Monday, August 16, 2010

Best Country Songs...part one

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I am shamelessly stealing this idea from Borepatch.  It was one of those times when I realized my comment was getting way too long to force anyone to read, so I feel somewhat justified in bringing it over here instead

If I tried to come up with the BEST country song ever (singular), I'd drive myself nuts arguing, finally come up with something, and then decide I was an idiot about half a second after I'd hit the 'publish post' button.  (This is why my official answer, when asked what my favorite Waylon Jennings song is, is "whichever one's on the radio at the moment.")

So, instead, I'll go with the top five in a few different categories--first chronologically, then I'll throw in a few special ones.  I'm not going to worry about linking to anything, though--since I'm going with what I grew up listening to, so it's not exactly obscure album cuts, for the most part.

1940s & 1950s

  1. "Stay A Little Longer"--Bob Wills  & His Texas Playboys (1946)
  2. "If You Ain't Lovin' (You Ain't Livin')"--Faron Young (1954)
  3. "Get Rhythm"--Johnny Cash (1956)  You could probably argue--successfully--that "I Walk the Line" is better-known for good reason, but this one is my pick anyway.  Very few country songs since have been this catchy while not being at all annoying.
  4. "Stop the World (And Let Me Off)--Patsy Cline (1958)  Others are better known for this song, and she is better known for other songs, but this is my favorite by her.
  5. "Honky Tonkin'"--Hank Williams, Sr (1948)
1960s

  1. "Hello Walls"--Faron Young (1961)
  2. "She's Got You"--Patsy Cline (1962)
  3. "It Ain't Me, Babe"--Johnny Cash (1964)
  4. "Sing Me Back Home"--Merle Haggard (1968)
  5. "Big Iron"--Marty Robbins (1960)  Yes, I like this much more than "El Paso."
1970s
  1. "It's Four in the Morning"--Faron Young (1971)
  2. "Sunday Morning Coming Down"--Johnny Cash (1970)
  3. "If We Make It Through December"--Merle Haggard (1973)
  4. "Back Home Again"--John Denver (1974)
  5. "Luckenbach, Texas"--Waylon Jennings (1977)
1980s
  1. "Dixie On My Mind"--Hank Williams, Jr (1981)  This was hard for me, 'cause honestly I like "Born to Boogie" a lot more, but I think this song is simply better.  You could also make a great case for "A Country Boy Can Survive"
  2. "Small Town Girl"--Steve Wariner (1987)  Erik's favorite song is "Some Fools Never Learn", but I prefer this one.
  3. "Pancho and Lefty"--Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson (1983)
  4. "Drinkin' and Dreamin'"--Waylon Jennings (1985)
  5. "Amarillo by Morning"--George Strait (1983)
  6. "Guitar Town"--Steve Earle (1986)
1990s*
  1. "There's A Girl In Texas"--Trace Adkins (1996)*
  2. "Her Man"--Gary Allan (1996)*
  3. "Drinking Champagne"--George Strait (1990)
  4. "You Were Mine"--Dixie Chicks (1999)  This is probably one of the best songs that decade, period.
  5. "Someday Soon"--Suzy Bogguss (1991)  "Outbound Plane", released the same year, is probably as good a song.  I definitely think Suzy Bogguss is one of the most underrated singers out there.
2000s*
  1. "Earthbound"--Rodney Crowell (2003)  He's really only known for the songs off the album Diamonds and Dirt, and they're all good, but this is my favorite from him, I think.
  2. "A Little Revival"--Radney Foster (2009)  The newest song on here.  I had to double-check to make sure it wasn't released this year, in fact.
  3. "Run"--George Strait (2001)
  4. "I'm Tryin'"--Trace Adkins (2001)*
  5. "Life Ain't Always Beautiful"--Gary Allan (2006)*
So much for the chronological picks!  I'm tired of this because of looking up songs to make certain of when they came out, so I'll go off into special categories tomorrow.

If it wasn't immediately obvious, I did purposely limit myself to one song per artist.  Otherwise the 1970s would have been all Waylon Jennings.  And no, these aren't in any real order within the decade.  

I seem to have even managed to keep it pretty mainstream...

*Yep, I really did come back about 10 minutes after publishing this post to edit it.  The starred songs are replacements.

5 comments:

Borepatch said...

That's one heck of a list. You just gave me six months of "Saturday Redneck" fodder, too!

TOTWTYTR said...

That's a pretty good list. I know most of the 40s-70s songs, but sort of lost interest after that. :)

I'd put Jim Reeves "Four Walls" in there somewhere, because it was a great song and it changed the trajectory of his career.

Picking my favorite Bob Wills song would be like picking my favorite child. Or my favorite firearm.

AlanDP said...

Interesting post.

Sabra said...

I know most of the 40s-70s songs, but sort of lost interest after that.

Yeah, country music was definitely better before I was born.

Picking my favorite Bob Wills song would be like picking my favorite child.

Same here, really. My daughters are all very fond of "Roly Poly" lately. I went with one almost at random, just trying to avoid going with the most obvious choices. I could have gone with "New San Antonio Rose" but figured it was a wee bit too obvious. ;)

westofthewest said...

Here's some alt.country classics some of the best country you never heard.

1970s
Return Of The Grievous Angel Gram Parsons 1973

1980s
Someday Steve Earl 1986
L.A. County Lyle Lovett 1987

1990's
Love In The Ruins Buddy MIller 1997
Whiskey Girl Gillian Welch 1998

2000s
A Showman's Life: Buddy Miller & Emmylou Harris 2002