My Kind of Country

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

Classic Rewind: Kentucky Headhunters – ‘Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine’


8 responses to “Classic Rewind: Kentucky Headhunters – ‘Walk Softly On This Heart Of Mine’

  1. Ken February 27, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    This act marked the beginning of country music starting to really go off of the rails. A talented group for sure but not what I and many other people consider “country” music by any measure. Sadly they were an indication of what was to come as southern rock, rap and insipid female pop acts ransacked what used to be a wonderful American art form leaving us with the abominable crap that masquerades as country music today.

  2. luckyoldsun February 27, 2016 at 10:18 pm

    This act came out in 1989 around the same time as Garth and Clint and Alan Jackson in what turned out to be a golden era for country music–with Travis, Yoakum, Straight, Skaggs–and Marty Stuart, who’s seen here!–all in top form. The Headhunters hardly dominated radio, but they had 4 top-40 hits (including this one) off of their excellent debut album “Pickin’ on Nashville”–which went double platinum. I think just about everyone in the industry–fellow musicians, artists, critics, radio–except for you–thought they were a positive force.
    Lead singer Ricky Phelps and bass guitarist/backup Doug Phelps came out as “Brother Phelps” and put out a less raucous but very good album called “Let Go” in ’93 and had a couple of modest hits with it.

    • Ken February 28, 2016 at 8:17 am

      As usual your conclusion is based upon your flawed opinion and not in fact. The Headhunters did receive support from some corners of the industry but it was primarily from those that HATED traditional country music and were not happy with the new traditionalist movement. They attracted the Charlie Daniels & Hank Jr. faction of listeners but never expanded beyond that very narrow base. The fact that only ONE of their singles made the top ten shows the resistance they received from the mainstream country radio audience at that time. If they had broader appeal they would have generated more hits. It was only because of the familiarity of Don Gibson’s “Oh Lonesome Me” that they scored their sole single success. One other single limped to #15 while the rest fared far worse. To say that “just about everyone in the industry…..thought they were a positive force” is patently untrue. Most radio & industry folks including myself viewed them as a “fringe” act at best. Of course they were darlings of the critics because critics generally hate mainstream music and few are fans of genuine country music. The Headhunters soon disappeared from the scene as did Brother Phelps and are remembered by few today.

      • luckyoldsun February 28, 2016 at 3:56 pm

        So “Dumas Walker,” a #15 country record, was not a success. Whatever you say.

        • Ken February 28, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          Top 10 is a success. Top 15 is almost a success. Most radio stations use top ten for a barometer of the basic criteria necessary for a song to be played as an oldie once it leaves the chart. “Dumas Walker” was included in very few radio station oldie libraries. It was not heard again on most stations after it’s chart life ended.

        • luckyoldsun March 1, 2016 at 1:42 am

          I know I heard “Dumas Walker” quite a bit on WYNY in the early ’90s, years after its chart run. Could be that it was not part of the station’s own rotation, but that it was played during national syndicated shows that the station would broadcast,, Shows where Lon Helton or someone like that would have some country artist in the studio for an hour or more and the show would consist of interview snippets along with playing some of the artist’s recordings, mixed in with some recordings from other performers whom the artist said he liked. If it was a more traditional artist who was being interviewed, they’d usually name Vern Gosdin and Don Williams as the artists whom they liked. But if it was someone hipper, they’d name the Headhunters or Lee Roy Parnell.

  3. Paul W Dennis February 28, 2016 at 10:15 am

    They were a fringe act, but an amusing one. I didn’t regard them as especially country and I think that today they would be labelled as “Americana”. Their first album was far and away their best album.

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