Rolling Stone's Ridiculous Top 100 Country Songs: The Second Half
Given the spread and the appeal-to-all-age-groups nature of Rolling Stone's "100 Greatest Country Songs of All Time," the possibility that the list was computer-generated seems more and more likely.
Leon Payne, Hank Williams, Jerry Irby at the Studewood Club, Houston, circa 1950. Payne wrote Williams' hit, "Lost Highway"; Irby wrote "Driving Nails In My Coffin."
Either that, or Rolling Stone is farming out its country blog to Best in Texas magazine? There are those ever-present, pesky concerns about advertising revenues generated via record labels that need constant cultivation, you know?
How else can the inclusion of Eric Church, Taylor Swift and Kacey Musgraves be rationally explained? In particular, Musgraves' track is so new, how can anyone have had the time and reflective distance to pronounce it a classic on par with tunes like "Night Life" or "Mama Tried" yet?
Actually, it looks like a hook in the water -- or an olive branch? -- for the Americana Music Association crowd. But be it human- or cyber-generated, the list has other glaring problems, not the least of which is that a reader has to click on 100 different pages to view it all.
But first, some leavening regarding our previously published comments. My compadre Arty Hill took me to task over the assertion that there haven't been any worthy classics in country music since the 1980s.
The only tunes since 1990 that I'd put on the list off the top of my head would be "Here In The Real World" by Alan Jackson (far and away his best recorded song); George Jones' "Choices" and/or "The Cold Hard Truth'"; Merle's "Wishing All These Old Things Were New'"; [and] Vern Gosdin, "Is It Raining At Your House" in 1990. It's possible there's a George Strait tune that would pass the giggle test -- "I Can Still Make Cheyenne" is a good one -- but they're all pretty pop-oriented.
I'm more a fan of '80s country than you probably. The Gosdin stuff that he and Max T. Barnes wrote -- "Chiseled In Stone," etc. Bob McDill wrote a bunch of good ones. Keith Whitley cut a bunch of good songs, died in 1989.
Then it all really went in the shitter. When everybody started listening to Clint Black, saying he was the better alternative to Garth, I thought they were nuts and I quit listening to country radio altogether right about then.
Noted and approved, Mr. Hill. Set 'em up, Joe, and play walkin' the floor.
Further observations from this cynic:
No Hank Snow? No "I've Been Everywhere," no "I Don't Hurt Any More," no "Ninety Miles An Hour Down a Dead End Street?" Bah, humbug. Get off my lawn.
No truckers songs? None? Zilch? No "Six Days on the Road," but we have C.W. McCall's "Convoy?" No "Freight Liner Fever" by Dave Dudley, but we have Gram Parsons' "$1,000 Wedding?" What is this foul odor?
No Maddox Brothers and Rose but Kacey Musgraves and Taylor Swift are in? Say what? No Jean Shepard, no Connie Smith? Numb-chucks.
No Gene Watson? No Freddie Fender or Vern Gosdin? No Moe Bandy, Johnny Bush, or Charlie Walker? Blasphemy. Jim Reeves, Don Gibson? No "He'll Have to Go?" David Allan Coe would like to have a word with you in the alley. Bring a knife.
No Webb Pierce? No Wynn Stewart? No Conway Twitty? No Vince Gill? What kind of communist conspiracy do we have going on here?
Kitty Wells and Hank Thomspon should have been declared a tie for "Wild Side of Life" and "It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels."
Ignoring "You Never Even Called Me By My Name," "Sunday Morning Coming Down," "Night Life," "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," "Pop a Top," "For The Good Times," "One Six Pack To Go?" No "Today I Started Loving You Again", no "Pick Me Up On Your Way Down," no "I'll Be There (If You Ever Want Me)"? The horror. May you be sentenced to an eternity of nothing but Mac Davis Muzak.
By the way, Rolling Stoners, you realize you left out Pat Green, right?
The Rolling Stone country Top 50:
The knives come out on the next page.