One of the most unique voices in country music history, his nasally twang was arguably the prototypical sound for the honky tonk style of country music. Can you make hard-core, pure twang country music loud, raucous and fun? Webb Pierce showed you could. The proof is in the records. Listen to songs like “Even Tho”, “Love Love Love”, “In The Jailhouse Now”, “Bye Bye Love”, and “Honky Tonk Song” to fully understand.
Today’s Single Of The Day didn’t quite reach the same level of raucousness, but it still became one of his big hits of the decade. “Yes I Know Why” b/w “Cause I Love You” was released by Decca in January, 1956, and became the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth chart songs, respectively in Billboard, as “Yes I Know Why” debuted in the March 3rd, edition, while “Cause I Love You” debuted one week later. There were three main charts, in those days; best-seller, most played by DJ’s, and most played on juke boxes. “Yes I Know Why” was the more successful of the sides, as it was a top three single across the board, spending seven weeks at number two on the DJ chart, while stopping at number three on the other two. “Cause I Love You” got a lot of juke box love, peaking at number three, there, while reaching as high as five on the best-seller list, but only twelve on the DJ side.
It was a pretty common tactic in those days to pair an up tempo song, with a ballad, as is the case, here. The ballad is “Yes I Know Why, possessing a great intro that simply starts with Webb starting out a bit of a drawn out, “Yessss,…” before launching into the rest of the lyrics. This is pure country gold. A great performance that I consider one of my favorite Webb Pierce tracks. He also wrote this song, as well.
“Cause I Love You” is the up tempo piece, here, though not as driving as the previously mentioned tracks. This one is a bit lighter in sound, if that’s possible in this style of country music. The fiddles at the start will immediately command attention, leading into an easy-to-follow melody handled in an outstanding Pierce performance.
There were bigger hits than this one, for Webb Pierce, but this one was still a decent sized hit and deservedly so. It’s 1950’s country music at it’s best.
Join me for the World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show, every Thursday at 4p ET on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM. We’re at 103.3FM in Asheville, or worldwide, on the AshevilleFM website, ITunes, or TuneIn. And if you can’t listen live, then catch the archived version, anytime, over the next week, beginning Friday morning, on the Ultimate Twang page at the AshevilleFM website.
Today’s Single Of The Day remembers one of Waylon Jenning’s many number one hits, “I Ain’t Living Long Like This”. It’s classic Waylon, featuring a hard-driving country-rock sound that Waylon did so well.
Waylon, along with Willie Nelson, were the leaders of the 1970’s outlaw movement. For those who don’t know about it, the outlaws, as they, along with some other acts like Johnny Paycheck and even Merle Haggard and Sammi Smith, weren’t so much about the content of their songs (something Luke Bryan apparently didn’t know, based on his recent comments), but rather their rebelling against the Nashville and country music establishments, and choosing to do things their own way.
“Ain’t Living Long Like This” was Waylon’s first RCA release of the 1980’s, debuting on the Country 40 in January. After a mellow 1979, where both of his number one hits were on the soft side, “Come With Me” and “Amanda”, He returned to his harder edged sound that helped make hits like “I’ve Always Been Crazy” and “I’m A Ramblin’ Man” staples.
After its debut in January, “I Ain’t Living Long Like This” began climbing the charts, eventually taking the number one position the first week in March, becoming his eleventh number one hit.
Join me for the World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show, Thursdays at 4p ET, on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM. In Asheville, we’re at 103.3FM, and worldwide, on AshevilleFM’s website, or on ITunes and TuneIn. And if you can’t join us live, you can always listen to the archived version on the Ultimate Twang page on AshevilleFM, beginning Friday morning. It’s there to listen for a week.
Categories: Single Of The Day Tags: AshevilleFM, Country Music, I Ain't Living Long Like This, I'm A Ramblin' Man, I've Always Been Crazy, Johnny Paycheck, Merle Haggard, outlaw country, Sammi Smith, Waylon Jennings, Willie Nelson
Songwriters often try their hand at singing, or maybe it’s singers often get started with songwriting. Hmmm…well, either way, a large number of great songwriters have gone on to have considerable success as singers; people like Willie Nelson, Tom T. Hall, and Eddie Rabbitt are prime examples. However, many don’t experience the success behind the microphone that they do behind the pen. Sometimes, it’s easy to understand why; Harlan Howard, for example, had very limited vocal abilities, but as a songwriter, he was one of the greatest, in fact arguably better than probably 90% of those writing in Nashville, today. On the other hand, there are those whose lack of singing success is a bit of a head scratcher, such as Matraca Berg.
Matraca Berg is one of the best songwriters of the past thirty years, having written or co-written numerous big hits like “Faking Love” for T. G. Sheppard/Karen Brooks; “XXX’s and OOO’s” and “Wrong Side Of Memphis” for Trisha Yearwood; Reba’s classic “The Last One To Know”; and Deana Carter’s hit “Strawberry Wine”. She was even inducted into the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame well before her fiftieth birthday, even! But as a singer, for some reason she didn’t have the success that I, along with many others, think she should have.
A great alto voice that is strong, maybe just a bit bluesy. To try to compare her to someone, I really can’t think of anyone that has her style.
