Ungrammatical as it is, the phrase clearly gets the idea across that it’s a matter of “class” to dance with whoever “brung you” to the dance. Not cool to come with one guy and then go off and spend all your time with somebody else.
These songs and the original singers made significant impacts on me over the years, so this collection is a sort of double tribute, both to the singers and to the writers.
I wanted to reach back into my own history for my earliest musical influences, and of course, the list got pretty long really quickly. Doing songs made famous by others is a dangerous game, since it’s as likely you’ll come off poorly by comparison as not.
Great songs stand the test of time though, and some really ought to be re-made now and again. We’ve deliberately tried to put our own touch on these, in some cases, a decidedly more country flavor than the popular original, something that might actually be more true to the original writer’s vision.
Here we’re having a bit of fun with some, but all of these have had a personal impact for me, and while they come from different genres we’re putting a country spin on them.
Notably, there’s a mix of purely country, some rock and roll, some that move between. The common thread is also found in the R&B kind of blues, a mournfulness over love gone wrong, what might have been, or even what might be, yet to come. Sometimes the “system” is the villain, and the poor and downtrodden are speaking their piece, and keeping their spirits up with the music. The old spirituals are certainly in this vein, and so is 16 Tons.
The first song I can remember singing in the mid-50s (and I’m not deliberately ignoring all the gospel music I was exposed to, just can’t recall any in particular) was in “Sugar in the Morning” (Sugartime, McGuire Sisters), but I just couldn’t do that one. Too sweet I guess.
Next to Tom Dooley, but Steve Earle just put out an interesting version, so we’ll let that one age a bit more.
Central Question by Art Greenshaw
All others by Ernest Wylie Harkins and Susan E. Harkins