My List of The 10 Greatest Country Singers of All Time

This is simply my opinion, on who are the top 10 greatest singers in Country music history.  To me, ‘singer’ has different implications than ‘vocalist’, or ‘entertainer’. 

To add some sense of objectivity to this list, I’m going to use my 5 point rating scale for each artist on this list.  The 5 attributes that make a great Country singer are: range, tone, emotion, control, and uniqueness.  Each one of these attributes will be rated on a 1 to 10 scale.

1. George Jones

This choice for number 1 is so obvious, and so universally accepted, that it doesn’t need an explanation, so here are the ratings:

  • Range——-6

  • Tone——–10

  • Emotion—-10

  • Control——7

  • Uniqueness-9

Total Greatness rating: 8.4


2. Merle Haggard

I love Merle Haggard’ s singing so much, that I debated internally whether to make him, or George, number 1.  They have two different, but equally wonderful singing styles, and they are both the masters of those styles.  Where George’s strength is conveying emotion so powerfully, that he can, and has made grown men cry, Hag’s strength is impeccable voice control.  He has the ability to hit any note, within his range, that he wants to hit, at any time.

  • Range——-5

  • Tone——–10

  • Emotion—- 7

  • Control—–10

  • Uniqueness-6

Total Greatness Rating: 7.6


3. Ray Price

I like to call Ray Price the “Frank Sinatra of Country Music”.  Along with being the architect of what as become the most identifiable rhythm in Country music history, he also brought to Honky-Tonk music a smooth vocal style that hadn’t been used before.  Where honky tonkers of the past relied on a moaning nasal twang(which there’s nothing wrong with), Mr. Price focused on selective phrasing, vibrato, and clear enunciation.

  • Range——-6

  • Tone———9

  • Emotion—–8

  • Control——7

  • Uniqueness-8

Total Greatness Rating: 7.6


4. Keith Whitley

If there had never been a Merle Haggard, Keith Whitley would be the greatest singer, from the Lefty Frizzell school of Country singing.

  • Range——-5

  • Tone———9

  • Emotion—-9

  • Control——9

  • Uniqueness-5

Total Greatness Rating: 7.4


5. Vern Gosdin

If you ask me, the two things that kept Vern Gosdin from reaching a status equivalent to his talent, were having the wrong producer, and achieving success too late in life.  The man waited until he was in his mid-40’s to release his first Country album, and didn’t peak until he was in his mid-50’s.  By that time, he was too old to sustain commercial success.  Of the Country singers with good enough tone as a platform for the emotion to stand on, Vern was the second most emotional singer, to George Jones, that ever lived.

  • Range——–5

  • Tone———-9

  • Emotion—-10

  • Control——6

  • Uniqueness-7

Total Greatness Rating: 7.4


6. Conway Twitty

Conway Twitty is a guy that needs no explanation, and that’s a good thing, because I don’t feel a need to point out, or specify his singing qualities.  Anybody reading this list has likely heard enough of him to understand.

  • Range——–7

  • Tone———-9

  • Emotion—–9

  • Control——6

  • Uniqueness-6

Total Greatness Rating: 7.4


7. Mel Street

For most, this is probably a very strange choice for a list like this.  I suppose he could even be called a “relative unknown” for Country music fans too young to remember him, or for those who don’t dig deep to find music they like.  To me, he is the single most underrated Country singer that has ever lived.  He lacked the tone, uniqueness, and control of the 5 singers ahead of him on this list, but he rivaled them in Emotion.  Mel Street was a Honky-Tonk singer who sang every song like it was the last one he’d ever sing.  Eventually it was; he killed himself in 1978.

  • Range——-5

  • Tone——–8

  • Emotion—10

  • Control—–6

  • Uniqueness-5

Total Greatness Rating: 7


 8. Randy Travis

Filling the number 8 and 9 spots on this list was extremely difficult.  I instinctively tip my hat to the golden years of Country music, before I do the modern era, but I wanted to make sure I didn’t let that cause me to be biased toward the 50’s and 60’s when compiling this list.  So, when trying to take only a person’s talent for singing Country music into account, regardless of time, I think Randy Travis deserves to be here.  His tone, and uniqueness make him stand out, as they would have done had he been popular in the 60’s.

  • Range——–4

  • Tone——–10

  • Emotion—–5

  • Control——7

  • Uniqueness-9

Total Greatness Rating: 7


 

9. Mark Chesnutt

Of all the Country singers in the 1990’s, I don’t believe anybody sang better than Mark Chesnutt.  He seemed to have a very limited range, but his tone was pure and beautiful, and his ability to convey emotion was as good as any of his contemporaries.  This is another guy that should be on a list of the most underrated Country singers ever.

