Friday Five: Country Stars and Their Cars

Juli Thanki | January 8th, 2010

They just don’t make cars—or country singers—like they used to.

  • Roadhouse Riot and Other Songs With Words5. “Ol’ Webb’s Bullhorn Pontiac” – Gin Palace Jesters

    There are countless Nudie suits floating around out there, but only a few Nudie cars. Webb Pierce’s ’62 Bonneville was decorated with over 300 silver dollars, six-shooters, and longhorns. The unabashedly old school Gin Palace Jesters, fronted by Pennsylvania Dave Sisson, sing that the Webb-mobile was “stranger than a UFO in East Tennessee”, and Pierce himself “the ostentatious king of all the honkytonks and bars.”

  • Your Man4. “Loretta Lynn’s Lincoln” – Josh Turner

    Deep-voiced Turner gets playful on this goofy tune in which he gets Dolly Parton to hop in the Coal Miner’s Daughter’s Lincoln and then…just drives around and lip synchs to the radio with her. Even in his fantasies, that Josh Turner sure is a gentleman.

  • Satisfied3. “Hank’s Cadillac” – Ashley Monroe

    Hank Williams’ early death is one of music’s greatest tragedies, even as it cemented his place in the country music pantheon. On this gorgeous cut from Satisfied Monroe imagines what she’d do if she were in the car with him that fateful New Year’s Eve in 1952: “I’d have kept him up all night/I wouldn’t let him close his eyes/Made him sing ‘I Saw the Light’ ’til he sobered up again/I’d have kept the coffee strong/Oh, I could have kept him hanging on.” Someone get this woman a flux capacitor.

  • Black Cadillac2. “Black Cadillac” – Rosanne Cash

    On this gutwrenching tribute to her father, Cash notices the similarity between the black Caddies Johnny used to drive and the one that took him to his final resting place, mournfully realizing “One of us gets to go to heaven/One of us has to stay here in hell.

  • The Dirty South1. “Carl Perkins’ Cadillac” – Drive-By Truckers

    The #1 spot on this week’s list goes to five and a half minutes of flawless Southern rock from modern classic The Dirty South. This must-listen is a damn fine tribute to Sam Phillips and the artists of Sun Records’ golden age.

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  1. Paul W Dennis
    January 8, 2010 at 2:06 pm

    I’d go with Hot Rod Lincoln by Charlie Ryan, later also a hit for Johnny Bond and for Commander Cody

    Webbs vehicle is pictured on the album cover of Cross Country Webb Pierce

  2. TimeO
    January 8, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    Long Black Cadillac (written by Dave Alvin, covered by Dwight Yoakam) was an earlier song mining the same topic as Ashley Monroe’s song.

  3. TimeO
    January 8, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    Thought of this one as soon as I hit “Submit” on my previous post: John Hiatt’s “Tennessee Plates” is a great song about Elvis’s propensity to give cadillacs to his friends. That general theme is also touched on in Hiatt’s “Riding with the King”

  4. Erik
    January 8, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    “Cadillac Red” by The Judds is another great one.

  5. Juli
    January 8, 2010 at 2:21 pm

    Love “Long White Cadillac,” and here’s “Tennessee Plates” for anyone who’s interested:

    You’ve got good taste, TimeO ;-)

  6. Razor X
    January 8, 2010 at 2:23 pm

    Dont’ forget Dolly’s White Limozeen.

  7. Jake
    January 8, 2010 at 2:24 pm

    George Jones: The One I loved back then – also a good one.

  8. Ben Milam
    January 8, 2010 at 3:15 pm

    matt powell – black cadillac
    jack ingram – mustang burn
    john hiatt – drive south
    drive by truckers – daddy’s cup, the tough sell (with that fine Corinthian leather just made for love)

  9. Noeller
    January 8, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Seriously? No Alan Jackson “Mercury Blues”??? The ultimate Country car buff got hosed on this list! I’d also like to nominate Jeff Carson’s “The Car” – one of my all time faves.

  10. Lanibug
    January 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm

    While Hank’s Cadillac is probably one of my favorite songs – Johnny Cash’s “One Piece at a Time” has to be the classic car song.

  11. Juli
    January 8, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    It’s not solely a car playlist…there’s no way I could narrow that down to my favorite five. It’s a list featuring country singers singing about other country singers and the cars they drove, which is why 4 of the five titles are based around this formula: “[Legendary Singer]’s [Type of Car].”

    Though I thought the songs themselves were self evident of the this week’s theme, the post title wasn’t entirely clear, so my bad.

  12. Bob
    January 8, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    “Daddy’s Oldsmobile” by Hal Ketchum from his 1992 cd “Sure Love”, written by Hal and David Mallett.

  13. Leeann Ward
    January 8, 2010 at 3:48 pm

    Again, great list! I’m glad Turner’s goofy car song made the cut and I, of course, love the Monroe song.:)

  14. Noeller
    January 8, 2010 at 3:57 pm

    Ahhhh – the title is a bit confusing, and I definitely misunderstood. Good list, Juli!!

  15. nm
    January 8, 2010 at 4:10 pm

    Well, Timeo beat me to suggesting “Tennessee Plates.” I wouldn’t bother repeating it if it weren’t Elvis’s birthday today. But since it is ….

  16. TexasVet
    January 8, 2010 at 4:59 pm

    Would Kathy Mattea’s “455 Rocket” qualify?

  17. KathyP
    January 8, 2010 at 5:33 pm

    Oh gosh. More $$ to itunes for the ones I’ve always like but don’t have. Damn, this website is getting expensive.

  18. Rick
    January 8, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Hey, does Southern Pacific’s cover of the Springsteen song “Pink Cadillac” qualify? That song features the lamest bass guitar solo “jam” by ex-CCR (that’s Creedence not Cross) member Stu Cook ever recorded in a live performance! It still makes me shudder every time I listen…

    PS – That Model-T Ford was a definite major player in Justin Tubb and Goldie Hill’s “Lookin’ Back To See”!

  19. Steve from Boston
    January 8, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Great choice, Texasvet, with KM’s “455 Rocket” Great song and great video.

    A little OT, but one trend I like in country music videos is the use of vintage American cars, and muscle cars. I’ve seen a steady stream of cars like Shelby Cobras, Classic Cudas, Mustangs, Cougars, Camaros, Ford Galaxie’s, 59 Caddys…sometimes the cars are the best thing about the videos! (with the exception of the 59 Caddy Patty Loveless drives in “Nothing But the Wheel” in that case Patty and the song itself are the best ;) )

  20. Steve Harvey
    January 10, 2010 at 7:14 am

    I heartily second every John Hiatt song referenced, but Tennessee Plates is the most appropriate here – and a killer song.

  21. Steve M.
    January 10, 2010 at 10:53 am

    The Bottle Rockets-“Indianapolis.” It tells the other side of the story, when your car breaks down and leaves you stranded.

  22. Ben Milam
    January 10, 2010 at 4:13 pm

    and $1000 car steve m.

  23. Truersound
    January 12, 2010 at 8:12 am

    you guys totally didn’t (and still don’t) get the theme here!

    Interesting that even when Juli goes esoteric with her list she still gets a ton of “hey what about….” posts. hahahaha!

  24. Drew
    January 18, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    Hi Juli! Thanks for giving the Gin Palace Jesters some well deserved exposure. Great list!

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