Women who gave the “Stand By Your Man” classic country girl image the bird
by Stephanie Vossekuil
I’ve always been a fan of ass-kicking in general and when it comes to classic country, unfortunately, some of the most popular ladies in its history have been forced to adopt that southern belle, baby’s mama material, doe-eyed flavor of twang that I find to be particularly distasteful. But there’s more fun to be had out there, with songs that kick that pile of horse pucky aside, sung by women who filled their glasses to the brim with gin and fought hard and strong for what they desired.
Loretta Lynn – “If You’re Not Gone Too Long”
Loretta is true to the one she loves, but she’s a woman, flesh and blood, and knows that hornyness is like a ticking time bomb so you better git on home you cheatin’ scoundrel, you; before she nails someone else!
Dolly Parton – “Dumb Blonde”
Yes, that busty, bottle-blonde country icon knows you think she’s not sittin’ on a full bale of hay, but goddamnit, she’s here to let you know that she’s nobody’s fool and her elevator does go all the way up.
Jeanie C. Riley – “Harper Valley P.T.A.”
Written by that good ol’ singin’ storyteller, Tom T. Hall, this track is about a fiery mama who tells the P.T.A. of her daughter’s school that accuses her of being too promiscuous to take a long one. With Riley’s saucy delivery drenched in raw attitude, it’s no surprise that this track became an instant classic.
The Miller Sisters – “Someday You Will Pay”
Probably one of the more obscure artists on this list, this ’50’s duo eventually moved to a more rockabilly sound, but not before backhanding the tar outta the masses with this catty single. Karma is a regular bitch, and it will have that heart-breaking sucker in tears for what he’s done.
Polly Possum and Joe Wolverton with the Dog Patch Boys – “Don’t Talk to me About Men”
Post WWII country of the hillbilly persuasion was laden with grime and reeking of last night’s booze. This lonesome ditty is no exception. Also, instead of lamenting over the man and what went wrong, Miss Possum wearily sings, “Don’t talk to me about men, just fill my glass up with gin…”
Jessi Colter – “You Ain’t Never Been Loved (Like I’m Gonna Love You)”
This smokin’ hot lady outlaw is most often remembered for her meandering (and quite frankly, annoying) hit song, “I’m Not Lisa”, but on the same side of its debut album, a forgotten sultry number awaits with peering bedroom eyes. Here’s the earliest country song that I can think of where a woman is reveling in her own sexual prowess and exerting a traditionally more dominant role. Jessi Colter will ruin all subsequent sex for you.
[Sorry, couldn’t find a video of Minnie’s version of this one]
Minnie Pearl – “Careless Love”
This old blues classic, the origins of which, are uncertain, was a track that the legendary Minnie Pearl would frequently use to open or close her live shows. The ragtime piano and goofy banter lighten up this otherwise high intensity track that ends with the shooting of said careless love.
Kitty Wells – “It Wasn’t God Who Made Honky Tonk Angels”
In 1952, Miss Wells had an astonishing breakthrough hit with this song. Not only was it one of the first country songs sung by a woman that was actually recorded and widely distributed, but it directly called into question the sexual double standard that was prevalent at the time and essentially blames married men with a wandering eye for that blessed increase of otherwise good-moralled christian women in your local bar.
Fu Manchu if it Suits You: The Action is Go and Your Opportunity to Burn some Road
by Stephanie Vossekuil
I’ve been cruisin’ hard as of late to some serious Fu. The Action is Go has been on heavy rotation in my day to day and I have officially become obsessed. Though it was released going on 15 years now in October on Mammoth, it has taken me a while to fully engage (I must have been about nine when it hit the shelves and was much more interested in radio-friendly Metallica and Ozzy Osbourne), but I am pleased to emerge victorious once again from my ongoing quest for hard-hitting, LSD-laced jams. One of my super slow rockin’ classic rock guy buddies introduced me to this album a few months back and I haven’t returned since. I’m sure most of you know it, maybe have listened to it countless times, but its praise bears repeating. Plus, I can’t shut the hell up about it.
The Action is Go instantly transports you to the throws of the best acid trip you’ve ever been on. It’s tasty tuneage for “big kids.” There’s all the heaviness you could wish for in a stoner band, plus the added bonus of silly overtones that remind you of your days as a wee lad. The album flawlessly transitions between more peppy skate riffs and lingering ice cream smooth breakdowns laden with catchy riffage. The drawn out vocal delivery reminds you of that classic image of a slow-talkin’, easy livin’ bro of yours who has totally dropped out of life with bong in hand. I won’t bore you with a meticulous analysis of how each tack on the album sounds and makes me feel, or how I detect a running lyrical theme in this album dealing with various quantities of time (“A million years ago,” “It’s been hidden away for fifty years,” “For two days long,” etc.) but I do hope that if you haven’t already, you will take a listen for yourself and draw your own conclusions. If you have, I hope this motivates you to take yet another trip to the riff-filled land.
What’s more, Fu Manchu will be making hot, sticky, heavy psychedelic love to your earhole (if you so choose to accept your mission) right here in our beautiful home of Santa Cruz, CA, at our swanky downtown nightspot, the Blue Lagoon, on Wed, January 11th. I think I speak for the best of us when I say that we’ve all been in need of a thorough sonic lubing. Good thing we have bands like this to rub us down with that sweet molasses groove.
Feed that Jukebox Son, I Lost My Heart to a Woman no Bigger’n a Popcorn Fart: Part Two
by Stephanie Vossekuil
Love is a real fucker, ain’t it? And no one knows that more than our favorite country heroes. Last week’s list might have set more of a silly, honky-tonkin’, pickin’ and grinnin’ tone but in this latest installment of Saddle the Fuck Up, we’re gonna dive on into that pure heartache and literally choke on homesickness and downright helplessness. Yes’m let’s get real deep into those country blues and take some time to ponder the days when our twangy forefathers were cranking out real musical sorrow-not the current tear-jerkers falling dangerously short of pass-ability urging all those little southern cuties to save a horse, ride a cowboy.
Maybe you’ve heard them a thousand times, maybe this is your first rodeo. Whatever the case, I hope by the end of it, there will be many a tear in your cold, cold beer.
Lefty Frizzell – Always Late (With Your Kisses)
Stop dickin’ ol’ Lefty around, cowgirl! He’s sad…
Faron Young – Hello Walls
Another classic incident of heartbreak-induced psychosis. Faron is talking to his goddamn house.
Bobby Bare – 500 Miles Away From Home//Detroit City
My vote goes for both of these classic tunes about homesickness and driftin’. Plus, Bobby Bare is a regular badass.
Townes Van Zandt – Waiting Around to Die
Watch this fucking clip from the movie Heartworn Highways. Just tell your friends you have something in your eye.
Tennessee Ernie Ford – 16 Tons
This song is one of the greatest songs recorded, period. It’s somber, gritty, and ass-kicking.
Johnny Bond and His Red River Valley Boys – All I Can Do is Cry
One of the more obscure hillbilly recordings dealing with the hardships of being a ramblin’ man.
Eddy Arnold – You Don’t Know Me
What happens when you’ve been friend-zoned. Hard.
Marty Robbins – They’re Hanging Me Tonight
The man with a tear in his voice always nails the heart-wrenchers. This one is particularly juicy.
Aight, cowfolks! Hope you enjoy. Until next time….