Great Country Songs From the 1970s, Pt. 3

Paul W. Dennis | May 20th, 2009

Same admonition as before. Just some songs I liked, one song per artist.

Silver Wings” – Jim & Jon Hager (1970)
Since Hag issued the song as a B side (“Workin’ Man Blues” was the A side) this version is the only charting version of Hag’s classic. The Hager Twins do a nice job with the song, although it only reached #59 on the charts .

I Can’t Be Myself” – Merle Haggard (1970)
My all-time favorite Merle Haggard recording, thus song went to #1 on Cashbox. Frankly, picking an all-time favorite Hag song is a hopeless proposition as he is the most consistently great artist of all time. Hag wrote about fifty #1 songs, the most of any songwriter

I Can’t Dance” – Tom T. Hall (1970)
“I Can’t Dance, I Never Could, I Guess My Feet Don’t Match“
Tom T tells my story with the lyrics to this song. This song was never a single but was an album track on One Hundred Children, which despite the saccharin of the title track remains my favorite Tom T Hall album

Country Music In My Soul” – George Hamilton IV (1972)
I’ve always had this condition. My favorite GH4 song, it only got as high as #63, although it did well in some regional markets

Lovin’ Man” – Arlene Hardin (1970)
This is the female take on Orbison’s “Pretty Woman”. I don’t know why Ms Harden didn’t make it big. This was her biggest hit, reaching #13, although she’s better remembered for “He’s A Good Ole Boy” which Chely Wright put on her debut album, or as part of the Hardin Trio, who had a Cashbox #1 in 1966 with. “Tippy Toeing”.

Blue Jean Country Queen” – Linda Hargrove (1974)
This song barely cracked the top 100. Linda was an underrated performer who is better remembered as a songwriter. Johnny Rodriguez took her “Just Get Up and Close the Door” to the top of the charts.

Too Far Gone” – Emmylou Harris (1979)
Not one of her bigger hits but a fine effort.

My Hang-Up Is You” – Freddie Hart (1972)
The follow up to “Easy Loving” and actually a bigger chart hit, spending six weeks at #1. I think of this song sometimes after an argument with my wife, an argument which always finds me giving in !

Dixie Belle” – Stan Hitchcock (1970)
Stan is more important on the business side of the equation than as a performer. He was director of CMT, has been a DJ, record producer and television personality. This charming song deserved better than its #54 chart position.

Richard and The Cadillac Kings” – Doyle Holly (1974)
Richard and his band play country music out of tune every weekend at a local watering hole. They’re not good but they are enthusiastic, like many bar bands I’ve heard over the years. Doyle was a member of Buck Owens’ Buckaroos during their prime years of 1963-1970. A genuinely funny performer, Doyle passed away in 2007.

I Do My Swinging At Home” – David Houston (1970)
One of many fine songs Houston recorded during the early 1970s

Rock Me Back To Little Rock” – Jan Howard (1970)
Jan only had five top twenty hits as a solo artist – this wasn’t one of them. She is best remembered for her duets with Wynn Stewart and Bill Anderson

I’ve Been Waiting For You All of My Life” – Con Hunley (1979)
I Think of Con Hunley as more of a “blue-eyed soul singer” than as a country singer but his smoky voice sure sounded good. This song made it to #14. Con never had a top ten hit although there were markets in which he did very well. He recently came out of retirement and has website where his 70s & 80s music can be purchased, as well as some newer music http://www.conhunley.com/

Within My Lovin’ Arms” – Kenni Huskey (1972)
Kenni was part of the Buck Owens show, and Buck wrote this song for her to sing. Even though it topped out at #74, you can get a copy of this recording at CD Baby along with the demo track Buck laid out for her

Heavenly Sunshine” – Ferlin Husky (1970)
Reached #10 on Cashbox, Ferlin’s last top ten hit and a great song

You’re The One” – Jerry Inman (1975)
This is the same song that the Oak Ridge Boys took to #1 (Cashbox) several years later. This is the better version, with prominent steel guitar and a bit more up tempo. Inman won the most promising new artist award at the ACM in 1975 and then largely disappeared

