Friday Five: Tornadoes

Juli Thanki | October 15th, 2010

If you’ve never had the pleasure of living in tornado country, huddle in your cellar for a while and listen to a few songs that have been written about it.

  • A: Enlightenment B: Endarkenment5. “Tornado Ripe” – Ray Wylie Hubbard

    This gritty dirge is from Hubbard’s most recent album, A. Enlightenment B. Endarkenment (Hint: There is No C). To a kid, an approaching tornado looks and sounds as though “God Himself was belchin’ and growlin’ and spittin’ on the ground.”

  • The Dirty South4. “Tornadoes” – Drive-By Truckers

    Patterson Hood wrote this song about the destruction left in a twister’s wake in 1988, 16 years before it appeared on modern Southern rock masterpiece The Dirty South. According to him, it was inspired by “two tornadoes, two Music Biz guys from Nashville, one empty theatre, one front-page headline, and ‘too many g——– train songs.'”

  • The Essential Porter Wagoner3. “Big Wind” – Porter Wagoner

    This one, a Top 3 hit for Wagoner in ’69, is a pretty jaunty tune even as it features a father warning “Hurry up, son, be quick, don’t stall/You know we can’t be slow/Take the kids and get below/If we don’t hurry it’ll surely get us all.” Spoiler alert: the father dies. Doyle Lawson & Quicksilver did an excellent version of this song for Lonely Street.

  • I See It Now2. “Texas Tornado” – Tracy Lawrence

    Bobby Braddock wrote this single that topped the charts in 1995. Okay, so technically it’s about some whirlwind of a woman and not a literal tornado, but I love the cheesy special effects in the video, and you can’t go wrong with Lawrence’s lovely voice. Oh, and you also can’t go wrong with Doug Sahm’s song that has the same title and is about an actual tornado.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=673z5uD84UM

  • Workbench Songs1. “Tornado Time in Texas” – Guy Clark

    Here Clark sings of a twister so powerful it’ll “blow the tattoo off your arm.” And that’s not even counting the paintless barn, the pickup truck stuck in the tree or poor Uncle Clarence, who was minding his own business in the outhouse ’til the storm dumped him in the yard.

  1. Ollie
    October 15, 2010 at 9:49 am

    Another good list. I also like Neko Case’s “This Tornado Loves You” from her recent album, Middle Cyclone. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_FhVbyeWFvo

  2. Stormy
    October 15, 2010 at 10:31 am

    Dolly Parton also did a good cover of Big Wind.

  3. Jason
    October 15, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    No love for Jason Boland’s “Blowin’ Through The Hills?”

  4. Mayor JoBob
    October 15, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    All of Tracy Lawrence’s videos from the early 90s were linked together by that effect. It was some time traveler concept thingy.

  5. Jon
    October 16, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    No “Cyclone Of Rye Cove?”

  6. Noeller
    October 18, 2010 at 6:24 pm

    I woulda found a way to spin Shania’s “No One Needs To Know” into this list, since it’s from the “Twister” movie soundtrack — ha ha!

    Great list though and love the Tracy Lawrence mention. Very excited to see him up north next month!

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