Welcome to part five in our series on the great country music of decades past. This time out, the battle for upward mobility takes place in the bedroom.
As so many of us have learned, love is much more than an affair of the heart -- it is part of the eternal struggle out of no less than the primordial ooze itself. If this were an Oscar winning nature documentary, it might be called "The March Of The Humans." But instead of weather, distance, predators, and a lack of opposable thumbs, the subjects of our aural documentary face a very different set of obstacles.
The trick to finding the right partner -- one who'll help you secure a proper nest, with whom you can nurture a healthy well-adjusted offspring an extra rung or two up the ladder -- is to get the signals right. But all the subliminally encoded biological messages in the world won't save a relationship weighted down with the effects of a life on the sidelines. Rootlessness, alcohol abuse, sexual addiction and other forms of social inequity can play havoc on even the soundest of breeding strategies.
The poignancy of these songs speaks to more than just broken hearts. The losers in these songs are nothing less than the failed captains of their legacy. Unable to sail their cargo of ancestral DNA into safe waters, they are cast adrift. The unlucky ones get thrown out of the gene pool altogether, and must find a way to make peace with their primary biological directives on their own terms. The rest fight their way back to the surface and start the cycle anew.
Country music has always offered advice and direction to potential breeders about the danger signs. Coming over the airwaves and into our kitchens and bedrooms, it serves as a perfect transmission device for the body of folk wisdom that built up over the years. Warnings about the false, the abusive and the hopelessly honky-tonk-tethered -- all are unavoidable cliches of the country music milieu. But for those who have lived it, they are the cold hard facts of life.
Below are some of our favorites, the ones we've found to be the most instructive. We hope you enjoy them.
1. You're Going Back To Your Old Ways Again - Hank Thompson
2. Five Fingers To Spare - Connie Smith
3. You're Driving Me Out Of My Mind - Norma Jean
4. Fair Weather Love - Arlene Harden
5. Deep Water - Carl Smith
6. Lonesome 7-7203 - Hankshaw Hawkins
7. Dropping Out Of Sight - Jimmy Newman
8. New Lips - Roy Drusky
9. He's Not For Real - Priscilla Mitchell
10. My Kind Of Love - Dave Dudley
11. Your Time's Comin'- Faron Young
12. Yes Ma'am (I Found Her In A Honky Tonk) - Glenn Barber
13. There's A Party Goin' On- Jody Miller
14. Barroom Pals & Goodtime Gals - Jim Ed Brown