Me and You And A Dog Named Boo” – Stonewall Jackson (1971)
The last top ten hit for Stonewall Jackson, this following four years after the previous top ten. This cover of a Lobo hit reached #1 in some markets but Stonewall was always too country for country radio

In The Jailhouse Now” – Sonny James (1977)
After his string of twenty-six #1 records came to a halt, Sonny started recording projects that interested him, rather than aiming for chart success. This cover of a Jimmie Rodgers classic, recorded with the Tennessee State Prison Band at a live concert is a lot of fun. Trumpets effectively take the place of the Jimmie Rodgers blue yodel

Brown Eyed Handsome Man” – Waylon Jennings (1970)
A good cover of a Chuck Berry classic – this reached #1 on Record World making it Waylon’s first #1 record.

The Golden Rocket” – Jim & Jesse (1970)
A bluegrass take on a Hank Snow classic, this song reached the top forty, which was a rarity for a bluegrass act

Send Me Some Lovin’ ” – Lois Johnson & Hank Williams, Jr. (1972)
A nice duet on a Fats Domino hit from 1959

Take A Letter Maria” – Anthony Armstrong Jones (1970)
A Conway Twitty protégé, AAJ did not enjoy nearly the success of his mentor. This cover of an RB Greaves pop hit went to #8 and was his biggest hit. Born Ronnie Jones in 1949, AAJ passed away a number of years

A Good Year For The Roses” – George Jones (1970)
#1 Cashbox – I could have picked any of twenty songs George recorded in the 1970s. This was one of his last Musicor hits

Say You’ll Stay Until Tomorrow” – Tom Jones (1977)
Okay – so he’s not a country singer. Tom Jones was a heck of a singer and could tackle country songs effectively. This got to #1, and deservedly so.

Read other playlists in the Great Country Songs from the 1970s series:

  1. J.R. Journey
    May 20, 2009 at 11:26 am

    I’ve been listening to these songs, but the only one I am familiar with is the George Jones track. Thanks again for schooling me.

  2. J.R. Journey
    May 20, 2009 at 11:27 am

    Oh, and I remember ‘Take A Letter, Maria’ too.

  3. Rick
    May 20, 2009 at 5:26 pm

    I enjoy these articles Paul, but I’m still not biting on 70′s country. Many of the songs you list are very good, but apart from the great artists like The Hag, Waylon, and George Jones the other stuff just doesn’t grab me. Its obvious you love this decade of country music and sharing these songs you consider “hidden gems” with 9513 readers. Its probably just as well you didn’t pick the 60′s and the list would be unmanagably large…

  4. Angie
    May 20, 2009 at 9:46 pm

    I totally agree on Con Hunley. That is one hot hunk of a man and that voice – ooh yeah. I don’t know why he didn’t make it big in country music, he was good as they come.

  5. David B
    May 20, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    Paul mentioned Narvel Felts in part 2 of the 70′s songs, “Reconsider Me”. Does anyone remember, “Somebody Hold Me, Until She Passes By” by Narvel?. I very seldom hear that one anymore. True Country 100% and it gives me chills.

  6. Paul W Dennis
    May 21, 2009 at 9:12 am

    Somebody Hold Me is available on several CDs

    Here’s a limited discography

    http://www.the9513.com/forgotten-artists-narvel-felts/

  7. Natalie
    September 21, 2009 at 11:43 am

    Hi I work for the Oxford American magazine and I’m interested in Jerry Inman’s music. I know that he is best known for his record of Beatles bluegrass covers. However I’m having trouble locating any biographical information for Mr. Inman. If anyone knows anything about him or could put me in touch with someone who might, please email me: editorial8@oxfordamerican.org

    Thanks for your help !

    Natalie

  8. Chris Shaw
    November 17, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I was a close friend of Jerry’s back in 1973-1975 and then lost track of him. I would love to know how he is doing and be able to get in touch with him. If you can help please e-mail.

    Thank you, Chris

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