Maurice Woodward Ritter, better known as Tex Ritter professionally had a deep love for music that stemmed from his family’s musical background. His family loved singing in church; thus, Ritter gravitated towards music; he studied the trumpet, guitar, and voice as a teenager. He dreamt of being a lawyer and even attended the University of Texas, but the minute he heard country music, he knew that was the path he wanted to follow. He began acting as a cowboy in various films before recording country music. We are privileged to have some of the best Tex Ritter ever recorded, and here they are.
10. When You Leave Don’t Slam the Door
This song is over seventy years old, but most people can still relate to the narrator’s story. The narrator is tired of the woman who has been cheating on him, always leaving the house, and never having time to do basic house chores. Finally, he gets tired and tells her to pack and leave, saying that even if they meet in the street, he will pretend not to know her. The song climbed the charts to peak at No.3 on the Billboard Folk chart.
9. Jealous Heart
Among the many reasons couples break up, insecurity makes the list and it leads to jealousy. Ritter puts it well in this song which he blames his jealous heart for driving away the women he loves. He says she loved him, and she even planned her future to include him. However, once his jealous heart started to control him, she could no longer take it and left him. The song impacted musicians who proceeded to cover it; there is even a German version released in 1951.
8. God Bless America Again
Americans know the patriotic song “God Bless America,” a composition by Irvin Berlin, who penned it in 1918. It was first heard in 1938 when Kate Smith needed a new song for her radio show to mark the end of World War I. Later, Ritter would release another song, a prayer petitioning God to bless America again. He sang that America was like a mother to him, and he owed her a lot. So the singer continued to say that people had taken for granted God’s help in making America great. So, he prayed that He would bless the land again as before.
7. You Will Have to Pay
Ritter sang “You Will Have to Pay,” a song that seemingly tells the tale of a man who tried so hard to be the perfect partner, but his efforts went down the drain. He sings that she broke her vows; he was good to her, but she took it for granted. Instead of appreciating whatever he did for her, she walked on his heart, and Ritter reminds her that what goes around comes around. He warns her that she will pay one day for abusing his love.
6. Hillbilly Heaven
There are many ways of paying tribute to those who mentored you, and this song is the ideal example of a singer who acknowledges the efforts of those who paved the way for him. Ritter says he dreams of being in hillbilly heaven, where he meets legends like Hank Williams. Will Rogers greeted him at the gate of heaven before introducing him to all of Ritter’s friends who went ahead of him. He refers to the night as a star-studded one, and regretted waking up to find out it was a dream.
5. Rye Whiskey
In 1927, Tommy Jarell recorded “Jack O Diamonds’, a song that Ritter would cover five years later and change the title. According to Bluegrass Messengers, both versions use drunken hiccups to portray an inebriation state. It could be an anthem for drunkards who know the drink is bad for their health and finances, but they cannot help themselves. In the song, Ritter sings that the rye whiskey has robbed him of silver and gold. He has even been jailed because he adds that the has been cuffed, but no matter the hardships, he will continue to hold on to it. Ritter says if he does not get rye whiskey, he will die.
4. The Wayward Wind
Western Writing enlightens us that the song was composed by Stanley Lebowsky, and Herb Newman wrote the lyrics. It had different versions, but Gogi Grant’s was the most successful in the U.S., but Ritter’s was also a hit in the U.K. The singer narrates that he met a girl who was ready to settle down, and he vowed they would stay together forever. Unfortunately, he was not built for family life, so he left her and broke her heart.
3. High Noon
According to Texarkana Gazette, Dimitri Tiomkin was the first songwriter Gary Cooper thought of when making a western movie. However, as the article narrates, the Russian composer preferred the “hillbilly” side of music and thus decided to have Ritter sing. He reasoned that the country musician’s deep voice would be ideal to connect with the haunting sound of the movie. Consequently, Ritter took up the song and fell in love with it as soon as he heard it.
2. I’m Wastin’ My Tears on You
If you have ever poured out your love to someone who took it for granted, this is the perfect dedication to such a person. Ritter sings that although he knew the woman was cheating, he kept hoping for a change. The woman even promised to make amends and remain faithful, but she broke her promise. His tears kept flowing, but finally, he set her free so she could be with the rich men she preferred. As he says, all she wants is gold.
1. Deck of Cards
According to Country Thang Daily, “Deck of Cards” was released in 1948 by T. Texas Tyler and it became an instant hit in the U.S. It peaked at No. 2 in the carts, and Ritter must have grabbed the opportunity to ride on that success thus he released a cover. His version was also well received, climbing to No. 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs.
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