Skip to main content

Country Covers of Classic Country Songs (Part 1)



Country Covers of Classic Country Songs (Part 1)


Can’t think of a better place to start than with the amazing Chris Stapleton who is a throwback to the great voices of Country music. Here he takes a classic by one of the celebrated singer songwriters of Country Music, ironically though he didn’t write this one…but what a fantastic song. And no, far as I know they aren't related.

Chris Stapleton
Tennessee Whiskey by Chris Stapleton, written by Linda Hargrove and Dean Dillon.

Tennessee Whiskey” by David Allen Coe, the original.
David Allen Coe










Some songs are just destined to be hits but there are few that have done that with three different artists. First was the original, Dec. 24, 1988 by Keith Whitley, #1 on US Hot Country Songs (Billboard).  Next Alison Krauss hit #3 in 1995 and then Ronan Keating in 1999 where it hit #1 in the UK, Ireland, and New Zealand. Personally I came to this song through Alison Krauss, how about you?

When You Say Nothing at All” (1988) by Keith Whitley, written by Paul Overstreet and Don Schlitz

 When You Say Nothing at All (1994) by Alison Krauss

When You Say Nothing at All (1999) by Ronan Keating

Heartaches by the Number” by Ray Price (1959) written by one of the best songwriters ever, Harlan Howard. Price went to school to be a veterinarian, served in the Marines during WWII and sort of fell into a career in music doing weekend gigs while working at his father's Texas ranch after the war. His career lasted up until his death at age 87.


Guy Mitchell would record this also later in 1959 and surpassed Price’s #2 ranking by going #1 for two weeks in December.
Heartaches by the Number” by Rosanne Cash featuring Elvis Costello from the Album ‘The List’ which featured some of the ‘essential’ Country songs her father Johnny Cash wrote down and gave her. “Heartaches by the Number” by Cyndi Lauper

“Big Big Love” written by Kenneth Carroll and Wynn Stewart, recorded by Wynn Stewart (1961) Best know for “Another Day, Another Dollar" and "It's Such a Pretty World Today" which was his only #1 hit.

Nick Lowe from his 1988 album Pinker and Prouder Than Previous. Here is a short clip from napster (don’t worry it's quite safe), and a not so great quality live recording
k.d. lang (1989), exposed to Nick Lowe through working with Dave Edmunds on her first Album “Angel with a Lariat” recorded this for her third album “Absolute Torch and Twang”.


It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” (1952) by Kitty Wells, written by J.D. Miller but originally written by William Warren and Arlie A. Carter. Often credited as an original, she was actually the fourth woman to record this song, but her version was the first for a female Country solo act to hit #1(for six weeks) on the Country charts and #27 on the Billboard Hot 100. Yet this 'racy' song was banned by the Grand Ole Opry.

It was written as an “answer song” to "The Wild Side of Life" written by William Warren and Arlie A. Carter, giving the female side of the songs storyline. 'Wild Side' was released early in 1952 and immediately covered by Hank Thompson and it became a huge hit song reaching  #1 (15 weeks), yet unlike the Kitty Wells song did not chart on the Billboard Hot 100. Both songs are based on a melody traced back to songs from the 1920’s and 30’s. The song launched the careers of both artists, and the movie ‘Crazy Heart’ with Jeff Bridges is from a book based on Thompson. Combined these songs have been covered about 80 times.
Dolly Parton covered this song in 1963 and again in 1993 (with Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette and Kitty Wells)
For my money the best version of this song is from Terri Clark, born in Montreal August 5, 1968, raised in Medicine Hat and from a long line of musicians, she was determined to make it as a Country singer. She saved her money working in a Chinese food Restaurant and moved to Nashville in 1987 almost right after High School. Two #1 hit songs and 26 charted singles and 11 albums later she still lives in Nashville.


The lead into the song features her grandmother, Betty Gauthier who along with Terri’s grandfather Ray opened for the likes of Johnny Cash and George Jones.



Click here for a playlist of the rest of the songs.

Music Trivia. Where did Terri Clark live just before moving to Nashville? London Ontario. Her grandparents lived here in my hometown of London and Terri herself stayed for 9 months working as a waitress before moving to Nashville, were she was not coincidentally ...a waitress before getting her first paying gig.



