Here Russell contemplates the construction of a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border and asks what would happen should “Uncle Sam [send] the illegals” home: “Who’s gonna mow your lawn?/Who’s gonna cook your Mexican food/When your Mexican maid is gone?” Russell sings that he “ain’t got no politics,” but he sure can write a decent song or two.
Lots of artists have recorded this song under various titles, including the Everly Brothers, Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston. I like this version from Washburn’s solo debut, Song of the Traveling Daughter, as she–accompanied by her trusty banjo–puts a feminine spin on the traditional lyrics.
“Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes?” hit #3 in ’85. 25 years later we’re still asking the same question.
1. “Who’s Gonna Take Your Garbage Out” – Loretta Lynn and Ernest Tubb
The Texas Troubadour is my favorite duet partner for Lynn, and the two of them are excellent here on this playful “he said, she said” song from1969’s If We Put Our Heads Together. That album is only available on vinyl, so if you’re not one who enjoys haunting your local record store, Rosie Flores and Jon Langford did an excellent version of this song on Flores’ album Girl of the Century.
Juli Thanki is the editor of Engine 145 and a freelance writer whose work has appeared in the Washington Post, Bluegrass Unlimited, and M Music & Musicians Magazine. In 2011 she received the International Bluegrass Music Association Print Media Person of the Year award.