Ferlin Husky isn’t talked about much nowadays. However, he was a skilled country musician of the 20th century, whose versatility enabled him to jump from genre to genre with enviable smoothness. Indeed, there is no better proof of Husky’s ability to remain on top of the trends than how he released more than a score of Top 20 hits from the 1950s to the 1970s. Those curious about the country music of earlier decades should make sure to give his discography a listen.
Here is our opinion of the ten best Ferlin Husky songs ever released:
10. “Draggin’ the River”
Older songs can be surprisingly dark. For instance, “Draggin’ the River” is a post-breakup song. Given its name, Interested individuals might be able to guess that the narrator is so affected that he has suicidal thoughts. After all, “dragging” means to search a body of water by pulling a net along its bottom. In other words, the narrator is singing about the potential need to recover his body if he becomes so despondent that he throws himself into the river.
9. “Black Sheep”
The narrator is the titular animal in this song. As he tells it, he was born with wanderlust, which is why he continues to travel from place to place even though he isn’t 100 percent happy with the force that drives him ever onwards. Funny enough, the song hints that the narrator’s journey might be ending. Some of it is his loss of interest in his nomadic way of life. That said, the real reason seems to be that he has fallen in love with someone special. His wanderlust was strong enough to pull him away the first time, but it won’t be strong enough to keep him away forever.
8. “Timber, I’m Falling”
Trees are heavy. Full-grown specimens often weigh a ton. Furthermore, it isn’t uncommon for trees to reach several tons. As a result, it isn’t hard to see why lumberjacks would cry, “Timber,” to signal everyone in the vicinity that a tree is about to come down. “Timber, I’m Falling” is a straightforward love song that uses this to make a pun. The result is a bit cheesy but not necessarily bad because of it.
7. “Money Greases the Wheels”
Chances are good interested individuals can guess “Money Greases the Wheels” is on the more cynical end of things. Specifically, it maintains that love isn’t necessarily stronger than greed. For example, one brother might exploit another brother’s misfortune for a small sum of money. Similarly, having money can build new relationships just as how not having money can end them. One can argue that no love existed in any of the cases mentioned in the song. Still, that plays into the point because greed was in all of them.
6. “A Fallen Star”
Stars are bright and beautiful. Furthermore, they are set in the heavens, meaning they are often seen as superior to “normal” things because they are literally out of the world. In this context, interested individuals should have no problem guessing that “A Fallen Star” is praising the narrator’s lover. Still, it is Husky’s singing that sells an otherwise simple message.
5. “Country Music Is Here to Stay”
“Country Music Is Here to Stay” was the first time Husky released a single under the pseudonym Simon Crum. The latter was a comic character based on stories he told about a neighbor living in Missouri. Still, it seems safe to say that the song’s message caught on with listeners because it climbed to the second position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart before remaining there for three weeks.
4. “Forgive Me, John”
“Forgive Me, John” is one of a pair with “A Dear John Letter.” The two songs were performed by Husky and Jean Shepard, which makes sense because they are centered on a couple of exes. Regardless, interested individuals should know “Forgive Me, John” is a follow-up to “A Dear John Letter,” meaning it relies on the latter for much of its impact.
3. “A Dear John Letter”
Those unfamiliar should know a Dear John letter tells the recipient that their significant other is ending their relationship. Often, this is because they have found someone else after a long separation, thus adding insult to injury. These letters are strongly associated with military personnel because of the large numbers sent out during military conflicts. However, they can have other recipients. In any case, “A Dear John Letter” was released towards the end of the Korean War, so there can be no mistaking its context. It was received well, so much so that it reached the number four position on the Billboard Hot 100 rather than just the number one position on the Billboard Hot Country Songs.
2. “Wings of a Dove”
“Wings of a Dove” is another song that reached the top of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart. Funny enough, it saw some up-and-down movement even after it hit that position for the first time because it spent ten non-consecutive weeks there. This is a song of hope with religious roots. That is because it describes Noah’s dove, which eventually revealed that the floodwaters were receding by retrieving a fresh olive leaf.
Some artists release several chart-toppers in short succession. Husky wasn’t one of them. Still, he didn’t wait too long because “Gone” came out in 1957, just a few years after “A Dear John Letter” in 1953. Perhaps unsurprisingly, this is another song in which the narrator mourns the end of his relationship. Superb execution means that it deserves to be remembered even though it has been decades since its initial release.
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