Friday Five: Kitty Wells Answer Songs
Kitty Wells is the queen of country music. She’s also the queen of answer songs. Here are my five favorites.
- 5. “My Cold, Cold Heart Is Melted Now” – Kitty Wells
Though it borrows its title from another Hank Williams classic, this one’s set to the tune of “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” If you’ve ever been done wrong, there’s some comfort in hearing Wells sing from the wrong-doer’s perspective “I go to bed but only weep/My cold, cold heart won’t let me sleep…My tears pour down like falling rain/Through restless sleep I call your name.”
- 4. “Hey Joe” – Kitty Wells
This one’s a companion to Carl Smith’s “Hey Joe,” with Wells’ filling in the lady’s thoughts as she sings “Hey Joe, go put on your dancin’ shoes/And I’ll help you forget your blues/I’ve simply got to have you for my own.” Sounds like Joe’s girl-stealing pal from the Smith song is outta luck.
- 3. “I’ll Always Be Your Fraulein” – Kitty Wells
This top 10 hit in ’57 was a response to Bobby Helms’ chart topper “Fraulein.” Here Wells is singing from the perspective of that “old German’s daughter” who’s an ocean away from her true love. Maybe it’s for the best that the two are separated: “I’ll Always Be Your Hausfrau” just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
- 2. “I’m Paying For That Back Street Affair” – Kitty Wells
This response to Webb Pierce’s #1 hit went to #6 in 1953. Here Wells laments ever getting involved with a married man, singing “The love I gave so free/Is left to torture me” Sounds like paying for that back street affair involves a scorching case of the clap.
- 1. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels” – Kitty Wells
It was this response to Hank Thompson’s “The Wild Side of Life” that catapulted Wells to the top of the charts in 1952, making her the first female solo artist with a #1 country song. “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels,” is, in my opinion, one of the most important songs in country music history. It’s also damn good.