Two for Tuesday: Patsy Cline

A few years ago, some friends of ours called and said that they had tickets to a play that they couldn’t use, and asked if we would like them. The play was Always… Patsy Cline. Mary and I had heard of Ms. Cline, but really weren’t all that familiar with her music, apart from “Crazy,” the song Ross Perot used as the theme song for his 1992 Presidential campaign. Anyway, we went, and the young woman who played Ms Cline did a wonderful job of singing the songs and portraying her. After that, Mary got interested, went out and bought one of the many “Greatest Hits” compilations available. We soon discovered that, as fine a job as the young actress did, she was no Patsy Cline.

Fact was, no one had a voice like hers. She suffered a throat infection and rheumatic fever when she was 13, and when she recovered she discovered that she had a voice like Kate Smith. From 1955, when she signed with Four Star Records, until her death in a plane crash in 1963 when she ws 30, she released three albums, a number of singles, and 7 EP’s, and became one of the first female headliners in country music.

Our first song today is her first hit, “Walkin’ After Midnight.” She was reluctant to record a “little old pop song,” but songwriters Donn Hecht and Alan Block and Decca Records insisted on it. Later, when auditioning for Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts, the show that gave her her first break, the producers of that show also insisted that she perform the song. It rose to #2 on the country charts and #16 on the pop charts in 1956-57.

Our second tune is “Three Cigarettes in an Ashtray.” This performance was from the ABC show Ozark Jubilee in 1955. Ms. Cline once said that she “sang like [she] hurt inside.” She was a very emotional singer, and it only added to her appeal.

Patsy Cline, your Two for Tuesday, January 21, 2014.

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