  • Range—–4

  • Tone——9

  • Emotion—9

  • Control—-7

  • Uniqueness-5

Total Greatness Rating: 6.8


10. Don Williams

I must admit, putting Don on this list is simply a case of me wanting him here.  As I’m typing this, I haven’t even tabulated his attribute ratings yet, but I know he belongs here.  The reason he belongs is because his voice is like an old friend.  You could even say it’s like the vocal equivalent of “comfort food”.  It doesn’t matter what kind of Country music I’m in the mood for, I’m always in the mood for Don Williams.  His voice and style transcend Country’s sub-categories.  The ratings for him may or may not be impressive, but with him, the ratings don’t matter.

  • Range—-4

  • Tone—10

  • Emotion—8

  • Control–5

  • Uniqueness-4

Total Greatness Rating: 6.2


 

 

68 thoughts on “My List of The 10 Greatest Country Singers of All Time

  1. Interesting list. Question, though: how does George Jones score a 9 in “Uniqueness” if he pretty much lifted Johnny Paycheck’s singing style and ran with it? Second, I understand that you like him better and probably think he has more integrity, but you think Mark Chesnutt is a better singer than Clint Black? I could listen to Clint Black sing the phonebook.

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    1. So you feel George should’ve received a 10 for uniqueness? I won’t argue with that, but I guess the reason I gave him a 9, is because there is at least one guy who is more unique than him: Lefty Frizzell.

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      1. But I don’t think I’ve ever heard any other country singer (not blues, not rock, etc) bend the notes and wring every last bit of blues out of them without ever crossing the boundaries of country music like George Jones could. He could bend those notes like a pretzel, and make it mean something more than an exercise in vocal pyrotechnics, while his east Texas accent kept it all pure country.

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    2. And yes, I think Mark is a better singer than Clint. I like Clint’s singing, but it sounds like he puts a lot of effort into his singing style, where as Mark sounds completely natural, plus I prefer his tone.

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      1. I’m not entirely sure if you’re being facetious or are completely serious, but I was implying that George deserves LESS than a 9 for uniqueness because he just stole his style from Johnny Paycheck, the latter having never gotten due credit for the vocal style HE pretty much invented. Of course, Paycheck’s underrated as it is, so that’s not really anything new. As for Black vs. Chesnutt, I can understand where you’re coming from. Clint sounds like he’s trying harder, sure, but I feel like that results in better performances than anything I’ve ever heard from Mark. To each his own, I suppose. I wholeheartedly agree about Don Williams, though.

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    3. AD,

      I just realized I totally missed your point about Jones and Paycheck.

      Yeah, I’ve heard before the idea that Paycheck influenced Jones, instead of the other way around. And I love Paycheck, by the way. The main problem I have with that theory is that even on George’s earliest records, in 1954, he sounds like he always has; except you could really hear the Hank and Lefty in his phrasing. And his voice was higher pitched.

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        1. I couldn’t agree more on how underrated Paycheck is. The next list I do is going to be the 10 most underrated Country singers of all time, and I already know Paycheck’s on it.

          I must be fun to operate a website for a living, like Trigger does. I have a head full of stuff, but no time to write. Until you told me how to get this account, I had no idea how to get my own website.

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    1. Huh? 90’s kids? Who?
      What’s interesting about your comment, is that Waylon and Willie are usually the only two people millenials bring up when they speak about the past. John Denver was not a Country singer; he was a hippie. Which five would you remove from my list, in order to add your five?

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      1. Wait a minute: John Denver was a hippie, therefore he didn’t sing country music? Hippies =/= country singers? And here I thought what determined whether you sang country music was whether the music was country or not.

        All kidding aside, I understand that Denver was more pop and folk rock than country, but what does that have to do with him being a hippie? And this is unrelated, but what is your opinion of David Allan Coe? I remember you tearing up Trigger’s page about his Columbia reissues last year.

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        1. A.D.,

          I like some John Denver. He recorded some songs that were more Country than a lot of what Charlie Rich recorded, whom I also like. I think he gets lumped in with the hippies because of his image, although I have no idea what he stood for politically, or whether he actually identified with the hippie movement or not.

          I love DAC. He’d be in my top 10 greatest Country singer-songwriters ever. I like to separate those who strictly wrote, versus those who sang and wrote.

          I also am a fan of people who say what they want to say, with complete disregard to others’ feelings, in general sense. That’s different from a person who says something to intentionally offend an individual. People who try to offend individuals, are buttholes. People who have no problem being offensive in a general sense, are honest.

          My only beef with Coe, is that he’s horrible in concert, and seems to have no problem screwing over his fans.

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          1. I see what you’re saying about Denver (and I actually forgot to mention Charlie Rich, whom I also agree was much less country at times than his burning of the envelope might lead folks to believe).

