Monday, February 25, 2008

Harper Valley P.T.A.

Harper Valley P.T.A., authored by the legendary Tom T. Hall, has got to be one of the best confrontation songs of all time. It's the story of a mini-skirt-wearing widow who received a disapproving letter from the local P.T.A. and decided to respond by publicly pointing out the antics of the PTA members themselves. In other words, she "socked it to" them. Hypocrisy exposed.

I love a good story song and Tom T. Hall was a master story teller. In 1968, Jeannie C. Riley was the perfect singer to tell the story. Harper Valley P.T.A. reached number one on both the pop and country charts in 1968, displacing Merle's great song "Mama Tried" from the top spot on the country chart. (When was the last time one really great classic country song replaced another on the country charts? When was the last time there was a great song on top of the country charts??)

Syd Straw did a great cover version for the Tom T. Hall tribute CD, which is unfortunately now out of print.

Jeannie C. Riley – Harper Valley P.T.A. (buy album).

Syd Straw – Harper Valley P.T.A. (buy album).

Here's a clip of Jeannie C. Riley live at the Grand Ole Opry:

Here's a nice video made from the movie version of the song:

What are some other good confrontation songs?

UPDATE! Because of a very nice comment from my good friend "anonymous" (and dan's and joe's comments last week), I’ve decided to post one more track: Golden Palominos (featuring Syd Straw) – Kind Of True (out of print).

[Check the sidebar for more mp3 links.]


Lex10 said...

I will never EVER comment!.................................Damn!

Paul said...

Well, I don't think that really counts as an actual "comment" either. So you're OK.

Anonymous said...

I've visited a LOT of blogs and have never ever seen Syd Straw on any of them. What a delightful surprise! Such a woefully under appreciated talent -- and to be treated to a song I've never heard by her. Monday didn't turn out to be so bad afterall. Thanks!

So glad I found your blog.

butter team said...

hey! your blog is awesome- I will continue to check back often to learn up on the classics! and many thanks for the link to my zombie post.

will from butter team

Paul said...

Thanks Butter Team. The Zombies post was great.

cato said...

thanks for posting one of my favorite songs ever.

Joel @ Postmodern Sounds said...

Word is someone's making a Broadway version of Harper Valley PTA.