BY DAN MILLER
I was discussing with some friends the other day "the best country recordings ever made."
Not necessarily the best songs, but the best recordings of country songs.
It's amazing how subjective such a list can be. The only constant with everybody seems to be George Jones' recording of "He Stopped Loving Her Today". That's on everybody's list.
I planned to list 20 recordings I considered the best, but I couldn't narrow it from 50.
My choices are based on four things: the song, the production of the recording, the musical accompaniment, and the performance by the singer.
So here's my list.... as of today..... in no particular order. And it could change the next time I'm in the car and hear a great old country song.
1. Five Feet High And Rising - Johnny Cash
2. Don't Worry - Marty Robbins
3. What's Forever For - Michael Martin Murphy
4. You're the Reason God Made Oklahoma - David Frizzell and Shelly West
5. Every Which Way But Loose - Eddie Rabbitt
6. Detroit City - Bobby Bare
7. I'm Sorry - Brenda Lee
8. Family Tradition - Hank Williams Jr.
9. When Two Worlds Collide - Roger Miller
10. 18 Wheels and a Dozen Roses - Kathy Mattea
11. Good Ol Boys Like Me - Don Williams
12. That's The Way Love Goes - Merle Haggard
13. The Wild Side of Life - Hank Thompson
14. Flowers On the Wall - The Statler Brothers
15. Sweet Dreams - Patsy Cline
16. Still - Bill Anderson
17. Husbands and Wives - Roger Miller
18. I Can't Seem To Say Goodbye - Jerry Lee Lewis
19. Folsom Prison Blues - Johnny Cash
20. Blue Kentucky Girl - Emmylou Harris, or Loretta Lynn (either)
21. Country Bumpkin - Cal Smith
22. Long Black Veil - Lefty Frizzell
23. Cold, Cold Heart - Hank Williams
24. The Year That Clayton Delaney Died - Tom T. Hall
25. I'm Movin' On - Hank Snow
26. Help Me Make It Through the Night - Sammi Smith
27. Friends In Low Places - Garth Brooks
28. Waltz Across Texas - Ernest Tubb
29. Anytime - Eddy Arnold
30. Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine - Tom T. Hall
31. San Antonio Rose - Bob Wills & his Texas Playboys
32. He Stopped Loving Her Today - George Jones
33. El Paso - Marty Robbins
34. Walking the Floor Over You - Ernest Tubb
35. I'll Get Over You - Crystal Gayle
36. I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry - Hank Williams, or B.J. Thomas (either)
37. My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys - Willie Nelson
38. Back Home Again - John Denver
39. Sing Me Back Home - Merle Haggard
40. Wurlitzer Prize - Waylon Jennings
41. The Old Lamplighter - The Browns
42. Sixteen Tons - Tennessee Ernie Ford
43. The Battle Of New Orleans - Johnny Horton
44. It's Only Make Believe - Conway Twitty
45. Ozark Mountain Jubilee - Oak Ridge Boys
46. I've Been Everywhere - Hank Snow
47. Back In The Saddle - Gene Autry
48. Right or Wrong - George Strait
49. My Old Yellow Car - Dan Seals
50. One's On The Way - Loretta Lynn
Well, I just thought of about 20 others, like "Heartbroke" by Ricky Skaggs, "Letting Go" by Suzy Bogguss, and "Everything That Glitters" by Dan Seals.... but I'm keeping it to 50.
What else did I forget?