            As for David Allan Coe, I can appreciate your take on his personality, but I think that there’s also a time and a place to say or do certain things. Coe saying what he feels is one thing, knowing WHEN to do that is an entirely different affair. Plus, honesty does not always guarantee the moral high ground: radical Islamists are honest about hating the western world, that doesn’t mean their integrity is necessarily admirable.

            Given your explanation I assume you’ve seen my less than flattering comments about Coe. He’s something, I’ll give you that. I think of him as an anomaly, and honestly think he might have some mental stability issues that are either the result of his prison time or just his genetics. Nonetheless, in an effort to further explore his music I picked up all of the Bear Family Records reissues of his albums a few weeks ago. That cost me a pretty penny, but they’re a great company (same goes for the Australian company Raven Records, whom I’ve bought some Johnny Paycheck reissues from) and I prefer to support them rather than stream the music like everyone else my age. I’ve yet to have a chance to actually listen to those studio albums.

            Beforehand I had his 1984 album For the Record: The First Ten Years that has all of his “essential” tracks. I enjoyed it quite a bit, despite my aversion to his character. After listening to it over and over I finally bit the bullet and decided to get his actual albums. Hell, I even put about six or seven man hours into cleaning up his Wikipedia discography page because the previous version was a mess. I added label and format information, spruced up the opening sentence to a paragraph, added a notes section for releases that didn’t have their own pages, etc. His albums after splitting with Columbia are a mess to navigate through because he has more compilations to his name than albums from the same company that was releasing his studio stuff in the ’90s. I told Trigger about it and he even said he might use it as a resource for Coe information in the future. And before I unintentionally convince you I have too much time on my hands, I did that out of enjoyment, not necessity. I cleaned it up for anyone that might want more information on Coe that isn’t offered anywhere else, even his website. Here it is if you’re interested: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Allan_Coe_discography#Compilation_Albums

            I’ll let you know what I think of his albums if you’re interested. I’m thinking the problem I’m going to have is not so much with the music itself, but the dichotomy that is the man himself. It’s hard to buy love ballads from a man that cuts “X-Rated” albums about making Linda Lovelace gag, but that’s just me. That and the way he treats his fans and behaves at live shows would seem to undermine any genuine human sentiment he has in his music. He’s also a bitter old braggart that seemingly tries to take credit for country music in and of itself, so that doesn’t help. Such a shame. I like to think that if he had just avoided those dirty albums he might have even gotten as big as Willie or Waylon, or at the very least the respect he deserves. Nowadays he’s bitter because of the hole he dug himself and seems to take it out on everyone else.

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          2. Dang, you type fast A.D. As quickly as you responded to me, I was only expecting a short paragraph.

            Being from Arkansas, I find it a little hard to believe that you didn’t grow up around, or at least encounter men just like DAC: foul-mouthed, perverted, rough-around-the-edges, grouchy, redneck mother-effers. They love hard, drink hard, and play hard. They’re either working, fighting, or F-ing. But they’ll also help their friends out in a heartbeat. I don’t believe they’re mentally ill, they’re just a different breed.

            But I’ll say something else, outside of real love, the pure kind that is defined by God, everything else is just Human Emotions, which is coincidentally the name of one of his albums. That might explain his perceived hypocrisy when it comes to women.

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          3. Yeah, I’m kinda fast. Ha! I suppose that’s to be expected when I spent most (but not all) of my formative years with a keyboard within reach. I still remember when my father brought home our first PC back in 1996. It costed over a grand and I still have the speakers from it that I use with my laptop for playing ripped CDs.

            As far as growing up in Arkansas, my mother’s father was born around Fordyce (I love that town) and his wife was from around San Sabba, Texas. My father’s mother was brought up in Naylor, Arkansasl the original my father’s father escapes me at the moment. I knew me some country folk; my mother’s father couldn’t even read. He was also a hell-raiser back in the day, I think my family was just rather mellow in comparison with Coe’s ilk. That, and both of my parents were fortunate enough to attend college and make something of themselves, so we live rather nicely. As such, I’m a city boy even if my bloodline betrays that notion. However, I want to live in the country when I get out on my own in the near future, though that might not happen (my fiancé has terrible allergies that would probably be worse in a rural setting). I still love what I consider to be my culture, even if I’m something of an interloper.

            My best friend is something of a redneck, but still a city boy at heart like I am. The closest I can get to someone of Coe’s apparent character is my fiancé’s father, who is a deadbeat asshole who abuses his wives, cheats on them, abuses his kids and never pays taxes or child support. He’s an unapologetic redneck from what I know of him and as far as I’m concerned he gives the rest of us a bad name.

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          4. Beating women and children doesn’t make one a redneck. It’s just makes them a piece of trash. There are men from all walks of life who are pieces of trash.

