Monday, January 24, 2011


Alex Cavanaugh's Top Ten Countdown - Music Blogfest

I cannot think of a challenge more difficult than this one. Since the Lousianna Hayride, Gand Ole Opry, Capitol Records, The Porter Wagoner Show, The Johnny Cash Show, songwriters like Hank Williams, Harlan Howard, Tom T Hall, producers like Billy Sherrill how can you pick just 10 all-time songs? As soon as I hit the publish button I know I will think of another 10 all time-songs. Well, here goes…

1.  I Am So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams

This song moves me by the amount of pain and agony Williams could emote from this song. The words are sad enough to make a rock cry and when you had his voice with the pathos he brought to this number you can feel just how lonesome he really is.

Hear that lonesome whiperwill
He sounds to blue to fly
the midnight train is whinning low
I'm so lonesome I could cry

2.  I Flew Over Our House Last Night - Keith Whitley

This Tom T. Hall-penned tune was one Keith rarely performed live. This was recorded during a tour of Holland he embarked on just weeks before his untimely death. Keith had developed quite a following in Europe, which started with his appearance at Wembley Stadium in London and the release of his debut single in the UK, "The Birmingham Turnaround."
Listen to the pain in Keith's voice and listen to that steel guitar - now that's good music, I don't care what you say.

That old Kentucky moon was shinin’ bright as day
The stars were twinklin’ in the milky way
the pilot said if you look close there’s Frankfort on the right
I flew over our house last night
Thirty thousand feet below me you were fast asleep
Thirty thousand feet above I almost stopped to weep
So close and yet so far away, so wrong and yet so right
I flew over our house last night

3.  The Cold Hard Truth - George Jones

Between the music and the golden voice of the First Man of Country Music, George Jones this song can rip your very heart out. Jones sings of a man who gets a visit from "The cold hard truth" when his relationship goes bad.

You Don't know who I am
but I know all about you
I've come to talk to you tonight
About the things I've seen you do.
I've come to set the record straight
I've come to shine the light on you
Let me introduce myself
I'm the cold hard truth.

4.  Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash

This song is a classic that will live forever. Cash had wanted to do show and an album at Folsom for quite some time. His producers didn't think it was a good idea. Johnny perserved and decided to do it anyway so he took the theme from one of the first songs and hits he had and made a record that is still consider to be one of the most valuable pieces in American music. 

How can you not think about the lives of prisoners behind those walls when you hear Luther Perkins kick off the song with those opening notes?

In the lyrics, the jailed prisoner listens to the whistle of a train outside his cell and recounts his crimes ("I shot a man in Reno/just to watch him die"), imagines the free people inside the train ("They're probably drinking coffee and smoking big cigars") and dreams of what he would do if he were free. "I know I had it coming/I know I can't be free," sings the imprisoned man. "But those people keep a'moving/and that's what tortures me." Cash recounted how he came up with the "Reno" line: "I sat with my pen in my hand, trying to think up the worst reason a person could have for killing another person, and that's what came to mind.

5.  Where The Tall Grass Grows - George Jones

Again, no one since Hank Williams can put so much pain and longing in a song like the Possum.

There's three bedrooms, hardwood floors, and the kitchen's new
It's got everything a family needs with a backyard view
Ask anyone where it is, everybody knows
Who used to live where the tall grass grows
The couple who lived there before, they kept it up
But since they left that little yard looks a little rough
And God I miss that little boy who always kept it mowed
Wish they still lived here,where the tall grass grows

6.  He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones

"He Stopped Loving Her Today" is a song by George Jones that has been named in several surveys as the greatest country song of all time. It was a single on the album I Am What I Am. Released in 1980, the song was Jones's first No. 1 single in six years. Jones credits the song with reviving his flagging career, stating that "a four-decade career had been salvaged by a three-minute song." Jones earned the Grammy Award for Best Male Country Vocal Performance in 1980. The Academy of Country Music awarded the song Single of the Year and Song of the Year in 1980. It also became the Country Music Association's Song of the Year in both 1980 and 1981. George didn't even want to do the song, he thought "that is was so d-- sad that it would never sell".

7.  To Cold At Home - Mark Chestnutt

This is Chestnutt's best work. This song is a classic and will pull at the heart strings of any person. Many can identify with the theme of the song - no matter how hot is anywhere else, sometimes it is just too cold at home!

