50 years ago today the world lost a remarkable voice. Patsy Cline was flying back from a benefit concert in Kansas City when her plane went down. She was only 30 years old. What a loss. She scored her first hit in 1956 with Walkin’ After Midnight. Six years later she was gone. She had a string of hits including Lovesick Blues, I Fall To Pieces, Crazy, Sweet Dreams, and She’s Got You. Some of her recordings featured those C&W titles I used to make fun of until I paid attention to the music. Songs like A Church A Courtroom & Goodbye, Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray, Why Can’t He Be You, Life’s Railway To Heaven, and I Love You So Much It Hurts. Yeah, I used to make fun of “hillbilly” music, but Patsy’s voice, Hank Sr, and those country songs the Beatles covered like Act Naturally broke through my biases. Irresistible.
I remember years ago being in some roadhouse bar in New Orleans, far from the tourists. Every time a Patsy Cline or Hank Williams Sr. song came on, everybody in the joint sang along. It was magic. Buckets of beer, trays of steamed crawfish and Patsy.
Patsy makes singing look easy, but it’s not. I tell my students she was the Ella Fitzgerald of Country. Oh yes, and rest in peace, Patsy. You left too soon. Let’s hear some Patsy and women she influenced.
K.D. Lang, who named her first band the Reclines. Re-CLINES. Get it?
And the wonderful Kelly Hogan