            Yeah, when it comes to native Arkansawyers, even the city people are a little bit country.

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          5. Pardon me, I realized once I posted that statement that I was implying that all rednecks were pieces of garbage like him. Not at all. Nor that my parents were only able to make something of themselves because they went to college. There are plenty of hard working folk who didn’t go to college (my best friend’s father, for instance). Some of the hardest working people I know never went to any school (just like my Poppa Taylor).

            Back on my future father-in-law (asshole-in-law is more appropriate), I was merely saying that he was closest to the type that you were describing that Coe adheres to. The fact that he’s a piece of trash is more incidental than the whole point, if you get my meaning. Again, pardon the phrasing. Not trying to be any sort of offensive or anything. I also didn’t mean that anyone who acts like Coe is mentally ill, moreso that HE might be.

            Nonetheless, have you heard his X-Rated albums? And what’s your favorite album of his overall?

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          6. Yes, I’ve heard those X-rated albums, and boy are they filthy.

            As far as my favorite Coe album? I have no idea. I’ve never been a fan that breaks music down by album. Of course I’ve always preferred to buy complete albums, just so I never miss anything, but I’m a fan of singers and songs, before I am albums.

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          7. Yes, I’ve heard those X-rated albums, and boy are they filthy. As far as my favorite Coe album? I have no idea. I’ve never been a fan that breaks music down by album. Of course I’ve always preferred to buy complete albums, just so I never miss anything, but I’m a fan of singers and songs, before I am albums.

            Sorry, just got a chance to reply (listening to Penitentiary Blues as we speak, great album so far). Interesting note about being a fan of the artist before the album, but it still plays a vital role. If the artist isn’t cutting quality albums, I highly doubt you’d hold them in the same regard as whatever classic material they have. Hence the “favorite albums” question. Seems like you’d have some you think are better than others, which are usually delineated as “favorites” among music fans.

            For instance, my favorite Big & Rich album is their 2004 debut Horse of a Different Color. The reason it’s my favorite is partly because of nostalgia, but mostly because of its diversity, uniqueness and just the simple fact that they wrote some great songs on that record. Contrast that with their most recent album from 2014, Gravity, which was polished adult contemporary country pop from cover to cover. Granted, you don’t care much for them one way or the other, but the artistry on display on their debut is mostly missing from their most recent album. Gravity isn’t bro-country or even bad, but it’s certainly not of the same league as Horse. THAT’S what I was asking you about Coe.

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  2. If we’re talking criminally underrated singers, Clint, I would put this man at the top of the list. His name was Ted Hawkins, (no relation to Hawkshaw) and most of his life was spent homeless, singing for tips around Venice Beach Florida. Fantastic singer, take a listen; I’ve linked some videos, I strongly encourage everybody to go listen.

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      1. Hybrid indeed, although his albums that feature just him and his guitar are great! Anyway as for my thoughts on your list (sorry it took so long my power went out)
        1: I have a hard time believing that Conway had a better range than George Jones
        2: I think Keith Whitley should be placed a spot or two higher, solely for his work with Ralph Stanley and Ricky Skaggs being so good, and certainly I would say far better than his commercial country work
        3: I think Ray Price had better control than did the Hag. He could sing a far wider array of material, ranging from Kristofferson to Simon and Garfunkel, and his voice was a lot more pleasant.
        4: If Don Williams hadn’t released reflections I would argue him being on this list. That album was the one that really got me into his work. I personally feel it’s his best album.
        5: Where would Roger Miller place on a list like this? He had a great range, good control, etc.

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        1. Fuzz,

          On the range thing, when I’m singing along with all my favorites, I’ve never had any trouble hitting all the notes George Jones sings. Conway on the other hand, has hit a lot of notes on record that are too high for me to hit. That’s really all I have to go by.

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  3. I can’t take any exception with this list, I tried to, but ended up arguing with myself instead. I will just throw out a few thoughts though, in no particular order and probably not coherent. My list of 10 greatest country singers would probably include about 50 singers. Too difficult to boil it down.

    I think Vern Gosdin should be higher.

    Jim Reeves was smooth as silk, to me he is the Sinatra of country music.

    There should be at least some women included in this list. If I had to pick one, to stand right there with George Jones, it would be Dolly Parton. Her pure talent is unbelievable… there is a video of her first opry appearance on youtube and the look from the audience is just that – one of disbelief. Patty Loveless, Wynonna Judd and of course Patsy Cline would have to be somewhere on my list as well.

    Lefty Frizzell IMO had the most unique, and most influential voice in country music. There is one song I’ve heard only once and haven’t been able to find, it is about a blackbird or bluebird, and it’s the perfect showcase for his talent.

    Johnny Horton had so much vocal talent and could sing many different styles. The one knock on him in my opinion, is that he didn’t have one signature sound and his voice didn’t carry much emotion.