She is the voice behind today’s Single Of The Day, “Baby, Walk On”, a song she also co-wrote. “Baby, Walk On” was her first single release, after joining the RCA label. Recorded in early Spring, 1990, and released later in the Spring, the record debuted on the Country 40 in mid-July, but spent only three weeks, there, peaking at thirty-six.
The record is up tempo, leans towards country-pop, though a good bit of fiddle and steel are heard. I’ve always felt that this should have been at least a top 20 hit. It’s got good lyrics, a good hook, even Emmylou Harris assisting with the background vocals. Why it didn’t catch on more than it did? I don’t know. A very good record, though, that still deserving of spins.
Join me for The World Famous Ultimate Twang, every Thursday at 4p ET (3 Central, 2 Mountain, 1 Pacific) on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM. We’re heard worldwide in several formats. Locally in Asheville, at 103.3FM, or worldwide on the AshevilleFM website, or on ITunes or TuneIn. And if you can’t join in for the live version, the archived version becomes available the next morning, where you can listen to it, anytime, over the next week. That is found on the Ultimate Twang page on the AshevilleFM website.
Categories: Single Of The Day Tags: AshevilleFM, Baby Walk On, Country Music, Deana Carter, Eddie Rabbitt, Emmylou Harris, Faking Love, Harlan Howard, Karen Brooks, Matraca Berg, RCA Records, Reba McEntire, songwriters, Strawberry Wine, T. G. Sheppard, The Last One To Know, Tom T. Hall, Trisha Yearwood, Willie Nelson, Wrong Side Of Memphis, XXX's and OOO's
We start the week off with some tempo, this week, as we remember one of Carl Smith’s top ten classics. Carl Smith, the legendary singer turned rancher, was one of country music’s hottest acts during the first half of the 1950’s, scoring twenty-eight top ten hits between 1951 and 1956, including five number ones. However, like many traditional country singers of his era, his momentum was slowed by the onslaught of rock ‘n roll and it’s off-shoots such as Rockabilly. After 1956, Carl would only chart four more top ten singles, though his albums would be consistent sellers throughout the rest of the 1950’s and well into the 1960’s.
Like most of his contemporaries, when the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Carl Perkins, and others came on the scene, Carl suddenly found it harder to score hit singles, and was forced to adapt his sound to better fit the changing times. A smoothening of the vocal style is evident, starting with “Why, Why” and even some experimentation with the accompaniment can be heard, as this track has a bit of a rockabilly beat to it, while his next release, “Your Name Is Beautiful”, would have a style closer to what became the Nashville Sound, than the hard country of Smith’s earlier hits.
“Why, Why” was recorded in Nashville, in July, 1957; released by Columbia in August; and made it’s debut on Billboard in September, eventually climbing to as high as number two before the year was out. It was Carl’s twenty-ninth top ten single.
As I mentioned earlier, it’s a quick-paced record with a beat closer to rockabilly. Lite and bouncy, it’s a fun record to listen to and shows the versatility that Carl Smith had, something that is often underrated, in my opinion. He has help, as well, on the vocals with the Jordanaires.
Unfortunately, when the conversation is of Carl Smith hits, this is one that often gets overlooked, a real shame, too, as it’s an instantly likable record, even as it approaches it’s sixtieth anniversary of release. It’s really deserving of more accolades than it’s gotten.
Join me for The World Famous Ultimate Twang, every Thursday afternoon at 4p ET, on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM, heard at 103.3FM in Asheville, or worldwide, via the AshevilleFM website, ITunes, or TuneIn. And if you can’t listen live, you can hear the archive, anytime, over the next week, beginning Friday morning. Simply go to the Ultimate Twang page on AshevilleFM’s website, scroll down and click the play button. Three hours of the best classic country music you’ll hear on your radio, plus vintage commercials, sound bites, TV themes, and more!
Categories: Single Of The Day Tags: 1957, AshevilleFM, Billboard, Carl Perkins, Carl Smithe, Columbia Records, Country Music, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, The Jordanaires, Why Why, Your Name Is Beautiful
Mel McDaniel began charting in the late 1970’s even got close to the top ten on a couple of occasions with “Gentle To Your Senses” and “God Made Love”. But it wasn’t until 1981’s “Louisiana Saturday Night” that he finally broke through the top ten barrier, and he would go on to score a total of nine top ten hits, including the number one “Baby’s Got Her Blue Jeans On”.
Today’s single, “Let It Roll (Let It Rock)”, was released by Capitol Records in March, 1986. About one month later, it debuted on the Country 40, and would eventually peak at six, becoming his seventh top ten hit.
A real driving, you might say it’s a train song (“workin’ on the railroad with a steel driving hammer” the lyrics say), it’s a quick (just over 2 minutes in length) ride at high speed, with what I’d say is about a 50/50 mix of hard country and rock ‘n roll. As mentioned, the legendary Chuck Berry wrote the song, and it definitely has the feel of his style of music.
One of those records I always enjoy spinning, just doesn’t burn out, to me. Great stuff!
Join me for the World Famous Ultimate Twang Radio Show, 4p ET, every Thursday on WSFM-LPFM/AshevilleFM. You can listen at 103.3FM in Asheville, or worldwide, via AshevilleFM’s website, on ITunes, or TuneIn.