Day 89: Your favorite country song.

“Blue Boy” – Jim Reeves

Blue BoyI’ve mentioned before that country music isn’t high up on my list of preferred genres. But, I did grow up with it. As I’ve stated before, my parents were fans of the “hillbilly music” and so, for much of my early childhood, that’s what I heard. There wasn’t a lot I could do about it. It’s validation of the advertising maxim that repetition will make you remember things, even if you don’t like it.

The problem is, I do like some of it. And this galls me more than you know. Whether it’s sheer nostalgia, brainwashing or something else, I can’t say. But there it is. So, I do in fact have a favorite country song. There are a bunch, actually, but I wanted to pick something that was really country. As opposed to something that was a major crossover hit, because the crossover seems to make it “less country,” somehow.

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“Blue Boy” is one of those songs from my childhood. Jim Reeves was blessed with a rich, baritone voice. Accounts vary as to whether it was Reeves himself or producers who wanted him to use higher registers and who conversely “won out” with the result being his use of said baritone. Either way, once he started using it, it became his trademark and his golden ticket.

“Blue Boy” was one of his earlier hits, and is a little more “country” than some of the later material. It begins with a walking bass line and piano riff, and then he kicks in with that voice. This song struck a chord with me long ago and has not let go in the intervening years.

Reeves had a long string of country (and crossover) hits subsequent to “Blue Boy” before a 1964 plane crash cut his life short. (Did you ever notice how many musicians and singers have died in plane crashes? Granted, they tend to do an inordinate amount of traveling, and many of the ones I’m thinking of died in the 50s and 60s when plane travel wasn’t what it is today. But even so, that list is really long.) Savvy marketing on the part of his wife kept him on the charts well into the 70s. This is likely why the Jim Reeves 8-Tracks infiltrated the house.

Close runners-up for today’s post are two songs by the Statler Brothers. It pains me to admit it, but I have a very large soft spot for these guys, too. Yes, I own a few albums. I will now hang my head in shame. Trust me, I’m hanging it, even if you can’t see it.

“Do You Know You Are My Sunshine?” is a very typical, twangy country song. I should, by all rights, hate this song. And then there’s “Who Am I To Say?” This one is less typically twangy, but it is without a doubt in the country fold. Hearing either of these songs puts me back in the living room of our house in Pennsylvania, circa 1979. I can see the green-hued wallpaper and visualize how the room is set up. I have to believe this time transport is all part of the reason I like them today.

And, truth be told, if I wasn’t being picky about the crossover thing, “I Love A Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt would probably have won out. I love this song. I love the beat, the music, the lyrics. When this was popular I used to bop around the roller-skating rink to it. I remember one night one of my friends coming over to me and saying in horror: “Everyone is looking at you!” To which I replied, “so?”

Somewhere along the line that ability to simply not care got beaten out of me. (Junior high can be rough.)

I’d like to get that back.

Do you think if I went to a roller rink they’d play “I Love A Rainy Night” for me?