    Marty Robbins was incredible, and one of a kind.

    My pick for underrated is Tompall Glaser.

    A few from the more recent history that deserve props: Doug Stone, Vince Gill, Marty Roe from Diamond Rio, Marty Raybon from Shenandoah. The best singers in the current scene imo: Joe Nichols, Mo Pitney, Ashley Monroe, Lee Anne Womack.

    Waylon Jennings had an incredible and unique voice in his prime. By the time he started the “outlaw” thing, his voice was already headed downhill from all the cocaine abuse. His best work, from a vocal point of view, was his pre-outlaw days with Chet Atkins as a producer.

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  4. What a surprise to see a top-10 list without Willie or Waylon.Vern gosdin is ”the voice”. Good to see Don Wlliams & Mark Chesnutt, great voices also. My choice from the 50’s is Webb Pierce.

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  5. The lack of Willie on this list is odd in my opinion. But – you were going for the “greatest” in maybe a more technical sense. When it truly comes to Uniqueness and Tone – Willie really stands out. Granted, it all depends on what you are looking for when it comes to tone. That is very subjective. Willie might have the single most recognizable voice in country music – past or present. The crazy thing about this voice when it comes to Control – is the lack of it. He is all over the place, but that’s what makes it Willie. He is on the brink of dissonance very often, not to mention his timing. He is almost always behind the beat. Just some thoughts. – But you made an excellent list and I cant disagree with any of it.

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  6. OK, I’m no feminist, but you have to do a list of greatest female country vocalists, and Tammy Wynette HAS to be on it-I’d put her at Number 1, but I won’t quibble as long as you have her on there somewhere pretty high 🙂

    Willie Nelson-I’d call him a great stylist, up there with Frank Sinatra for phrasing, but not a great voice, not from the clip I saw of him singing “Crazy” in his pre-outlaw days. It was painful.

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    1. Yes, I didn’t intentionally create female-free lists. It’s just, as a man, I tend to only listen to male singers, because I can relate to what they’re singing about.

      If I did make a female list, it would certainly be between Tammy and Connie Smith for the number 1 spot.

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  7. And duets-my all-time favorite is one of the “brother duets” which were a trend in early country music-The Louvin Brothers. They were an example of how families which grow up singing together know how to hit, trade off, and just meld their voices with never a glitch.

    Male/female duet-well, it’s an obvious one, but no less deserving, IMHO, for that reason-George and Tammy, of course.

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  8. The Kendalls would have to be on the list of duos also. I can’t believe how forgotten they seem to be, after having mega hits for a good run on country radio in the Seventies. Their voices together were one of the best pairings I’ve ever heard, such warmth.

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  9. Yep. I want to make this home, but I understand it will take time that you may not have right now to get it off the ground, and that’s assuming that you have the ambition to do that (you may not have, I certainly understand having other priorities). Things will be going along just fine over there with topics, and then some left-field (left wing) topic or comment will come up, and the best I can do is just ignore the topic, because it feels like i’m outnumbered by the left-leaners there. I want to discuss the music-the funny thing is, they do too, and they’ll sometimes make noises about staying away from the “politics” of things, apparently to make right-leaners bite their tongues, but then they’ll make leftist comments with seemingly the most unconscious awareness that they’ve done so, kind of like the way the left operates regarding man-made climate change-the “consensus” has been decided, the orthodoxy is set in stone, to the point where they no longer realise that they’re the ones making the political statements when they make them, because it’s been so indoctrinated in the culture and their minds.

    Example-if I were to take up for, say, Ted Cruz-oh no, we musn’t be political, this is a music board-but when a lot of people went crazy over that girl who wrote a song praising the homosexual agenda, it was just taken for granted that that was praiseworthy. If I’d kind of timidly held up my hand and said “But what’s so courageous about singing about what supposedly has been “accepted” by the whole westen world?”, oh my word, at the least I would be the one accused of bringing “politics” into it, when the SONG ITSELF is political to conservatives! Kind of the way they feel about people like Toby Keith (I myself can’t make him out, but I haven’t heard much of his music that I recall).

    Makes me retreat back into my own world and life for a while, the times I post become fewer and further between, though I tend to “bunch post” when I’m catching up. My “sweet spot” is the music I listen to at home, no matter how old or conservative (heck, I’m not even much of a fan of Dolly, and I could tell from the start that she wanted out of the pure country limits).

    Also, I have to ignore a lot of vulgar language/profanity, and some of it’s hard to ignore.

    But not my website, and it is “Saving CM”, not “Purifying The Language”, lol.

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    1. Hey Melanie,

      I’m flattered that there are intelligent people who want to read things that I say. Unfortunately, I have very little time to invest in this. Even if I were to put all my focus into it, it would likely only result in one article per week. But please check back every once in a while, just in case I do find time every now and then to write something.

