Saturday, 26 March 2011

Kitty Wells Answers Back

Carnival Saloon regulars with long memories will know that I love 'answer songs'. In my recent post about Wanda Jackson's My Big Iron Skillet I mentioned Kitty Wells' 1952 single It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels, which was an answer song to Hank Thompson's The Wild Side of Life.

What I didn't know until someone commented about that post on Facebook was that Kitty's second big hit Paying For That Back Street Affair was an answer song to the Webb Pierce track Back Street Affair. (If the name Webb Pierce means nothing to you watch this rendition of There Stands The Glass - one of my all-time favourite country songs).

Here are both of Kitty's songs and the gents who unwittingly inspired them.

MP3: Hank Thompson - The Wild Side of Life

Buy Hank Thomson - Vintage Collections at Amazon

MP3: Kitty Wells - It Wasn't God That Made Honky Tonk Angels

Buy Kitty Wells - The Collection at Amazon

MP3: Webb Pierce - Back Street Affair

Buy Webb Pierce - More And More at Amazon

MP3: Kitty Wells - Paying For That Back Street Affair

Buy Kitty Wells - The Collection at Amazon

Kitty Wells, by the way, is still alive. She's 91! Her entry in Wikipedia provides a thorough overview for those wanting to find out more about this country music pioneer.

Do tell me what you make of these tracks and if you have any favourite answer songs I might not know please leave a comment below.

Related Links
King of the Road, Queen of the House - another pair of classic answer songs
Wanda Jackson - My Big Iron Skillet - fantastic protofeminist twang

Monday, 21 March 2011

State Songs #23: Michigan

You thought I'd given up? I'm making no promises as to when this journey will end but, at last, I'm back on my musical journey around the United States.

Before the tunes, one great piece of trivia about the Great Lake State. Did you know that Michigan is home to the self-proclaimed "magic capital of the world"? That's Colon, Michigan, the world's largest manufacturer of magic supplies. Me neither.

Right, let's get to it.

MP3: Sufjan Stevens - Say Yes! to M!ch!gan!

It would have been silly to have a Michigan post without a track from Sufjan's album about his home state. I'm still disappointed that his own musical trip round America foundered after just two states.
Buy Greetings from Michigan at Amazon

MP3: Josh Rouse - Michigan

I've grown a bit tired of Josh Rouse in recent years; he just hasn't released anything particularly exciting. This is from a disc simply called Rarities that comes with the DVD The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse.
Buy The Smooth Sounds of Josh Rouse at Amazon

MP3: Bobby Bare - Detroit City

A Grammy-winning bona fide country classic, the lyrics of which suggest the Motor City just wasn't the place for poor Bobby.
Buy The Essential Bobby Bare at Amazon

MP3: Lefty Frizzell - Saginaw, Michigan

The song mis-situates the city on Saginaw Bay, about 15 miles to the north. It's another classic and in 1964 reached number one in the country charts.
Buy Leftty Frizzell - That's the Way Life Goes at Amazon

As always, tell me what you think of the selections and let me know what I've left off the list. Hopefully the next instalment won't take 12 months to arrive!

Neighbouring States
State Songs #15: Indiana

The Journey So Far
State Songs - links to every post on this musical road trip

Monday, 14 March 2011

Wanda Jackson - My Big Iron Skillet

Until this morning I thought my favourite song to mention a skillet was definitely by Woody Guthrie but listening to a Wanda Jackson compilation on my way to work reminded me that perhaps this is the greatest frying pan song ever written.

MP3 Wanda Jackson - My Big Iron Skillet

Buy Wanda Jackson - Rockin the Country at Amazon

Whatever Tammy Wynette's intention, songs like Stand By Your Man don't help the argument that country music isn't a genre where women know their place and that place is wherever men tell them to be.

But there's a great tradition of country songs by women that show them not only standing up to men but telling fellas what's what in no uncertain terms.

My Big Iron Skillet is definitely one of best of a list that includes Kitty Wells' It Wasn't God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels and Loretta Lynn's classic Don't Come Home A Drinkin' (With Lovin' On Your Mind).

Which got me thinking. If we were making a compilation, let's call it A Feminist's Introduction to Country Music, what should be on it? Do leave a comment below.

Related Links
Wanda Jackson - official site; the Queen of Rockabilly is still going strong

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