Another horror from Red Sovine – one of the first artists I featured on this blog all those years ago and one whose name keeps cropping up. This came from a pile of discs I purchased recently from fellow blogger and song-poem collector Bob Purse.
The Father of Judy Ann was issued as the flip of Ol’ Red’s 1968 single Between Closing Time and Dawn (both titles also feature on the 1969 album Closing Time ‘Til Dawn). It’s easily one of the most miserable recordings it has ever been my misfortune to own.
The Father of Judy Ann is the tale of a teenage girl who takes her life by drowning herself (shades of Dickey Lee’s Patches there), after falling in love with a married man and becoming pregnant by him.
I'm the father of Judy Ann, the girl you led astray
You're the reason my Judy Ann took her life today
I didn't come here just to scare you; I came here to use this gun
And you're gonna pay with your life for what you've done
It is, of course, utter rubbish; another ridiculous outing from a totally ridiculous artist. I know that I’ll get letters about this: every time I take a pot-shot at Country Western someone crawls out of the woodwork to call me out. Well, I’m sorry to disappoint you, but the Red Sovine canon is the best possible argument for banning Country Western music forever. At least Red sings this time, rather than employing his patented narrator voice – the style he used to such great effect on previous WWR posts Teddy Bear and Billy’s Christmas Wish.
The flipside is nowhere near as awful, although it still plumbs the usual Country music depths of booze, loneliness and despair. Thankfully it’s rather short.
Born in 1918, Woodrow Wilson “Red” Sovine was a minor star with a solid fan base both in the UK and the US. He’s known for perfecting the truck-and-trailer tragedy ballad, but he started out as a syrupy ballad singer who got his biggest break when Hank Williams, who managed to secure some regular radio work for the aspiring singer, championed him. Scoring 31 Country Chart hits during his long career, Red died from a heart attack at the wheel of his van in April 1980.
Anyway, enough misery: here’s both sides of Red’s 45 The Father of Judy Ann and Between Closing Time and Dawn.