      I’m curious, which singer was it, that wrote a pro-homo song? I still read SCM on occasion, but I don’t remember that article.

      I think you should speak your mind on SCM, exactly as you dang well please. If the whiny, little cry-babies get their feelings hurt, piss on ’em. I’m done trying to reason with the unreasonable. Never forget, as a Constitutionalist, Conservative, or Right-winger, you always have facts, logic, nature, and science on your side. All the left has is their precious little feelings.

      Have you been following the goings on at the University of Missouri? After everything that’s been done, to make black people equal in every regard, I can’t believe they’re actually demanding to be segregated. Once again, the left is regressing us back in time, like they do on every other issue.

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      1. From everything I’ve read, that Kacy Musgrave song “Merry Go Round” or something like that, which won the CMA Song Of The Year for 2014, is pro-homosexual agenda. As this article says http://www.queerty.com/a-pro-gay-sex-positive-anthem-won-country-musics-song-of-the-year-20141107 (excuse me for sending you to this link, it was the first article which came up when I searched just to be sure I was thinking of the correct song and artist), even people who would never listen to a supposedly (I say formerly) conservative genre like country just loved this song and even though it’s probably one of the only “country” songs they’ll ever listen to, they can now, on the basis of this song, say “We love country music too” (well and Dolly and her legion of sodomite/transvestite fans, whom she proudly embraces. Shame on you Dolly, I know that you were raised better than that). Barf. And the country music industry was so impressed with its own “cool”, it chose it as Song Of The Year. This, from a genre that was seeded at least partly from gospel music, and for decades, it was not unusual for mainstream country singers to sing a few gospel songs, with complete and utter sincerity, including the tormented Hank Williams Sr. It wasn’t hypocrisy (at least not at first), it was the inner struggle between their upbringing and the “honky tonk” atmosphere they had to endure, if not grow to love, to make it in country music. Roy Acuff was another example. These days he’d probably get sued by some jerk if he were around doing concerts and threw in a few gospel songs which mentioned Jesus’ Name.

        But no worries, if the sodomite bunch thinks there may be something “cool” in country, then country music has arrived, it has the Sodomite Good Housekeeping Seal Of Approval, especially when an anthemic homosexual song gets awarded the CMA’s “Song Of The Year”.

        Well, to bleach this filth from my brain, I must go listen to some Original Carter Family.

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        1. Melanie,

          Are you going to watch Obama tonight, as he comes on national TV to convince us all that turning in our guns is the only way to save us from Islamic terror?

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      2. Oh, and regarding the UofM proceedings-no, haven’t been paying much attention. It’s just more of the same, and I expect to see even further escalation of the chimping out before Hussein leaves office, because as a lame duck, he’s been waiting for the right time to start stirring up this mess. A “uniter not a divider”, indeed! And too many indoctrinated or just plain old afraid gutless and spineless wimp whites are going to do just what they’re doing, roll over and grovel to this BS. The radical blacks know this is their best, and possibly last chance (at least for a long time) to have someone in the White House with whom “the buck stops here”, as far as letting them get away with these shenanigans, so they know they’d better make the most of it while they can. Foreign affairs are getting dicey, thanks to that moron in the White House, and they’re going to be priority once he leaves, I believe. He’s made a lot of fires to put out, and done his level best to make the world not only hate the US but have contempt for our weakness. So people like me-who love America and know she needs to be strong-are holding our breath until he’s gone, and praying that we get a strong leader who is a patriot, once Hussein is gone.

        I believe in Bible prophecy, and the US doesn’t figure in any prophecy teaching I’ve ever heard in my long life, so we could well be on the downward slide, and the blacks showing their rears is just a part of that. Of course it may not be just yet-I hope and pray not, not just yet. But it will happen sometime, that America loses her status and power, and what we’re seeing could be the start of that, I just don’t know.

        In the meantime, I pray, and stay locked and loaded.

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  10. Nope. First of all, I don’t watch teevee (or listen to commercial radio, for that matter). Secondly, I wouldn’t listen to Hussein tell me personally that he’s giving me a million dollars tax-free, if for no other reason, than because if his mouth is open, he’s lying. Third of all, he can spout all he wants about taking people’s guns, the Second Amendment has the last word on that (though he obviously thinks that his wishes are above the Constitution, and the useless Congress seems to be happy to let him think it). Last of all, it doesn’t matter what he says on this issue, he will NOT be confiscating the guns of millions of law-abiding tax-paying Americans, and I know more than enough people who are adamant on this-it is their line in the sand (something Hussein should know plenty about, as he’s drawn enough of them, even if he doesn’t know what they mean). More and more of us are failing to even comply with registration, as we know where that’s heading. I myself lost all my guns overboard in a boating accident ;

    In short, the only thing I would watch Hussein on teevee for is to either see him get perp-walked to prison, or watch the Lord God zap him with lightning. That I would watch.