Well it sure feels good to come in here, and just pull up a seat
A Frosty mug of a cool one helps to beat the heat
These old dog days of summer, Lord I'll be glad when they're gone
Too hot to fish, too hot for golf
And too cold at home

8.  Your Cheatin' Heart - Hank Williams, Sr.

This song written and recorded by the  Hank Williams in 1952, but released after his death in 1953.  It is often considered one of his greatest songs, and one of the great songs of country music. The song is a slow blues ballad, telling an unfaithful lover of the guilt that she will feel for cheating on the singer.
The story goes that Williams was prompted to write the song when thinking about his first wife, Audrey Williams, while driving around with his second, Billie Jean Jones; she is supposed to have written down the lyrics for him in the passenger seat. Williams collaborated with Nashville songwriter Fred Rose to produce the song's final draft before recording the song in his last ever recording sessions, on September 23, 1952.  It was released the following year, shortly after he died, by MGM Records  and it occupied the No. 1 slot in the US country music chart for six weeks. Rolling Stone ranked it #213 on their list of the 500 Greatest Songs of All Time.
(Your cheatin' heart will tell on you)
Your cheatin' heart will make you weep
You'll cry and cry and try to sleep
But sleep won't come the whole night through
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you
When tears come down like falling rain
You'll toss around and call my name
You'll walk the floor the way
I do your cheatin' heart will tell on you
When tears come down...
Your cheatin' heart will tell on you

9.  Today I Started Loving You Again - Merle Haggard

Today I Started Loving You Again
I'm right back where I've really always been
I got over you just long enough to let my heartache mend,
then Today I Started Loving You Again.

What a fool I was to think I could get by
With only these few million tears I've cried.
I should have known the worst was yet to come.
And that crying time for me had just begun.

'Cause Today I Started Loving You Again,

I'm right back where I've really always been;

I got over you just long enough to let my heartache mend,

then Today I Started Loving You Again.

10.  Somebody Lied - Ricky Van Shelton

What a loss. Van Shelton was given a recording contract because of his tremendous talent and true country sound. The powers that be (those who committed murder on music row) wanted to "commercialize" him. After awhile he said no and walked away. He has a golden voice and the ability to break your heart with lyrics.

Yah, this is me
Lord, it's been a long, long time
I know this ain't no social call
so go ahead, get if off your mind
You heard what?
Well, it ain't true
I was here most all last nightI got over you the day you left
Could it be somebody lied?

Bonus Song Just For You!

11.  Haggard and Jones - Gregg Metcalf and Tim Watts

  For a long time I had wanted to write a tribute song to two of my most favorite singers, George Jones and Merle Haggard. I came with a title, concept, chorus and a couple verses but was stuck, not to mention I don't write music. I  was fortunate to come accross Tim Watts who not only had a great tune but polished my chorus and added his verses. Thanks to Tim Watts and his wonderful talent our song was the number two winner in a 1999 National Songwriters contest and recorded by Garry Johnson on UAR Records, Jerry Hanlon producer. I know you have heard me talk about it before. Yes, I am proud of it. 


He said
Haggard and Jones they’re the cure for the soul
When you think your life is spinning out of control
Son, your heart needs country-not rock and roll
Haggard and Jones are the cure for the soul
Just push B-11 or G-29
Let’s throw in some Hank and some old Patsy Cline
Sweet country music will be making you whole
Cause Haggard and Jones are the cure for the soul


1.  If we make Through December - Merle Haggard
2.  It's Crying Time Again - Buck Owens
3.  Hello Darling - Conway Twitty
4.  Cold Hard Facts of Life - Porter Wagoner
5.  Murder on Music Row - Alan Jackson
6.  I'm Gonna Hire a Wino (To decorate our home) - David Frizzel
7.  The Door - George Jones
8.  If You're Gonna Do Me Wrong, Do it Right - George Jones
9.  I'm Walking the Floor Over You - Ernest Tubb
10.  There Goes My Everything - Jack Greene
11.  Statue of a Fool - Jack Greene
12.  D I V O R C E - Tammy Wynette
13.  I'M A Honky Tonk Girl - Lorretta Lynn
14.  I Didn't Know God Made Honky Tonk Angels - Kitty Wells
15.  Blues Man - Hank Williams Jr. or Alan Jackson or George Jones
16.  Crazy - Patsy Cline
17.   Friends in low Places - Garth Brooks
18.   I Fall to Pieces - Patsy Cline
19.   Buck Owens - Act Naturally
20.  Easy Loving - Freddie Hart

Somebody stop me! Where do you quit?

