Tuesday, October 15, 2013
She wrote “You Don’t Know Me” in 1955 with Eddy Arnold, but most people don’t even recognize her name. At least not in the way that they do Ray Charles, who had the smash hit with it in 1962; or Kitty Wells, who is often named as the First Lady of Country Music; frequently alongside of Mother Maybelle Carter. But, while Kitty Wells was a prominent country singer; and Maybelle was the Mother of gospel/bluegrass; this particular lady wrote; and recorded; some of country music’s most seminal works. Her name was Cindy Walker.
Born in Mart, Texas in 1918 she began pitching songs to the likes of Bob Wills and other Western-Swing artists when she was about 22 years old. And she never stopped, spanning 4 decades in the business, recording one hit song after another.
From her blues like “I Hear You Talking”; which is reminiscent of Bessie Smith; to the more country type ballads, Ms. Walker could sing and swing with the best of them. Her material cut across all lines of demarcation. Bob Wills recorded her songs, and so did Ray Charles, who had an abiding love for Country Music in general.
Here are just a few of the hundreds of songs Ms. Walker wrote over the tears; most recorded by her at first, before becoming monster hits for other artists;
"Bubbles in My Beer"- George Jones and Willie Nelson
"Take Me in Your Arms & Hold Me”- Eddy Arnold had the hit with this song he co-wrote with Ms. Walker
"You Don't Know Me"- Ray Charles had a hit with it in 1962. It has been covered by hundreds of other artists.
"Sugar Moon"- Bob Wills co-wrote this with Ms. Walker and had a hit with it, as did k.d.lang and Willie Nelson.
"I Don't Care"- Webb Pierce co-wrote it and had a hit with it; as did Ricky Skaggs in the 1980’s.
"Cherokee Maiden"- Bob Wills, Merle Haggard and Asleep at the Wheel
“The Warm Red Wine"- George Jones and Willie Nelson both had hits with this one.
Before her death in 2006 she was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame, and she accepted it in the unique and humble way in which she lived her entire life.
Here is Ms. Walker at that Induction Ceremony;
And here is Bob Wills performing "I Hear You Talking" live from an old western movie.