For the purposes of this blog though (I have vowed to stick strictly to recordings available on vinyl), I'll be featuring the more uptempo version by Bettye Swann. Still excellent. She actually released a couple of versions of this song, but this is the one I prefer.
I think it's fair to say that this song is one of the primary reasons I started to dive deeper into classic country in the first place. It's so exquisite, I just needed to hear more and more. I never get tired of this song, whether it's Merle's version, or Sammi Smith, or Miss Lavelle, or anybody. It's just that good. It's the reason I stood and stared at the written words in the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville for a good 2 solid minutes. To see this masterpiece in Bonnie Owens' handwriting, it was like viewing a classic painting in an art gallery. Truly a wonder to behold.
Happy Birthday Merle!