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Posted by on Oct 14, 2013 | 9 comments

Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday: Guilty Pleasures

This week’s mix-tape topic has me out of my comfort zone and delving into guilty pleasure territory. The theme is to make a twisted mix-tape of songs from a musical genre you don’t normally listen to.

I picked Old Country, particularly from the 60s and early 1970s.  Much of this music crossed over to the pop charts because music wasn’t as niched as it is now.  This gets into guilty pleasure territory because I have all of these songs on my iPod.

I’m not generally a country music fan, particularly of current country, because to me, it sounds like rock music with fiddles and a twang.  Modern country may have the story-telling component that is one of the tell-tale signs of country music, but it sounds a lot like rock-n-roll with a fiddle and southern accents thrown in so it doesn’t sound like rock-n-roll.

The other issue I have is that there are people who still insist that country music is clean and they can listen to it in front of their kids. Either these people are still living in another era or they’ve never heard songs like Tequila Makes Her Clothes Fall Off  or Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy or Billy’s Got His Beer Goggles On. 

And the last issue is that when I lived in Wisconsin, I lived about 9 miles north of Oshkosh, which is home to the annual Country USA festival. There are many reasons why I loathed this time of year, but one big one is that it was impossible to get vacation days during that weekend because of all the people who wanted off to go camp out for three days, get drunk and listen to bad music. Some of us referred to the attendees as “no-toothers” and we had alternate names for the festival, from the relatively benign “Hickfest” to my personal favorite, “Crackerpalooza”, to one that my husband made up and nearly made me laugh out loud at work when I saw it in the email: “The [number] Annual National Man-Goat Love Convention.”  If I’d laughed, then I’d have to explain why I was laughing and that my husband and I were emailing back and forth to each other during the day as if we were chatting. I can be forgiven for that particular day because it was Friday afternoon and nothing ever happens on Friday afternoons, especially during the weekend of Country USA when everyone else has the day off.

Ready? Let’s go.

1. Back Side of Dallas-Jeannie C. Reilly

Jeannie C. Reilly is most famous for the song Harper Valley PTA. I’d first heard this song as a cover by Hannah Hokes and then sought out the original. I actually kind of like it.

2. Galveston-Glen Campbell

I like this song for two reasons. The first is that it is a “mood song”; that is, it’s a song I listen to while writing because it invokes a specific mood, time and place. Second, I’ve been to Galveston, Texas and that was the place where I saw the ocean for the first time. Okay, technically,it’s the Gulf of Mexico, but the Gulf is part of the Atlantic Ocean.  I remember hearing this on the radio a lot in the early 1970s, too.

3.  Ring of Fire-Johnny Cash

I love Johnny Cash. I just do. And I love this song. ‘Nuff said.

4. The Happiest Girl in the Whole USA-Donna Fargo

I have early childhood memories of this song. There’s also the fact that I can recall a lot of old country music because my parents always watched the show Hee-Haw during the 1970s.  If I had to describe this show to anyone born after 1980, I’d have to say it was Laugh-In for rednecks.  (And if you don’t know what Laugh-In is, think You Can’t Do That on Television with rural southern stereotypes minus the green slime and the occasional break for music. )

This song amuses me because it’s obvious that the “happiest girl in the whole USA” got laid the night before and it was goooooood!

5. Help Me Make It Through The Night-Sammi Smith

This falls into the “mood song” category because when I need to invoke a particular mood while writing particular characters, I’ll pull this song out and listen to it because it invokes mood, and place and time.

Honorable Mention

Jolene-Dolly Parton

I do remember this song from when I was little. I also have the White Stripes’ cover and the DP original on my iPod.  This makes honorable mention because it used to get stuck in my head a lot over the years.

Next week on Twisted Mix-Tape Tuesday:  The Undersea World of Jacques Cousteau and the Tibetan Book of the Dead

Kathy Kramer

Kathy Kramer has words in her head, so she writes them down. Kiki Dee had words in her head, but she only just said them. Kathy has other things in her head that aren’t so great, but that’s what the medication is for.

Kathy is a freelance writer whose work has appeared in Plains Magazine and eFiction Magazine. Kathy is originally from Wisconsin but her mid-life crisis prompted her to move to South Dakota because she can’t be like other people and do normal mid-life crisis things like dress inappropriately for her age, get Botox or chase after younger men. No. Kathy has to be different.

When Kathy isn’t writing her author bio in the third person, she likes to make things, she likes to read books, and she likes to go outside. Kathy lives with her husband, whom she refers to in these pages as The Hubby or D.

Kathy also likes to hang out on Twitter a lot, especially during football games. Kathy is a Green Bay Packers fan and has been since she was born. She is also a contributor to NFL, as a writer about the Green Bay Packers.


  1. Really some good songs here. I’m amazed at the number of people that don’t listen to Country Music that often. lol No, it’s definitely not my fav, but maybe all my years after having been transplanted to Kentucky make it a little more common occurrence here. You’ve picked some classics. Most people have little to no knowledge of Sammi Smith, nor of how big she was at the time. Donna Fargo’s tragic career ending illness is another story. Glen’s still making albums, although his voice is somewhat gone. Really a bunch of great selections here! Well done!

  2. Love the last two, especially. Jolene got my toes tapping. Don’t often listen to country either, but a great list!

  3. Growing up in Houston, Galveston was the beach we always went to for day trips. My dad would make sure to play that song at some point on the trip there. Nice list of songs!

  4. I GREW UP on this music. This sounds like my grandparents and parents houses in 1978.

    Loved this list, Kathy

    Dolly FTW

  5. Another who went country! Sounds like Mema & Papa’s Lincoln Town Car up in this list!

  6. Johnny Cash and Dolly Parton would make my list! :)

  7. This is a great list, and your story of Crackerpalooza, hysterical. I mentioned in another comment that I am reading Johnny Cash’s autobiography and he totally agrees with your assessment of the current country music situation. I agree too. The old stuff is just so much better, now country is just pop with a twang.

  8. Excellent list! I especially like Help Me Make it Through The Night (hadn’t heard it before). HAHA to Crackerpalooza! My kid loves Big Green Tractor. Talk about one that the “no-toothers” love!

  9. great country list (for people who may be less-than-totally-in-love with the genre)! Glen Campbell was great (before he got eaten by the bear) and Johnny Cash… pretty damn iconic.
    This list would surely tempt a listener to take a walk on the muddy-side.

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