These are the first couple of weeks of posts of what I originally called “3 Chords and a Tweet.”  Tweet, because I had envisioned this as a Twitter feature. But I found it works better on Facebook, where I had a little more room. Then came the brainstorm:  On a blog, I’d have all the room I want.  So, here we are. Anyway, this post will catch you up on what’s come before. Enjoy.


Aug. 13: It’s only fitting to start with the Father of Country Music, Jimmie Rodgers, aka The Singing Brakeman, aka The Mississippi Blue Yodeler. Here’s “Blue Yodel No. 5.”

Aug. 14: From 1963, Marty Robbins communes with nature in “Man Walks Among Us.”

Aug. 15: Connie Smith sounds great, as always, on this Bill Anderson-Jan Howard song from 1970, “I Never Once Stopped Loving You.” I dedicated it to my friend Ray Duckworth, a huge Connie fan, on his birthday.

Aug. 16: The 32nd anniversary of Elvis Presley’s death. In his honor, here’s the great Jerry Reed (from a vinyl LP in my collection) with his satirical ode to the King, “Tupelo Mississippi Flash.”

Aug. 17: I’m not a love-every-song fan of Reba McEntire. But her good ones, like this from 1986, are really good. Here’s “Somebody Should Leave.”

Aug: 18: “Pick Me Up On Your Way Down,” the quintessential honk-tonk number from 1958, one of the early stereo records cut in Nashville. Charlie Walker, singer, and Harlan Howard, writer, NAILED it. And listen for the great work by steel guitarist Jimmy Day, especially during the fiddle break.

Aug. 19: You might recognize this as Hank Williams, but which one? In the ’60s, Hank Jr. added music to several of his daddy’s recently found handwritten lyrics. One of them, “Cajun Baby,” became an early Bocephus hit.

Aug. 20: The first song recorded by the first true bluegrass band: Bill Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Chubby Wise and Howard Watts. This was the “classic” lineup of Bill Monroe and His Blue Grass Boys. Enjoy “Heavy Traffic Ahead.”

Aug. 21: Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn have an interesting take on what makes a marriage a success. I get tickled at the (ad libbed?) banter during the fade-out of “You’re The Reason Our Kids Are Ugly.”

Aug. 22: Jim Reeves’ velvet voice and sparse musical and vocal backings helped usher in the Nashville Sound with “Four Walls,”, recorded in 1957 at the old RCA Victor studio on McGavock Street in Nashville. It’s now a parking lot for Beaman motors. (For more of how that came about, see this Tennessean story from 2006, via

Aug. 23: Through sentimental songs like this, Roy Acuff really connected with his audience and became a huge star. So much so that in World War II, the Japanese taunted American Marines with “To hell with Roosevelt, to hell with Babe Ruth, to hell with Roy Acuff.” Here’s “The Precious Jewel.”

Aug. 24: With this smash, Charley Pride topped the charts for the first time. That was 40 years ago this month. Before long, he’d be RCA Records’ best-selling performer since Elvis. Enjoy “All I Have to Offer You Is Me.”

Aug. 25: In my view, Ricky Skaggs should be in the Hall of Fame. After learning from the masters, he took his bluegrass chops and carved out a great country career (he was great FOR country, as well) before returning to Mr. Monroe’s music and becoming one of its top artists. He’s always had a great band; proof positive is “Highway 40 Blues,” from 1982. It’s one of my favorite records.

Aug. 26: The Davis Sisters (Betty Jack and Skeeter, not actually sisters) were poised for big things when this became a country and pop hit in 1953. But a car wreck soon thereafter silenced the duo when B.J. was killed. Bob Dylan is just one of the many who have covered this song, “I Forgot More (Than You’ll Ever Know).” It features the sort of close harmony that made top stars of the Everlys and the Louvins.

Aug. 27: Ray Stevens’ treatment of the jazz/pop standard “Misty” was a crossover hit in 1975 and won a Grammy.

Aug. 28: In “Skip A Rope” (1968), Henson Cargill offers a commentary on soclal ills set in the context of child’s play. It was a #1 country hit and made the Top 25 in the pop field.

Aug. 29: The story goes: Hank Thompson’s wife had to talk the star into cutting “Wild Side of Life,” with its tired old melody. (“Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes,” “Great Speckled Bird.”) But it made him an even bigger star — and prompted an answer song by Muriel Deason. You know her by her stage name …

Aug. 30: … Kitty Wells. She was about ready to go back to being a homemaker when she cut this answer to “Wild Side of Life.” Her smash, “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky-Tonk Angels,” was the first No. 1 Billboard hit by a solo female artist, and helped make Wells the Queen of Country Music. Happy 90th birthday, Kitty.