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Mel Tillis

Life Turned Her That Way

Mel Tillis

Life Turned Her That Way

(Harlan Howard)

recorded December 8, 1966 (14:00-17:00) RCA Victor Studio, 806 17th Avenue South, Nashville, Tennessee; Producer: Paul Cohen

with Mel Tillis: vocal; Roy M. 'Junior' Huskey,Jr: bass; other details unknown

Kapp K 804 - master K-10212


A Victorian morality fable. "That song fits my philosophy," said songwriter Harlan Howard. "In most relationships, if there's a bad person, it's usually the guy. If anybody's gonna cheat, normally it's the guy. If anyone loses their ego and has to go out and have an affair, it's the guy in most cases. That's just the way it is. Most of the heartaches in this world occur to women." Howard pitched the song to Little Jimmy Dickens, who recorded it on September 3, 1964. "Harlan said, 'I don't want no one else to do this 'cept you,'" Dickens told Eddie Stubbs. As the single before May The Bird Of Paradise Fly Up Your Nose, it sold very few copies. Tillis recorded it for Kapp in December 1966 as the follow-up to Stateside, and it followed Stateside into the charts, peaking at #11, even earning a release in England. After Tillis, many artists recorded it, including George Jones, Conway Twitty, Charley Pride, Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson, Carl Smith, and soul legend James Carr. Perhaps the most memorable version was by Mack Vickery who recorded it for his notorious 'Live At The Alabama Women's Prison' LP. Tillis’s record stuck in the mind of producer Steve Buckingham. In 1987, Buckingham was producing Ricky Van Shelton's first LP and pitched Life Turned Her That Way to him. "Mel's version was a waltz," said Shelton, "Steve and I changed it to 4/4 time, and, after we changed it, we found out from Harlan that he wrote it in 4/4." In Ricky Van Shelton's hands, the song reached #1, nearly twenty-five years after Harlan Howard wrote it. (Mack Vickery's 'Live At The Alabama Women's Prison' album is available on Bear Family, BCD 16994).

- Colin Escott -

Various Country & Western Hit Parade 1967

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Copyright © Bear Family Records

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