My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 7/21/18: #1 singles this week in country music history

1958:  Guess Things Happen That Way / Come In Stranger — Johnny Cash (Sun)

1958 (Disk Jockeys): Alone With You — Faron Young (Capitol)

1968: Folsom Prison Blues — Johnny Cash (Sun)

1978: Only One Love In My Life — Ronnie Milsap (RCA)

1988: Set ‘Em Up Joe — Vern Gosdin (Columbia)

1998: I Can Still Feel You — Colin Raye (Epic)

2008: Home — Blake Shelton (Warner Bros. Nashville)

2018: Meant To Be — Bebe Rexha featuring Florida Georgia Line (Big Machine)

2018: Get Along — Kenny Chesney (Blue Chair/Warner Nashville)

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3 responses to “Week ending 7/21/18: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken July 25, 2018 at 12:22 pm

    Fifty years ago this week Johnny Cash topped the Billboard country chart with a song he had created fifteen years earlier. Inspired by the movie “Inside The Walls Of Folsom Prison,” Cash wrote the song from the perspective of an inmate serving time for his evil deed. Recorded for the Sun label in 1955 the song became Cash’s first top ten country hit when it peaked at #4 in early 1956 along with the B side “So Doggone Lonesome.”

    Cash “borrowed” a significant portion of the song from Gordon Jenkins’ 1953 recording of “Crescent City Blues” from the album “Seven Dreams.” Years later he had to pay Jenkins a settlement for copyright infringement. The musical and lyrical similarities are clearly obvious.

    When plans were made for Cash to record a “live” album at Folsom Prison on January 13, 1968 that song was the logical choice to lead off the show. Released as the only single from the “Johnny Cash At Folsom Prison” album in May the record soon faced objections from some radio programmers. In the aftermath of the Dr. King murder in early April and Robert F. Kennedy’s assassination on June 5 the line “but I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die” was viewed in a new context. After intense negotiation by Columbia Cash agreed to have that line edited out for revised promotional copies of the record that were re-serviced to radio stations. Unfortunately that edit sounds like the record “skips.” Commercial copies of that single and the album version kept the line intact. Some stations opted to play the edit while others played the full version. Eventually most stations reverted to the original un-edited version linked to in the posting at the top of this page. The “edited” promo copy has become a rare collectible.

    The song was a #1 country hit for four weeks and climbed to #32 on the pop survey. Many underground rock radio stations discovered the Folsom LP and their airplay added to Cash’s fame and sales. Cash re-recorded that song numerous times for several record labels. Next to the hit 1968 recording I believe that this version from his ABC-TV show is one of the best. Aired on July 12, 1969 you can clearly see that Cash was at the top of his game. The backing track featuring The Tennessee Three is excellent especially the guitar work by Bob Wooten & Carl Perkins.

  2. Ken July 25, 2018 at 12:32 pm

    For those that never had the opportunity to see the original Johnny Cash show when it aired on ABC-TV from 1969-1971, GetTV is airing full episodes of the show on Sunday nights through September. Click here for details and how to find a GetTV channel in your area (U.S. only)

    https://www.get.tv/gettv-blog/johnny-cash-show-10-cant-miss-episodes-gettv

  3. Luckyoldsun July 25, 2018 at 11:16 pm

    I was quite surprise when I first heard “Crescent City Blues” several years ago, because “Folsom Prison Blues” had always been sold as a complete original song by Johnny Cash, not an adaptation of another work. It was right up there with “I Walk the Line” as his most famous compositions.

    Gordon Jenkins was an arranger and writer and piano player. As long as we’re on the subject of properly crediting people, it’s worth noting that the singer on the recording of “Crescent City,”–who does a fine job–was a lady named Beverly Mahr.

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