1994 was an interesting year for country music. By 1994, country music was starting to teeter on the brink. The brink between good music and pap (or a word that rhymes with "pap").
I was still very much into country music at that time, but the warning signs were starting to appear.
Nevertheless, there were some great songs that year.
Here's one that I loved to torment my kids with. I really, really like this song, but when he gets to the "Ad-MIT" part, I used to turn the volume up really high on the radio. My kids hated country music, and this, to them, was the ultimate in corn. I happen to think it's great.
"Thinkin' Problem" is my favorite song from 1994. Cool video, too.
DAVID BALL - THINKIN' PROBLEM
Speaking of cool videos, here's another of my faves. This group, unfortunately, was sort of a one-hit wonder. Speaking of wonder, I wonder whatever happened to:
THE TRACTORS - BABY LIKES TO ROCK IT
What an entertaining video! Excellent!
Say what you will about Garth Brooks, but he respects his fans. He always strived to keep ticket prices low, and he's not stingy about sharing his videos on YouTube, the way some paranoid artists are.
I saw Garth Brooks in concert, and while I wasn't one of his rabid fans, I must say, he put on a great show. He put his all into his performances. I went with my mom - the last concert she and I ever attended together. I have fond memories of that.
And here's a (really grainy, too dark) picture to prove it:
Bad picture aside, here is Garth Brooks: CALLIN' BATON ROUGE
I kept saying to people, when this single came out, somebody else recorded this song! Everyone looked at me like I was nuts (although that does tend to happen a lot), but I was right! New Grass Revival did this song first. Turns out, Garth reunited this band when he did the recording. Good job, Garth. Good job, Wayne (oops, I got my pop culture mixed up there for a second).
Well, you well know how I feel about Dwight Yoakam. I guess I rank him right up there with the very best that country has to offer.
And this video is no exception. I remember, he was on David Letterman's show, and David was making fun of what Dwight says at the end of this song. I guess it's, "Ahhhhh, SUKI". Whatever that means. Not that it matters. This is a song that'll get you dancing, believe me.
DWIGHT YOAKAM - FAST AS YOU
How about that??
This seems like an opportune time to note that, while George Strait had three hit singles in 1994, NONE OF THEM are available for embedding. Hmmm, did I mention "paranoid" earlier? Thanks, MCA. Because, you know, heaven forbid that we might want to WATCH a George Strait video, or add it to our blog.
This doesn't negate the high esteem in which I hold George. It's not his fault. It's the stupid record label. But, geez, c'mon.
For the record, George's hit songs from 1994 were, "Love Bug" (a remake of an old George Jones song ~ NOT a Buck Owens song, as the press wrongly noted), "I'd Like To Have That One Back", and my favorite, "The Big One".
And now Alan Jackson. No embeddable videos. MCA again. Alan had a hit single in 1994, "Livin' On Love". LUCKILY, I found the version that was created for the hearing-impaired. I guess MCA relented and decided that hearing-impaired people could embed this video. The corporate mind works in mysterious ways.
ALAN JACKSON - LIVIN' ON LOVE
Not to leave out the females, but again, I'm having issues finding embeddable videos.
Luckily, I found this live performance by Patty Loveless of:
I TRY TO THINK ABOUT ELVIS
Patty is one of the best country singers of the modern age. I don't know what happened to her career of late. I guess she's been usurped by the new, plastic versions. They're the newest models in the showroom.
MARTINA MCBRIDE - INDEPENDENCE DAY
I like Sean Hannity as much as the next Republican, but I really hate that he uses this song as his theme song. Does he get what this song is about? It's not a patriotic song. I think he should actually listen to it. Then he'd be kind of embarrassed, I would think.
That aside, I was glad to find this version.
Now, for something a bit more mellow. Here's another artist who is grossly underrated:
LEE ROY PARNELL - HOLDING MY OWN
Remember Collin Raye? He was really big in the nineties. Especially with that song, "In This Life". Don't you think that was, at one time, the number one wedding song? I always thought it would be a perfect funeral song. Not to be maudlin. But I love that song, and, I guess, if they played that at my funeral, I wouldn't complain (ha!)
But Collin had more than one good song, and this is a really good one. I always thought, whenever I heard this on the radio, that if I could write a song this good, I could die happy (oh, here we go with the "funeral" stuff again). But, honestly, this is a great song. I guess the writer was Tom Douglas. And I'll admit, I don't know anything about him. But, like I said, he wrote a great one.
COLLIN RAYE - LITTLE ROCK
Here's a group that I love. Diamond Rio. Marty Roe. What a singer.
I saw this group in concert, too. I saw them at a casino, in an intimate setting. I loved that show.
Before the show, my then-husband and I were having dinner in the dining room, and I noticed Gene Johnson, the mandolin player, trying to eat his dinner. People kept coming up to him, interrupting his meal. And he was really nice. I thought, geez, what a bummer. He can't even eat his steak. How can people be so rude? I was (am) a big admirer of Gene, but I would never, NEVER, go up to him while he's trying to eat his dinner, and bother him. But I guess that's just me.
DIAMOND RIO - LOVE A LITTLE STRONGER
LARI WHITE - NOW I KNOW
This is another underrated singer/songwriter. Again, I can't help but wonder whatever happened to Lari White. She was big in the nineties. Rightfully so. I was a big Lari White fan. I had a couple of her CD's. I imagine she's writing now. Sorry, but I can't keep track of everybody.
Here's a good one! Remember the Mavericks? Oh, c'mon. Yes, you do! Raul Malo? This guy had (has) quite the voice.
The name, "The Mavericks", has a sentimental meaning to me. Because my friend, Alice's band, originally was called The Mavericks, until somebody complained that the name was already in use, and they got one of those "cease and desist" orders, so Alice's band became "Rocky Top".
That's neither here nor there. Here are The Mavericks (Miami version) doing:
THERE GOES MY HEART
Here's another nineties kind of guy, Clay Walker. I had a friend back then who was a HUGE Clay Walker fan. And I liked him, too. Here's his big song from 1994:
LIVE UNTIL I DIE
We started out with my favorite song from 1994; "Thinkin' Problem". Well, here's my SECOND favorite. I love this song, and I couldn't tell you why. I just do.
LITTLE TEXAS - MY LOVE
I guess 1994 wasn't so bad after all. And I left out a bunch of stuff. Because I couldn't find videos. Joe Diffie. He was a big star in 1994. Vince Gill. It's not my fault that none of his stuff is available for embedding.
I still say, however, that 1994 was a watershed year in country music. It's sort of when the music died, and "something else on the horizon" took its place. Pity. I really miss it. Cuz it was REALLY GOOD while it lasted.