May 28-30

Why this weekend? Time for another Friday-Saturday-Sunday potpourri, featuring three top honky-tonkers of the ’50s, an iconic duo of the ’70s, a tear-jerking, cult-classic trucking song, and more. All but one of the selections you’ll find on the jump topped the charts.

“Trademark” | Carl Smith
Porter Waggoner wrote this Billboard No. 2 smash by Carl Smith, which Columbia Records released on May 29, 1953. Smith’s Tunesmiths band was some kind of fine. The flip of this record, “Do I Like It,” also stalled one spot from the top of the chart.

“I Don’t Care” | Webb Pierce
Pierce was the top-selling artist of the 1950s, and numbers like this Decca chart-topper — released 55 years ago Sunday — reveal why. Songwriting credit goes to Pierce and the great Cindy Walker.

“City Lights” | Ray Price
We featured the B-side of this No. 1 Columbia single, “Invitation To The Blues,” not long ago. “City Lights” was the first songwriting success for a young Bill Anderson, with a lyric conceived while he did some post-dusk rooftop gazing in the metropolis of Commerce, Ga. A crack band (including steel guitar master Jimmy Day, legendary fiddler Tommy Jackson and bassist extraordinaire Bob Moore) gathered in Owen Bradley’s studios in Nashville to record this classic the evening of May 29, 1958.

“Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man” | Loretta Lynn & Conway Twitty
Conway and Loretta were in their fourth year of occasionally singing together on record when MCA released this eventual No. 1 hit on May 29, 1973. By and large I favor Porter and Dolly’s duets, but I do like this one, along with “After The Fire Is Gone.” Plus, the line”too bad, alligator, you swim too slow” is hard to beat.

“She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles)” | Gary Stweart
The pride of Fort Pierce, Fla., was actually born in Kentucky, on Friday’s date in 1944. He had a way with a honky-tonk song, and a machine-gun vibrato that put Kitty Wells’ to shame. This number reached the top of the charts in 1975 and was his biggest hit. He took his own life in 2003, despondent over the recent death of his wife.

“Teddy Bear” | Red Sovine
I’m a sucker for a maudlin song, and this No. 1 trucker classic released 34 years ago Saturday put the “awk” in “mawkish.” Sovine, whose only other chart-topper came his “Why Baby Why” duet with then-boss Webb Pierce in the ’50s, helped Charley Pride get into the music business. He found his niche with trucking songs — with not only “Teddy Bear” designed to bring a tear.

“(There’s) No Gettin’ Over Me” | Ronnie Milsap
Written by Walt Aldridge and Tom Brasfield, this crossover smash (No. 1 country, No. 5 pop) from 1981 was recorded on May 28 of that year in Nashville. It’s one of many songs that exhibited Milsap’s knack for delivering a song with a country lyric in a way that appealed to pop audiences, without alienating countrty fans. In short, he was a Nashville Sound artist in the Urban Cowboy era.

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