Which song did you like the best? Why?

******** *****************************
We will resume our regularly scheduled programing tomorrow!


Seams Inspired said...

I think it's safe to assume you like music from the Country genre. ;o)

My favorite is the song by Johnny Cash. Thanks for sharing. Happy Monday! :o)

welcome to my world of poetry said...

You do like your c/w music Gregg.
I knew some of those you mentioned but I did know all the singers.
It was hard just to mention 10 but did not think to add on like you did. I would have been there all night.

Loved your choice, I don't expect you'll know any of mine,


iZombie said...

i sense you like music... both kinds country and western... kidding...
what a great selection of music
thanks for the melody's,

Lydia K said...

You have some great classic stuff on your list. Thanks for sharing!

Nicki Elson said...

Congratulations on your song winning the award! That is so awesome considering you're not even a song writer. Truly inspired, I'd say.

Um...uh, country music isn't my thing. At all. But I love your passion for it and appreciate you taking the time to include the lyrics---that way I didn't have to listen. Haha! But I'm seriously so happy this blogfest has led me to your blog, because it looks like you talk about lots of things here that I'm hungry for.

Stephen Tremp said...

I don't listen to a lot of country, but Johnny Cash has always been one of my favorites. I like Patsy Kline too. I can catch their songs on YouTube.

Clarissa Draper said...

I Love that Johnny Cash song!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You're a country boy!
I had to go with honorable mentions as well - ten was just not enough.
Thanks for participating.

M Pax said...

The man in black is always an enjoyable listen. Love the time travel with your list.

Michelle said...

Gregg Metcalf! If it wasn't already taken, I'd say you just stole my heart! I LOVE LOVE LOVE classic country. A few years back I took my mom to see Loretta in concert and almost cried!

I grew up listening to these songs and dancing around with my momma. Your "Haggard and Jones" brought to mind the ol' Judds song..."Have Mercy." I would add a little Donna Fargo, too. My favorite Loretta song is Fist City.

How fun!

Kelly said...

Even though I'm a rocker girl, I can appreciate Johnny Cash.
I loved the movie, "Walk the Line" and have his songs on my iPod!

Michelle said...

Oh...and what an awesome voice you have!

Wendy Tyler Ryan said...

I grew up with the older stuff you have here. My dad played in a Country Western band as they used to call them when I was really little.

Tara said...

I never got into country. But old country is hubby's favorite stuff :)

Arlee Bird said...

Why am I not surprised about your list being country? Of your top 10 my favorite has to be "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry". The first time I ever heard this song was a sort of R & B version done by P.J. Proby in 1966. I thought it was one of the most beautiful songs I'd ever heard--had no idea it had originally been a country song.

Your collaborative effort is a darn good song.

Make sure you check my Wednesday post!
Tossing It Out

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm not a country music person, but I watched "Walk the Line" and Johnny Cash's story was fascinating!

Melissa Bradley said...

You have some great tunes here that really take me back to my childhood and road trips to my grandpa's house. Great songs. Love Merle and Johnny.


Yee Haw ! Great List ! :-)

Stephen T. McCarthy said...

Hey, man, your song was pretty darn good! And I mean that!

I'll be honest with you: I'm no Merle Haggard fan. But your song about Merle and Jones I liked.

By the way, did you ever read Waylon Jennings' autobiography? He tells one short story about George Jones that was really funny. Waylon actually had to tie Jones up because he was so drunk and out-of-control at Waylon's house.

Anyway, that's a good song you wrote. Coulda been a hit, if ya ask me.

~ D-FensDogg
'Loyal American Underground'

Jennie Bailey said...

How fun to finally see some country!! You've got some great songs here. I agree with you about Hank Williams voice. I think that I'm So Lonesome would have to be my favorite on this list!

Alicia Gregoire said...

As you probably guessed from my list, I'm not a country listener. That said, I did recognize (and knew!) a quite a few on your list. Folsom Prison Blues would've made my Honorable Mention list, actually.

Kansas Bob said...

Hank Williams and Johnny Cash - Country doesn't get any better than that!

Deniz Bevan said...

Great list! I remember the first time I heard Tammy Wynette's Golden Ring, I was crying for quite a while afterward; I love songs that tell stories.