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  11. I’m certain you’ve heard already, but Merle Haggard passed away today (on his 79th Birthday, no less). I feel numb.

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    1. Yeah I’d like to comment on SCM, but I can’t.

      Willie Nelson is now the only 1st tier Country star from that generation left alive. Yep, sad day.

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    1. So change it. You once said to me that country music is your culture, your lifeblood. I highly doubt that symbol has as much significance to you. It’s what you stand for, but it’s not who you are: it’s who you aren’t, hence the stamp out. Change it to a picture of ol’ George Jones or Roy Acuff and come back to SCM.

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  12. No, I don’t submit to mob rule. More than simply opposition to the homo political movement, my avatar is a stance against authoritarianism, and a stand for free speech. I eventually might have changed it on my own accord, for my own reasons, but because I was being forced to change it, I never will.

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    1. I can understand what you’re getting at, but it’s not like they came into your house and told you to change. SCM, public or not, is Trigger’s domain. You don’t storm out of a friend’s house because he tells you to take your hat off while inside, principal or not. There are other ways to stand against authoritarianism; the issue with your avatar is not that it’s against that so much as it just comes across as homophobic hate. We’ve talked and been on mostly friendly terms for long enough that I understand your reasons for using it, but I think cheating yourself out of fellowship with other (mostly) traditional or neotraditional country fans over a little picture is silly. Again, I know that you feel you’re making a stand, but I think from the outside it’s a little silly to have all of this hullabaloo over a little flag. I read SCM to hear about and discuss country music, not throw politics around (which, as you’ll recall, is something that Trigger is vehemently against since it stifles conversations).

      I don’t think changing the picture to abide by the owner’s rules is all that much of a compromise of your standards, but that’s just me. Your average avatar on the internet is pretty much worthless; it just adds some color. It’s really not that big a deal, and you certainly shouldn’t hinge your pride on it.

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      1. It’s not Trigger’s rules, AD. Trigger couldn’t have cared less. The angry mob of leftists that read SCM pestered Trigger, and threated to stop reading his site, unless he forced me to take it down. Trigger chose to cave to crybabies, the people who are apparently so sensitive that they can’t look at something on a computer screen without getting offended.

        If Trigger had asked me privately to take it down, immediately upon me using it, I would have. But like I said, Trigger didn’t care, until the angry mob cried like babies, and I don’t submit to mobs. If I go back to SCM without my avatar, the mob wins.

        By the way, I saw a comment you left where you stated that some of Hag’s work is hard to find, and I’m curious what you’re having trouble finding. Last time I checked, his entire catalogue is still available, literally, all of it.

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        1. Not “hard to find” like Paycheck, just a bit obscure. Unless one splurges on the Bear Family Box sets, a lot of Hag’s Capitol and MCA recordings aren’t really available. Granted, I AM probably going to get those boxes, and while I appreciate the value and quality I don’t really like how they’re organized in session order instead of album order. I’m an albums person; I like to hear a whole work as it was meant to be heard in its original order, any bonus tracks at the end. Take their first box, Untamed Hawk, for instance: it collects Hag’s recorded output for Capitol from 1962 to 1968. Reasonably, that would include around 8 or 9 albums, but tracks from I’m a Lonesome Fugitive and Pride in What I Am are missing so they’re incomplete. There’s also a handful of tracks from A Portrait of Merle Haggard that were thrown in the box, but it’s less than half. Either way, that amounts to incomplete albums. Granted, the boxes are organized specifically, but whenever I get compilations or what have you that have album tracks out of order but include the whole thing I reorder them in my computer according to the original track listing. Can’t do that with Untamed Hawk, or at least not completely.

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          1. Keep in mind AD, that back then, singers didn’t record albums. They recorded songs, and then used those songs for an album, after the fact. So there is no “original order” that was “meant to be heard”.

            They would just go in the studio several times per year to record. And then choose a few songs to make an album with. They might even record a song that didn’t go on an album until years after it was recorded.

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        2. Do you have those Bear Family boxes, or just a collection of the original vinyl? Or perhaps you got his albums when they were first released on CD before the rarer ones went out of print?

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          1. I have everything from MCA and Epic on single CDs. I have the Capitol stuff on the box sets.
            I’m going to eventually buy The Troubadour though, just because I love Bear Family, and you always get extras, like outtakes, and alt versions.

