I spent five years seeking out records specifically to be able to dedicate an entire night to celebrating the intersections of these seemingly different genres. I've decided to release my set (including the songs I had to cut from the live set) in a series of mixes for your listening pleasure. PLUS a few liner notes!
The golden era of the fusion of country music and soul music was the late 1960s into the mid-1970s. On the country side of things, the success of two records by women were largely responsible for the funkification of country music. "Ode to Billie Joe" by Bobbie Gentry and "Harper Valley PTA" by Jeannie C Riley both enjoyed massive crossover success and sparked endless covers and imitations.
The Staple Singers - Back Road Into Town - 1974
* Written by OB McClinton who went from 1960s country-soul songwriter to country singer in the early 1970s
Clifford Curry - Delta Dawn - 1972
History of the song
The Pointer Sisters - Fairy Tale - 1974
Candi Station - He Called Me Baby - 1971
* Originally written & recorded by the legendary country songwriter Harlan Howard in 1961. I have 4 soul covers of this song. I love them all.
Johnny Thunder - Outlaw - 1963
Loretta Lynn - It'll Be Open Season - 1970
Ella Fitzgerald - This Gun Don't Care - 1968
* Popularized by Wanda Jackson in 1966
Lloyd Price - Pistol Packin Mama - 1963
* Al Dexter country hit from the 1940s
Billy Vera & Judy Clay - Country Girl, City Man 1968
Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson - Magic Fingers - 1969
* Written by prolific country songwriting team Margaret Lewis & Mira Smith
Brook Benton - Hotel Happiness - 1962
* Brook Benton's country-soul-pop records of the early 1960s helped pave the way for the country-soul explosion of the mid-1960s. His producer Shelby Singleton was deeply involved in the funky country soul scene of the late 1960s launching the funky country career of Jeannie C Riley as well as the funky country soul records by Peggy Scott & Jo Jo Benson.
Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner - The Dark End of the Street 1967
* Popularized by Memphis soul singer James Carr in 1966
Percy Sledge - My Special Prayer - 1969
* Written by country-soul singer Joe Simon
Brenda Lee - Just Let Me Dream - 1960
* Written by Charlie "Hoss" Singleton
I admit I'm kind of cheating by including Brenda Lee since she really recorded in so many different styles and wasn't purely a country singer. Nevertheless, this is a really nice R&B recording by someone who is often thought of as a country artist.
Billy Williams Quartet - Cattle Call - 1953
*Tex Owens wrote & originally recorded this song in 1943, This R&B version precedes Eddy Arnold's hit version by 2 years
Goldie Hill & Red Sovine - Ko Ko Mo - 1955
*Originally popularized by R&B duo Gene & Eunice in 1954. There a lots of rockabilly covers of R&B songs. I chose to include this one because it sticks to R&B instrumentation and arrangement.
Piano Red - It Makes No Difference Now - 1951
* 1940s western swing standard
Ray Charles - I'm Movin On - 1959
*Originally a country hit for Hank Snow in 1950 . Hopefully you already know of Ray Charles monumental country recordings of the early 1960s. He wasn't the only R&B artist covering country at the time, but his influence sent ripples across the music industry.
Willie Nelson - Columbus Stockade Blues - 1966
Bobby Darin - Long Line Rider - 1968
* Bobby Darin's funky country song was later covered by soul legend Eddie Floyd
Sammi Smith - Brownville Lumber Yard - 1968
*Everyone was trying to hop aboard the funky-country "Harper Valley" bandwagon in the late 1960s. This Early Sammi Smith record is a great example
Bobbie Gentry - Mississippi Delta - 1967
Anna Walker & The Crownettes - Ode to Billie Joe - 1968
* Cover of the Bobbie Gentry country classic
Tom Jones - Riders In the Sky - 1967
* Western standard from 1948
Kallie Jean - Eight Track Player Boy - 1971
Chet Atkins - What'd I Say - 1967
*Ray Charles soul standard
Ray Charles - Blue Moon of Kentucky - 1965
* Bill Monroe bluegrass standard
Johnny Fox & the Foxes - Mountain Dew - 1962
*Country folk song going back to the 1920s
Charlie Rich - Mohair Sam 1965
Blues legend Slim Harpo covered this song in 1968