Yay! We made it to the last Friday in November! For my final Five On Friday, I'm sharing my five favorite country singers.
Just as certain books shaped me as a reader, I think the music I heard as a child shaped my musical tastes. My parents were totally country music fans. They had a pretty nice record library, and frequently played the tunes. Sometimes they danced on a newly waxed kitchen floor. Mom actually would wash and wax the floor then encourage us to put on socks and dance/slide around on it to buff it up. True story.
I loved country music for the melodies, but even more, I loved that practically every song told a story. Mostly sad stories, but each was a short tale, and who loves stories more than I do? Here are my favorite storytellers:
There has never been a singer like Patsy. What a fantastic voice, with such range of emotion. I even like the songs where she sort of yodels. Her personal life was as tragic as any of her songs, and for such a sweet sweet woman, I wish her short life had been happier. Because even her sad songs are infused with joy somehow. She never let anything get her down, never lost that luminous spirit. Favorite Song: Sweet Dreams
Talk about an unstoppable force in music and life. Such a wonderful deep mellow voice, so many great songs that he seemed to embody, particularly his many drinking songs. Those drinking songs were sung with great relish. His sweeter songs revealed the gentle soul within that he sought to hide and protect his whole life. I read his biography and the scene that stands out is his driving a lawnmower into town to the liquor store when his driver's license and car keys were taken away. Self destructive, yes, bolder than anything, yes. I appreciated that he was a mentor to many new singers who were interested in traditional country rather than the pop music country that invaded sometime in the 70s or 80s. Favorite Song: Walk Through This World With Me
This man's songs are the quintessential country tunes. He sounded as if he would break down sobbing after every song. His rich, plaintive voice could take you to a very lonely place, but its ok, he was right there with you. Sometimes its nice to just let the music wash over you, as you sing along to "I've got heartaches by the number", you bet. Then you pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and enjoy the City Lights. Favorite Song: Heartaches By The Number
I used to watch everything on TV, including old westerns. Marty Robbins sang many songs featuring life in the Old West. Talk about stories told in song, ah, he was the master of songs of the west. He is the only one of my favorites I've seen live as well, in Wheeling's Capitol Music Hall, where everyone sang along with Marty and uproariously rang the cowbells that were handed out as you entered the auditorium. Favorite Song: El Paso
I'm not such a fan of her later work, because she seemed to go Pop Country at some point, and her wonderful, wise, vibrant songs were no more. Her early songs were not only beautiful, but they were very wise stories of the way modern relationships could be as heartbreaking in a Country way as anything from earlier decades. Favorite Song: Is There Life Out There?