No wonder I got into country music in 1991. What an awesome collection of songs. I could actually enjoy country radio if this is what was in the rotation! Sorry this is four days late, but there was no way I was going to find a new list for July 24 when this collection was so damn good.

Top 20 Country Songs
July 20, 1991

“Small Town Saturday Night”
Hal Ketchum

Ketchum’s breakthrough hit is a detail-laden celebration of the mundane social lives of small town teenagers. He didn’t write it, but it’s so intelligent it’s hard to believe he didn’t. Witness the explanation that the world is flat, and drops off sharp at the edge of town, because “when people leave town, they never come back.” A

“Hopelessly Yours”
Lee Greenwood & Suzy Bogguss

Greenwood’s last top ten hit was Bogguss’ first, and she elevates the proceedings by her mere presence. He mercifully keeps his vocal histrionics in check. B+

“Down to My Last Teardrop”
Tanya Tucker

Smart, vivacious and sung with fire, Tucker’s rarely sounded better. This is one of her best singles that isn’t from the early seventies. A

“Liza Jane”
Vince Gill

Gill does a little rockabilly number that sounds pleasant, but doesn’t really go anywhere. B-

“We Both Walk”
Lorrie Morgan

Morgan growls her way through this insistent kiss-off number, as she tells her man, “Don’t you try to come through my door. I can’t watch you leave anymore.” A-

“She’s a Natural”
Rob Crosby

Unbelievably sappy. Crosby lays it on thick. It’s hard to believe that he was among the prodigious early roster of Arista Nashville, which featured Alan Jackson, Pam Tillis, Brooks & Dunn, Diamond Rio and Lee Roy Parnell. C

“One of Those Things”
Pam Tillis

Speaking of Tillis, her second hit single was a re-recording of a song she wrote that failed to chart when she was a Warner Bros. artist. Janie Fricke covered it soon after, but it wasn’t until the newly confident writer ripped into it on her Arista debut that it was finally a hit. A-

“Fallin’ Out of Love”
Reba McEntire

McEntire does her very own “Woman to Woman”, whispering in the ear of a female friend who has just been done wrong, but in a demonstration of how things have changed for women, she celebrates with her friend as the man who left her behind comes crawling back, and she turns him away. One of the best singles in a very illustrious career that’s been full of great, great singles. A+

“Til I Found You”
Marty Stuart

Even Marty filler is pretty good. But this is Marty filler, no doubt. B-

“You Know Me Better Than That”
George Strait

Love this song. Hilariously true to life. We put on airs, but eventually people see us as we really are. A

“Lord Have Mercy On a Country Boy”
Don Williams

Josh Turner did a stellar cover of this on his album Your Man, and it’s something of a counterpoint to the Hank Jr. classic “A Country Boy Can Survive.” Here, the evil isn’t the big city, but rather the increasing presence of suburbia. And in the end, wasn’t that always the real threat to the country lifestyle? A

“The Moon Over Georgia”

Meh. C

“The Thunder Rolls”
Garth Brooks

A masterpiece of a cheating song, and yes, the song is better because they left off the last verse. It makes for great theatrics live, but leaving the storyline hanging on the record adds to the ominous atmosphere that pervades it. A+

“Here We Are”

Damn, they were a great radio band. Nothing substantial here, but it sounds great cranked up to 11. B

“Point of Light”
Randy Travis

Then-President Bush’s vision of “A Thousand Points of Light” was so inspiring that Randy Travis built an entire song around it. In the process, he celebrates everyone from teachers to environmental workers. Wonderfully earnest. B+

“Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)
Travis Tritt

Sixteen years later, it’s still one of the best kiss-off numbers in the history of a genre that’s full of them. You tell her, Travis. A+

“She’s in Love With the Boy”
Trisha Yearwood

Who doesn’t love the saga of Katie and Tommy? Trisha’s first hit made her an instant star, and endeared her to little girls across America, who then were really, really confused when they heard Hearts in Armor. That album is one for the ages, but you know what? So is this charming little single. A+

“Somewhere in My Broken Heart”
Billy Dean

Achingly beautiful, and a level of excellence that is disarming for such a young artist. A

“I Am a Simple Man”
Ricky Van Shelton

Good enough, but he always sounded better channeling the Nashville Sound legends than he did doing anything contemporary. B

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox”
Alan Jackson

The final classic on a list chock full of them, it became very clear with this single that Jackson was going to be a traditionalist with a new perspective. How nobody had ever written this before is beyond me, but that’s his true genius: discovering the obvious truths that other singers and writers miss while they’re digging too deep. A+