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I probably became a committed conservative while watching PBS. (How many of us can claim that?) Shortly after Ronald Reagan took office, I watched a PBS special of Merle Haggard giving a concert at the White House. He had received a pardon from RR, you know. Anyway, he sat there in the White House at the end of our long national malaise and sang “Are the Good Times Really Over.” I was only about 10 years old, but it made a distinct impression on me. I was already a fan of The Hag, but after that I became an even bigger one. I could add a few of his songs to your list — as I’m sure you could as well: “Workin’ Man Blues” (my personal favorite), Mama Tried, Do They Ever Think of Me, Soldier’s Last Letter (a cover of an ET song, I believe).
As to your larger point about conservative values in country music, I think a big part of the reason for such a strong conservative strain within that genre is that so much great country music deals with the theme of redemption — the recognition of our need for it, the search for it, the finding of it. It is hard to think of a more conservative theme than that. By the way, for my money, the best country song ever is (with apologies to Mr. Haggard) Johnny Cash’s “Sunday Morning Comin’ Down” (written by Kris Kristofferson). The song gives a clear and powerful illustration of a man coming to the end of his rope and realizing his complete and total helplessness. Despite the line about wishing to be stoned, this song wouldn’t be out of place in church. Put it together with “Amazing Grace” and you have a pretty profound sermon.p>Thanks for the article. I really enjoyed it. br> — John /p> p> How are we going to make all 15 songs into one CD? Somehow this could be put together and we need it now! br> — Dwight M. Doolan /p> p> Clint Taylor replies br> Thanks to all who wrote in, and who suggested additions to my list. When I wrote this I was hoping to hear about some gems I’d missed. As it is I could easily have written up the top fifty conservative country songs but that would have run a bit long. These 15 songs should indeed fit perfectly on one CD if you feel like searching around and downloading them. /p>
Several people have complained about my omission of Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the U.S.A,” and there’s a case to be made for its inclusion based on its importance in the Gulf War. On the other hand, while I’m a big fan of Greenwood’s “Driving Down a Dusty Dixie Road,” “God Bless the U.S.A.” just never did it for me.
I’ll talk more about the article with Cam Edwards at NRA News (broadcast live on nranews.com) at about 4:20 p.m. Eastern Time today (Monday), and maybe we’ll play a few of the songs.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?