Friday Five: Hookers with Hearts of Gold
Perhaps some of you are thankful for your friendly neighborhood sex worker this Thanksgiving. Or you just want to hear some songs about them. The five ladies of the night mentioned below could give Julia Roberts’ Pretty Woman a run for her money.
5. Statler Brothers – “Bed of Rose’s”
Rose, a madam who is shunned by the more pious townspeople, takes in a homeless, panhandling orphan half her age. She immediately wipes away his childhood, which is less heartwarming, but then they fall in love, so we’re back to heartwarming again.
4. Darrell Scott – “Rhonda’s Last Ride”
Okay, the song starts with Rhonda’s suicide, but despite a lifetime of troubles that began with an abusive father, she sounds like a decent enough woman who ended up old and jaded before her time: “She was fond of the ladies and good to the men / And she could take you ‘bout anywhere that you’d never been / Though I’d never touched her, we walked every day / Heading west down Sunset, talking our lives away.”
3. Randy Travis – “Three Wooden Crosses”
The 2003 CMA Song of the Year (written by Kim Williams and Doug Johnson) is one of Travis’ biggest hits – and it’s got one of the best twist endings in country music.
2. Johnny Darrell – “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp”
This song, penned by Dallas Frazier and recorded by Merle Haggard, Kenny Rogers, The Country Gentlemen, and others, is a doozy: when a woman’s good-for-nothin’ husband leaves her and their 14 kids, she’s forced to “sacrifice her pride” and turn on the red light in order to provide for her family. After her passing, her kids leave cards and bouquets of 14 roses on her grave every week. Sounds like she raised them right, though you’d think, considering their upbringing, they’d be a little more frugal – roses ain’t cheap.
1. Bobbie Gentry – “Fancy”
Who doesn’t love a story of upward mobility? This song’s protagonist makes no apologies for who she had to “charm” to get where she is. After all, living in a Georgia mansion is better than dying impoverished and malnourished in a shack.
- bob: Thanks Barry. Just reserved the Adam Gussow book. Sounds interesting.
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- luckyoldsun: "The Night The Lights Went Out in Georgia" seems to be about a lynching--even if there's something about a judge …
- Arlene: Sorry. I meant to give the link for "Supper Time." http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sZ58Kfe41kI
- Arlene: Another song sung by Ethel Waters: Irving Berlin's "Supper Time"
- bob: Powerful songs. I read the book "A Lynching in the Heartland" by James H. Madison about a dozen years ago. …
- Ron: Sky Above, Mud Below by Tom Russell is another.
- Jack Williams: Another Othis Taylor song from White African is "My Soul's in Louisiana."