My Kind of Country

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

Week ending 1/5/19: #1 singles this week in country music history

1958: City Lights — Ray Price (Columbia)

1969: Daddy Sang Bass — Johnny Cash (Columbia)

1979: Tulsa Time — Don Williams (ABC)

1989: Hold Me — K.T. Oslin (RCA)

1999: You’re Easy On The Eyes — Terri Clark (Mercury)

2009: Here — Rascal Flatts (Lyric Street)

2019: Speechless — Dan + Shay (Warner Nashville)

2019 (Airplay): Speechless — Dan + Shay (Warner Nashville)

 

3 responses to “Week ending 1/5/19: #1 singles this week in country music history

  1. Ken January 6, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Although generally not regarded as iconic as some of his other hits like “Folsom Prison Blues” or “I Walk The Line” Johnny Cash’s single “Daddy Sang Bass” ranks as one of his biggest chart successes. Four weeks after it’s chart debut it became Cash’s ninth number one hit during the first week of January 1969. The record remained atop the Billboard Country chart for six weeks and ranked as Billboard’s #2 country hit for that entire year.

    Several months after recording his live album at Folsom Prison Cash took a trip to Israel during the late spring of 1968. He took along a portable tape recorder to capture his comments as he toured holy sites with his wife June Carter. The trip gave him inspiration for his sacred album The Holy Land that he recorded later that summer. Some of Cash’s taped narration was included between songs.

    On July 30, 1968 Cash recorded a song written by his friend Carl Perkins that drew on the experiences he had growing up in the deep south. Carl also incorporated a line from the Carter Family’s gospel classic “Will The Circle Be Unbroken.” Johnny’s Columbia recording featured his entire road troupe – Carl Perkins, The Tennessee Three band, The Carter Family and The Statler Brothers. One other uncredited vocal belonged to Jan Howard who sang the line “mama sang tenor.” Jan was signed to Decca Records at the time so although she could sing backup she could not receive label credit. The single was released in late 1968 as the follow-up to Cash’s live version of Folsom Prison Blues.

    A sad postscript to this song is the death of Tennessee Three original guitarist Luther Perkins on August 5th less than one week after the “Daddy Sang Bass” recording session. Luther died from severe burns and smoke inhalation suffered when he fell asleep at home on August 3rd while holding a lit cigarette.

    The single version of “Daddy Sang Bass” is notable for an ending that fades to silence. Most CD reissues of the song use the album version that has sound effects from Cash’s live tape recording from Israel clearly evident as the music fades. Here is a stereo CD version with the “clean” ending found on the original single release.

    • A. Michael Uhlmann (@amucomm) January 6, 2019 at 11:56 am

      Some cool insight information – thanks for sharing this, especially the Jan Howard part, would you mind sharing the source?

      • Ken January 6, 2019 at 2:14 pm

        Jan has told the story about singing that line for many years in interviews. I recall one that she did on the Nashville Network back in the ’80’s. She said most folks never realized that it was her voice. Of course at that time she was releasing duets with Bill Anderson and was a regular on Bill’s road show & syndicated TV show so people never expected to hear her voice on a Johnny Cash recording. Several Johnny Cash sessionographies do list Jan’s name among the personnel for the “Daddy Sang Bass” recording session although some do not. She has also posted comments about that song on her website http://www.janhoward.com

        Most folks think that it’s June Carter’s voice on the recording because she sang that line with Cash in his concerts and TV shows. But once you know that it’s Jan and take a critical listen to the recording you can definitely tell that it’s Jan’s vocal.

        That song was also the basis of a clever 1970 parody by Homer & Jethro. “Daddy Played First Base” changed the family singing circle to a baseball team. There’s also a reference to Johnny’s hit “A Boy Named Sue.”

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