ALABAMA. Randy Owen, Jeff Cook, Teddy Gentry, and Mark Herndon |Photo Credits: tvtropes.com

About the Song

Probably one of the country songs with the longest title, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” is a blend of country rock and bluegrass music recorded and performed by American country music band Alabama. It was penned by American songwriters Murray Kellum and Dan Mitchell. In addition, Alabama co-produced this song with music industry executive and producer Harold Shedd. This three-minute song was recorded on November 3, 1983, and officially released on July 16, 1984. It was the third single from the band’s eighth studio album, Roll On.

Moreover, “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” was one of Alabama’s greatest hits. In fact, it significantly charted well. It went to no. 1 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs in the United States. Also, it peaked at no. 1 on the RPM Country Tracks in Canada. To note, the song became the band’s 14 consecutive no. 1 single on the Billboard.

In the chorus, it references songs by Texas artists such as “Faded Love” by Bob Wills, and “Louisiana Man” by Doug Kershaw, and was repeated throughout the song.

The chorus of the song goes:

If you’re gonna play in Texas,
You gotta have a fiddle in the band
That lead guitar is hot,
But not for “Louisiana Man”
So rosin up that bow for “Faded Love”
And let’s all dance

If you’re gonna play in Texas,
You gotta have a fiddle in the band

Song Reception

If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)” pays homage particularly to what has gone before. It liberally dropped titles of earlier songs such as “Louisiana Man,” “Faded Love,” and “Cotton-Eyed Joe.”

As per www.songplaces.com, they expressed:

“Immediately following the final sung note, a distorted, electric guitar strums a single chord which opens the song up to a lively jaunt about playing in a Texas country bar. What remains unclear is whether or not the lyrics were based on a single moment during Alabama’s touring days or just the general feeling (perhaps a series of moments) while they played for Texans. But it certainly sounds like the band was most accommodating and, after some initial trepidation, the Texans welcomed them heartily for making the effort.”

Alabama |Photo Credits: wideopencountry.com

On the other hand, Billboard magazine correspondent, Kip Kirby, reviewed the song favorably and said:

“Alabama obviously enjoys this high-energy instrumental romp through roots.”

WATCH: Alabama performs “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle in the Band)” live at their concert in Farm Aid in 1986.

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