Saturday, April 26, 2014

Counry Club 37: Pick me up on your way down

Here's Wanda Jackson, the first lady of rockabilly, singing a great Harlan Howard song that has become a country standard "Pick Me Up on Your Way Down," originally a hit for Charlie Walker in 1958. (There is a nice video of Walker performing his signature tune at the Grand Ol' Opry in the 1980s.)

Growing up in Oklahoma City, Jackson was discovered by Hank Thompson, taught to sing rockabilly by Elvis Presley, combined country and rockabilly on two sides of a single, had a career in straight country when rockabilly faded, and has been rediscovered in recent years.

Harlan Howard was one of the most prolific songwriters in country music history.  His songs include "Heartaches By The Number"; "I Fall to Pieces","Busted", originally a hit for both Ray Charles and Johnny Cash.and later for John Conlee. In 1961 alone he had 15 of his compositions on the country music charts.  Howard also wrote Joe Simon's #1 R&B chart hit "The Chokin' Kind", a million-selling record in 1969.

Jackson is still performing. Her website, which features a beautiful painting of Jackson,  has a listing of what seem to be 2014 tour dates. For more information on her extensive discography check out this page at and for compilations here.

The Smithsonian Channel has an hour-plus biography of Jackson called "The Sweet Lady with a Nasty Voice."

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