Songs with Earlier Histories Than the Hit Version

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Tagged: Ricky Skaggs

Uncle Pen

Written and first recorded by Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys (1950).
Also recorded by Manassas (1971, released 2009), Goose Creek Symphony (1971), Michael Nesmith (1973), Phish (1997)
Hit versions by Porter Wagoner (C&W #14 1956), Ricky Skaggs (C&W #1/CAN #1 1984).

From the wiki: “James Pendleton Vandiver was a Kentucky fiddler, born there shortly after the American Civil War. He was uncle to Bluegrass legend Bill Monroe, who immortalized him in a song, ‘Uncle Pen’, first recording in 1950.

“Monroe’s parents had both died by the time he was 16, and he lived part of the time with his Uncle Pen. Monroe used to hear his uncle playing fiddle on the hilltop where he lived, while Monroe put away his mules at night. He later said that Vandiver was ‘the fellow that I learned how to play from.’ Bill Monroe’s biographer, Richard D. Smith writes, ‘Pen gave Bill more: a repertoire of tunes that sank into Bill’s aurally-trained memory and a sense of rhythm that seeped into his bones. Sometimes Bill played guitar behind his uncle, sometimes the mandolin.’

You’ve Got a Lover

Written and first recorded by Shake Russell & Dana Cooper (1978).
Hit version by Ricky Skaggs (C&W #2/CAN #1 1983).

From the wiki: “‘You’ve Got a Lover’ was written by Shake Russell, and first recorded by Russell and Dana Cooper in 1978. Covered by Ricky Skaggs, ‘You’ve Got a Lover’ was released in July 1983 as the fourth single from Skagg’s album Highways & Heartaches (preceded by ‘Heartbroke‘, ‘Highway 40 Blues’, and ‘I Wouldn’t Change You If I Could’), recipient of the 1983 ACM Album of the Year award.”

Heartbroke

First recorded by Rodney Crowell (1980).
Also recorded by Guy Clark, songwriter (1981), George Strait (1982), The Marshall Tucker Band (1982).
Hit version by Ricky Skaggs (C&W #1/CAN #1 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Heartbroke’ was written by Guy Clark, and originally recorded by Rodney Crowell on his 1980 album But What Will the Neighbors Think. Clark, the following year, included his version of ‘Heartbroke’ on the album, The South Coast of Texas. Guests on that album included Crowell (as both performer and producer) , Ricky Skaggs, Rosanne Cash, and Vince Gill as well as numerous other well-known session players. The following year, ‘Heartbroke’ would be covered solo by Skaggs and released by him in July 1982 as the first single from his album Highways & Heartaches.

Crying My Heart Out Over You

First recorded by Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs & The Foggy Mountain Boys (C&W #21 1960).
Hit version by Ricky Skaggs (C&W #1 1982).

From the wiki: “‘Crying My Heart Out Over You’ was co-written by Lester Flatt and Earl Scruggs, and originally recorded in 1960 by Flatt & Scruggs, whose version peaked at #21. It was covered in 1982 by Ricky Skaggs, his third Country hit and the first of eleven #1 hits for him on the Country chart.”

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