My Kind of Country

Country music from a fan's point of view since 2008

Single Review: Tanya Tucker – ‘Blood Red and Goin’ Down’

mamas_name-1973-tanya_tucker16Few songs illustrate the stark changes that have taken place at country radio over the past thirty-odd years better than “Blood Red and Goin’ Down.” Nowadays radio is programmed to appeal to the soccer moms and the subject matter is kept light and non-controversial (in other words, bland.) As such, a song such as this one, were it written and released in 2009, would never see the light of day at radio. Thankfully that was decidedly not the case in 1973 when “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” became Tanya Tucker’s second #1 hit.

Written by Curly Putman, who is best known for having written “The Green Grass of Home” and for collaborating with Bobby Braddock on “He Stopped Loving Her Today”, “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” tells the story of a man’s search for his adulterous wife and her lover, from the point of view of the couple’s ten-year-old daughter.

The title refers specifically to the setting Georgia sun and also serves as a metaphor for the story’s violent ending. The story takes place within walking distance of Augusta; in the first verse the wronged husband informs his daughter that her mother has run off with another man, apparently not for the first time, and they set out on foot for the city to find her. Along the way, the daughter is at a loss for words as her father wonders out loud where he went wrong and how his wife could abandon them.

Building up to the climax, the father and daughter search the bars and honky tonks of Augusta and eventually find the illicit couple. At this point, the song packs its final punch as the daughter reveals,

He sent me out to wait, but scared, I looked back through the door. And Daddy left them both, soaking up the sawdust on the floor.

The daughter is non-judgmental of her father’s actions, much in the way the young girl in Martina McBride’s “Independence Day” didn’t say “if it was right or it was wrong” twenty years later.

It isn’t clear whether the narrator’s father kills his wife and her lover, or just beats them senseless. One review I once read stated that he shot them both to death, but there is never any mention in the lyrics of a gun. Regardless of their interpretation, the words of the final lines of the song make the listener stop and pay attention, and they are just as chilling now as they were 36 years ago when the record was first released.

Written by: Curly Putman

Grade: A

You can listen to “Blood Red and Goin’ Down” at Last FM or purchase the track from iTunes or Amazon MP3.

3 responses to “Single Review: Tanya Tucker – ‘Blood Red and Goin’ Down’

  1. Michael June 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm

    Nice review, Razor. This, along with “Lizzie and the Rain Man, are my favorite Tucker hits from the 70s era. I liked that you approached it from the angle of “What would happen if this song were released today?”

  2. wlittle June 22, 2009 at 5:02 pm

    Great write-up. Big fan of that whole “What’s Your Mama’s Name” record.

  3. Pingback: TANYA TUCKER “BLOOD RED AND GOING DOWN” | Outlaw Circus

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