My Kind of Country

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

Favorite Country Songs of the 1980s: Part 7

honey i dare youIt’s been a while since my last installment of this series. Here are some more songs from the 1980s that I liked and remember. See if you recall any of these records.

Shame On The Moon” – Bob Seger
Bob’s 1982 recording of a Rodney Crowell song charted on the country charts in early 1983, reaching #15 in the process. The song was a bigger hit on the pop charts, reaching #2 for four weeks.

Doesn’t Anybody Get High On Love Anymore” – The Shoppe
The Shoppe was a Dallas based band that hung around for years after their 1968 formation. In the early 1980s they had eight chart records, but this was the only one to crack the top forty, reaching #33. They had a record deal with MTM Records in 1985, but that label vanished, taking the Shoppe with them.

Honey (Open That Door)” – Ricky Skaggs
The early 1980s belonged to Ricky Skaggs as he racked up eight #1 records before the end of 1984. Some of his records were bluegrass/country hybrids, others, like this cover of Mel Tillis-penned Webb Pierce record were more straightforward country. This record topped the charts in 1984 and had a very amusing video to accompany it.

A Far Cry From You” – Connie Smith
After disappearing from the charts for six years, Connie emerged with this excellent single in 1985. Epic didn’t give the record much of a promotional push so it only reached #71, but it was one of my ten favorite records for the year 1985.

He Gives Me Diamonds, You Give Me Chills”– Margo Smith
Margo Smith has a short run of chart success in the late 1970s but by the end of the decade her run was almost over. This 1980 record would stall at #52 and other than a pair of duets with Rex Allen Jr., she would not see the top forty again. Margo is still an active performer and lives in the Villages, FL. When she’s feeling well, she can still yodel with the best of them.

Cheatin’s A Two Way Street”– Sammi Smith
Sammi’s last top twenty record, reaching #16 in 1981. Sammi should have become a much bigger star than she did.

Tear-Stained Letter” – Jo-el Sonnier
This Cajun accordion player had two top ten records for RCA in 1988 before fading away. Cajun has never been mainstream so he didn’t figure to have too many hits (and he didn’t). This record reached #9 and the one before it “No More One More Time” reached 7. Nothing else reached the top twenty.

Hasn’t It Been Good Together” – Hank Snow and Kelly Foxton
Hank’s eighty-fifth chart hit and the very last singles chart appearance for ‘The Singing Ranger’. This song crept to #80 in 1980. Hank would only record one more time after the album from which this album was issued, a duet album with Willie Nelson a few years later.

Honey I Dare You” – Southern Pacific
This was a band formed from parts of other bands. Formed in 1985, this group would chart fourteen times with three top ten songs. This song reached #5 in early 1989 and was my favorite of all their songs.

Lonely But Only For You” – Sissy Spacek
Loretta Lynn wanted to Spacek to portray her in the movie Coal Miners Daughter, and it turns out that Sissy can really can sing. This song reached #15 in 1983.

Standing Tall” – Billie Jo Spears
Billie Jo had a nice run of top twenty hits after 1975, but the hits became progressively small toward the end of the decade. “Standing Tall” reached #15 in 1980, her next to last top twenty hit.

Hank Drank” – Bobby Lee Springfield
Bobby Lee Springfield only charted three records – this one was on Epic Records in 1987 and barely charted, reaching #75. Epic released only one album on Bobby and it’s a good one, but Bobby’s sound was not in step with what radio was playing. He is most noteworthy as the writer of “Some Memories Just Won’t Die”, which was Marty Robbins’ last top ten record.

Cow Patti” – Jim Stafford
From the Clint Eastwood film Every Which Way You Can, this song crept onto the charts in 1981.

Killer took a step toward Patty
Said it’s time I gunned you down
But he slipped in somethin’ that was layin in the street
And was shot fore he hit the ground
Yes the killer slipped
And it cost him his life
And Patty said as she roared out of town
You gotta watch your step
When you know the chips are down

“So Good To Be In Love” – Karen Staley
Karen had more success as a songwriter than performer writing the Patty Loveless Hits “Wicked Ways” and “Lonely Days, Lonely Nights”. She toured with Faith Hill as a background singer for some years. This song reached #86 in 1988, the follow up “Now And Then” did slightly better reaching #85. After that – nothing.

Where’s The Dress” – Joe Stampley & Moe Bandy
Ludicrous parody of Boy George and Culture Club. Apparently Boy George took umbrage at this parody but it was funny, and the video, with a cameo by Roy Acuff, which accompanied the song was a hoot.

Oh Baby Mine” – The Statler Brothers
This cover of a 1954 Four Knights hit was the first single to feature replacement tenor Jimmy Fortune. This one got to #2.

3 Chord Country Song” – Red Steagall
Red is best known for discovering Reba McEntire, but he was an excellent singer, whose chosen subgenre, Western Swing, was not in vogue during the bulk of his major label career. This one, on the Elektra label, reached #31 in 1980. Red charted twenty –three singles but only two reached the top twenty.

Pretty Lady” – Keith Stegall
Keith, a third cousin of the legendary Johnny Horton, had only one top ten hit, this #10 record in 1985. Don’t feel too bad for Keith, he’s had success as a song writer and as a producer , with Alan Jackson, George Jones, the Zac Brown Band, Clay Walker and Randy Travis among the acts he has produced.

mississippi squirrel revivalMississippi Squirrel Revival”- Ray Stevens
Ray’s last top twenty hit from 1984. Ray still sells boatloads of albums, but radio pretty much lost interest in him after this hilarious romp.

Brand New Whiskey” – Gary Stewart
In 1988, Gary Stewart managed to re-launch his career on Hightone Records, a fine independent label. Coupled with Roy Dea, his 1970s producer on RCA, Gary produced several fine albums. This fine single reached #63 in 1988. Gary was always too country for rock radio and too rock for country radio.

“Wait Till I Get My Hands On You” – Wynn Stewart
This was a posthumous release for Wynn Stewart’s own Pretty World label, the vehicle Wynn planned to use for his comeback. Wynn was the principal architect (along with Tommy Collins) of the ‘Bakersfield Sound’ expanded upon by Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. Wynn died at the too young age of 51 on July 17, 1985. This single was released August 24, 1985 and reached #98.

All My Ex’s Live In Texas” – George Strait
George Strait was the dominant artist of the 1980s racking up eighteen #1 records. This one’s my favorite, from 1987. The song was written by Sanger D. “Whitey” Shafer and his fourth wife Linda J. Shafer. Whitey, along with his third wife Darlene they supplied George with “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind”. Whitey also co-wrote with Lefty Frizzell, most notably “That’s the Way Love Goes” and “I Never Go Around Mirrors”.

Slip Away” – Mel Street & Sandy Powell
One last chart hit from Mel Street, who died in 1978. This duet reached #48 in 1981.

“Arlene” – Marty Stuart
Marty reached #19 in early 1986 with this song, then wouldn’t hit the top twenty again until 1990’s “Hillbilly Rock” broke into the top ten.

“I’ll Go Steppin’ Too” – Glenn Sutton
I have no idea why Sutton chose to release this cover of an old Flatt & Scruggs song, but it’s not bad. Glenn, of course, had his greatest success as a record producer and songwriter with “Almost Persuaded” being his biggest copyright as a songwriter.

Midnight Girl/Sunset Town”– Sweethearts of the Rodeo
This was the biggest hit for sisters Janis Gill and Kristine Arnold, nee Oliver. This record reached #4 in 1986 and told it like it is for many marooned in a small town. At the time of this record Janis was married to Vince Gill.

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