unless there’s a class). And there isn’t a better voice to betray these emotions then the passionate Lou Gramm. This was Foreigner’s only number one, released in 1984, and was eventually declared platinum.

1. “Endless Love,” by Lionel Richie and Diana Ross

This song is very special to me. It was used as the theme song to my grandparents 50th wedding anniversary (they have now been married 66 years). Last year my Mom and I were lucky enough to receive meet and greet passes to meet Lionel and my mom told him the story. It was nice to see it come full circle. Interesting fact about this song, Richie initially considered it a disaster due to all the last minute changes on the song (making it a duet) and the rushed recording sessions they had to complete it in. In the end it doesn’t matter. Billboard just named this song the top love song of all time and the chemistry between him and Ross hasn’t been accomplished since.

Well that’s about the most I can write about love. My valentines for the past few years have consisted of my single friends, a dinner with my cousin, and “me” dates. Every year I just know somebody is going to come out of the woodwork and say how madly in love they are with me.

Here’s to next year!

Spinnin’ and Hopin’ for Lovin’,

Gabe

A Soundtrack to Our Lives

Have you ever walked along a river or hiked through mountains? I grew up down by the Wichita Mountains and although they are not considered mountains by many, there are some great hikes and creeks in these mountain’s tiny crevasses.

When I walk these paths, I often ponder the history that is packed within that red dirt. There are tons of legends and stories that have come from these mountains, but you often don’t know which ones are true and which ones to take with a grain of salt.

The only thing you know for sure is that these lands have a heritage and history that is still growing and living. You wonder if the trees and boulders could talk, what stories they would tell.

That’s the story of all our lives. There is no telling what you can find if you wonder down the paths of your heritage. You may find grief or you may find happiness. You may find struggle or you may find riches. Nevertheless, it’s yours, and it deserves pride.

This is exactly how I would explain Rosanne Cash’s latest release, The River and The photo (1)Thread.  Cash wrote a large portion of this album through her travels throughout the south where much of her family heritage lies. The University of Arkansas sparked these interests when they asked if Rosanne would help in the restoration of her father, Johnny Cash’s, childhood home.  While on these journeys (she now lives in New York City), she discovered a lot about herself, as well as learning valuable history lessons.

She has stated that these songs are written in the third person perspective. Her distinctive voice wraps around these stories as an actress that doesn’t miss a point. Each song has it’s own soul covered in words that defines each situation both prophetically and precisely.

Each song on this album is a classic and a favorite. I especially enjoy “The River and the Thread,” “The Sunken Lands,” “Tell Heaven,” “50,000 Watts,” and “When the Master Calls the Roll.”

Cash_RiverThread“The River and the Thread” can have multiple interpretations. I feel everyone can find a different meaning for his or her own life in this song. For me, it tells me that things aren’t always what they seem, yet we must make sure of ourselves. “The Sunken Lands” is a song about Cash’s grandmother who took care of her family while picking cotton for the family business.

“50,000 Watts” instantly became special to me.  For me, it described my relationship with my mom. I am a wondering soul and I have failed at many things, but my mom has always been standing there at the end of that road with “50,000 watts of a common prayer,” while pointing to the sky and reminding me of the great Lord we serve and the redemption I receive through him.

And that’s just barely touching the album’s service. Those are just what the songs mean to me. The true beauty of this album is that we can all find our heritage mixed in these songs. We can all find attributes that applies to our life right now, as well as our history. This isn’t Rosanne’s album about her feelings, family, and heritage. It’s about everyone. She has given us a soundtrack to all our lives.

Bravo Ms. Cash.

Spinnin’ on a journey,

Gabe