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Feb. 11: Two studio versions of this number grace the Patsy Cline catalog. The remake, from 1961, is the one familiar to many of her casual fans. It has the same more-pop-than-country feel as her other offerings from around that time, like “Crazy” and “She’s Got You.” It’s good, but I favor this one, recorded five years earlier in an arrangement that’s more country than pop.

“Walkin’ After Midnight” was rush-released on this date in 1957, to capitalize on her winning performance of the song on Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts a few weeks earlier. It was recorded the previous November, with Don Helms’ compelling steel guitar kickoff and tasty licks throughout, and drummer Farris Coursey providing the heavy high-hat treatment. Also in the mix are Grady Martin and Harold Bradley’s guitars, Bob Moore’s bass and maybe Tommy Jackson’s fiddle and producer Owen Bradley’s piano. (They’re listed on the session, but I don’t hear their instruments. Could be that they played on the other three songs she cut that day and sat out this one.)

The record reached No. 2 on Billboard’s country chart, and No. 12 on the pop chart — pretty good for a song Cline didn’t really want to cut. Here’s the story of “Walkin’ After Midnight,” from the writing, to the original pitch to Kay Starr, to the reworking for Patsy, to her remake and the various cover records  after her death. (Despite what it says, both of Patsy’s versions are in the key of C.)

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