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The Most Covered Pop Artists and Songs of All Time

The Most Covered Pop Artists and Songs of All Time There are three categories in today’s blog: 1. The most covered songs written by a single artist, 2. The most cover versions combined and 3. The most covered Pop songs.  These numbers are for artists that write and record their own songs. For more on songwriters, read my series I Write the Songs . The statistics come courtesy of Secondhandsongs.com and are verified via strict protocols. This website posts 'covers' submitted from around the globe and in many different languages, edited by very knowledgeable experts in music recording. There are other resources as cited but other than the odd personal anecdote or opinion, I'm using information and knowledge, not to mention YouTube posts that already exist. In addition, the numbers change daily, and I had originally written this blog in December 2019 so it’s been interesting to see the changes in less than a year. On the whole, the artists in each list stayed the same but

One Hit Wonders (not!)

One Hit Wonders (not!) Yesterday (Sept. 26) was the 50th Anniversary of Abbey Road, the Beatles last recording session together and the second last album before Let it Be was issued May 8, 1970. And also Happy belated One Hit Wonder Day! (Sept. 25th) so I thought it would make a good blog topic. The simplest definition I found is from music journalist Wayne Jancik "an act that has won a position on a national, pop, Top 40 record chart just once." This from the 'The Billboard Book of One-Hit Wonders' (1998). So we aren't talking one #1 hit. It's not a term I like as it implies (and some truth to that) these artists have had just a brief moment in the spotlight, perhaps undeservedly so and then fallen off the music map. I know other and deeper definitions are a bit more broad and go beyond the absolute single hit idea. They also consider many artists that have still maintained a quality career and just not reproduced another 'top 40 hit' song an

Sweet Soul Music

Sweet Soul Music Sam Cooke Arthur Conley co-wrote this song with Otis Redding and it's a tribute to some of the early greats of Soul Music . The song's melody (and words for that matter) borrowed heavily from the Sam Cooke song " Yeah Man " and a subsequent lawsuit brought by A.W. Alexander who managed Cooke's songs after his untimely death added his name to the song credits. The resulting song however was a huge hit for Conley and it reached #2 on Billboard's Hot 100 and R&B Chart in 1967 and #7 in the UK where Soul Music was gaining popularity particularly amongst a subset of British youth. The lyrics reference the co-writer Otis Redding, James Brown and songs by The Miracles, Lou Rawls, Sam & Dave and Wilson Pickett, some of the key figures in early Soul Music. "Sweet Soul Music" covered 30 times, The Jam (1977). Soul music is a fusion of R&B, Gospel and Jazz. Known generally for it's more upbeat tempo it's fun to lis

Old Country New Country

Old Country/New Country What exactly I am about to attempt to demonstrate I confess I'm not 100% certain, but what I do know is that there has been a bit of a downward sliding scale regarding the enduring quality of mainstream Country Music songs. Apologies in advance for rambling and ranting at various points. This is not a history of Country Music but my opinion on the current state of things in general with the genre. It's murky waters that I'm swimming in here as there is an evolution involved in any music genre so direct comparisons are perhaps inappropriate. I am somewhat aware of the influence the so called Country Music "establishment" has had on this evolution. One need only look at examples like Taylor Swift, Shania Twain and Garth Brooks and others who were criticized and in some cases "shunned" for their unconventional approaches who are now celebrated as part of that same 'establishment'. So there is some hypocrisy at play

Rock artists sing the Blues

Rock artists sing the Blues I have talked about this frequently throughout my posts but more particularly in the series on the Delta Blues and the History of R&R parts 1- 4 . Truth be told, most of the greatests 'Rock' artists owe much of their inspiration to the Blues. Rock bands and solo artists have cut many sides early and throughout their careers of blues songs. Thanks to artists like Chuck Berry and Elvis Presley who were obviously very well known and successful, their covers of some of the great blues songs served as a conduit and exposed them to artists and listeners alike. Here are some 'Blues' that inspired Rock artists, a few of these songs are more well known than others. Confessin' the Blues by The Rolling Stones was recorded  June 11, 1964 and released on a 7" record of five songs on August 14. Written by Walter Brown (vocals) and Jay McShann (piano and bandleader) originally released in June of 1941. Covered about 35 times includin