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  13. True, the album has not always been the defacto music listening experience (and with digital singles it’s heading back the other way), but there’s something to be said for hearing original songs in context. But, as you allude, sometimes the original context was just an A- and B-side. Plus, country music has always been so steeped in the radio (much to its detriment these days) that whole albums are somewhat unnecessary for some performers. That’s part of the reason I’m content with my 2-disc Don Williams collection and a few individual albums. But with artists I’m intrigued by or that no available compilation does justice, like David Allan Coe, or my favorites like Johnny Paycheck and Merle Haggard, I like to hear their entire works as (mostly) intended. Hag is no different in that regard. Albums weren’t really “new” when he came on the scene, though he obviously recorded his fair share of sides that never ended up on any full-length. Still, I wish the Bear Family sets were in order of album with the bonuses at the end. I consider it an irony that Bear Family has the line “Merle Haggard was one of the first country artists to see the LP as more than one hit and some filler songs” in the description of their box Concepts, Live & the Strangers given their proclivity to alter the orders (though with that one they mostly kept the works together as far as I can tell).

    I have a copy of Untamed Hawk coming in the mail. I had been eying the boxes for some time, then when Hag passed away last week I got nostalgic and finally ordered one. Like many public figures, the demand for his work following his passing has gripped the music community at the moment, so even in passing we can say that Merle is fighting the good fight. As for Bear Family the company, I emailed them and once again asked if they’d consider boxes of Johnny Paycheck’s material along the lines of their Haggard sets and others. Have you ever purchased directly from their website? They’re one of the most customer-based retailers I’ve ever seen. I had an item in my cart to check out for €95.00 and when I entered my country as the US, the price changed. The shipping price increased, but the whole amount was the same. The set itself was discounted to allow for the change in shipping to keep it at more or less the same price as in Euros. That’s one of the coolest things I’ve ever seen with a retailer, online or brick and mortar. They definitely have integrity and it’s admirable.

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      1. It’s not relevant to our conversation. Yes you should be listening to it, if you’re a Hag fan. Nobody does tributes like Eddie Stubbs. He plays old interviews, and has that caring touch that no one in radio land has. It’s from 7:00 until midnight tonight.

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        1. Unfortunately, I’m finishing up my final semester of college now so I typically have a decent amount of work each night to attend to once I get off of work. I also don’t have a standard radio handy that isn’t in my car, unless the station that the tribute is on is also available online. But I trust your recommendations, so I would LIKE to listen to it but I may not be able to.

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          1. Unfortunately, you’ve already missed over half the show. The good news is, they archive these tribute shows on the website, and you can hear it any time.

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  14. No matter your problems with the sociopolitical state of the world, you have to admit that some modern technologies are wonderful. I’m sure even 30 years ago the idea of cataloguing radio shows for public consumption in the future was probably not even conceivable (unless one recorded the actual show). I found the website, so I’ll probably wait for the whole show to be archived so I can listen to it from the beginning. Thanks for the information.

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    1. Also, they have the uploads separated by category, instead of only by DJ. There are at least 3 categories of uploads under Eddie Stubbs.

      Tribute shows:
      He spends all 5 hours dedicated to the life and times of a recently deceased artist.

      Intimate Evenings:
      He does the show in front of an audience, with a Country star as his guest. They talk, play records, and the stars sing live.

      The third category is just interviews from his show, done in studio.

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  15. I’ve gone back and listened to some Mark Chesnutt and while his material is great, his voice doesn’t strike me as anything special. He has a very average, workman-like voice. Perhaps that’s what you like about him, and I’m no one to tell anybody they should or shouldn’t enjoy something, but it seems odd to me to include him on this list when so many other great vocalists could have been included. And to put him above Don Williams? That’s borderline sacrilege, even to me as someone that doesn’t consider Mr. Williams a favorite (but he has a GREAT voice). Perhaps you just wanted Mark here for people to take notice since he’s mostly been forgotten, but I think he would have been a much better fit for the underrated list than as one of the greatest. Hearing his material again, I knew most of his popular songs but he was always one of those names that I was just barely aware of. This is partly because his voice blended in with everyone else in the mid-tier ranks at the time and was deftly overshadowed by better vocalists. Compared to Florida Georgia Line and Taylor Swift, Mark is decidedly above average. Blake Shelton, Luke Bryan, Chris Young, Gary LeVox (of Rascal Flatts), Josh Turner and the like? They’re much more distinctive and vocally pleasing to the ear, crappy material or not. And that’s before we even get to the 1990s. Alan Jackson, Tracy Byrd, Clint Black, Joe Diffie, John Michael Montgomery, Ronnie Dunn, Tracy Lawrence and Ricky Van Shelton (to name a few) are all superior in terms of range, control and emotion to my ears.

    What makes Mark so special for you? This isn’t an indictment so much as a curiosity. You mention that he sounds emotional and pure in his tone; to me he just sounds bored and milquetoast. But that’s just me.

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