August 22

15 Tom T. Hall Songs That Brought A Class Of Storytelling To Country Music

It’s amazing how listening to Tom T. Hall songs was almost the same as listening to a story told by a friend you bumped into on the corner. They’re easygoing, unassuming, and have essentially captured life’s intimate details.

So, it was no surprise when Hall became one of Nashville’s most prominent singer-songwriters throughout the 1970s. With multiple hit songs, he earned a spot at the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, which he considered as his proudest moment and the pinnacle of his achievement.

So, without further ado, we’re giving you some of Tom. T. Hall‘s greatest hits. Check them out below.

1. “A Week in a Country Jail”

From: Homecoming (1969)

The first among his seven No. 1 hits, “A Week in a Country Jail,” showcased Hall’s knack for narrative. The song tells the tale of a man who spent a week inside a little country jail after being arrested for speeding. Seven days later, he was released by the judge who lectured him on traffic laws before taking every nickel he had.

2. “(Old Dogs, Children And) Watermelon Wine”

From: The Storyteller (1972)

The song was based on a real-life event wherein Hall met an old porter at a Miami Beach hotel. The porter assessed his own life by rounding off the three things that are worthwhile to him: old dogs, children, and watermelon wine.

3. “I Love”

From: For the People in the Last Hard Town (1973)

Released as the only single off his 1973 album, “I Love” turned out to be Hall’s most successful track. In addition to ranking No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – where it spent two weeks atop – it’s also his sole entry on the Top 40, where it peaked at No. 12.

4. “Faster Horses (The Cowboy and the Poet)”

From: Faster Horses (1975)

The song was Hall’s final No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. It tells of a young poet’s encounter with a cowboy in a local bar, who shared some words of inspiration with him.

5. “I Like Beer”

From: Faster Horses (1975)

It looks like Hall is such a big fan of beer. In fact, he praised the drink’s mood-mellowing effects in “I Like Beer” and shared the dream he had about heaven, where the water tastes the same as beer.

6. “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died”

From: In Search of a Song (1961)

The man behind “The Year That Clayton Delaney Died” is Hall’s childhood neighbor and boyhood hero – and no, his name is not Clayton Delaney, but Lonnie Easterly, who was the first professional singer and guitarist Hall had ever known. Easterly performed around town using his natural voice rather than mirroring the artists whose songs he was covering. This inspired Hall to only sing in his natural voice as well.

7. “Ballad of Forty Dollars”

From: Ballad of Forty Dollars (1968)

Just like most of his hits, “Ballad of Forty Dollars” was inspired by Hall’s personal experience. It tells the story of a cemetery caretaker who kept a beady eye on a man’s funeral as well as the people coming to bid him goodbye.

This is Hall’s first top 10 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart, peaking at No. 4.

8. “The Monkey That Became President”

From: We All Got Together and… (1972)

Hall also once poked fun at the government with a song about a monkey who performs his duties better than any politician. 

9. “Bar with No Beer”

From: Song in a Seashell (1985)

Multiple artists from various countries have recorded this humorous country song, and Hall included it in his 1985 album per Johnny Cash’s advice. 

10. “Homecoming”

From: Homecoming (1969)

A simple visit to your hometown can sometimes be frightening – all because it’s hard to explain what you’re doing, especially when you are still struggling to carve out a career. Hall definitely knows how it feels that he sings about it in “Homecoming.”

11. “Me and Jesus”

From: We All Got Together and… (1972)

Like most of the memorable characters in Hall’s songs, this 1972 single portrays Jesus as the regular man who understands regular people’s problems.

12. “What Have You Got to Lose”

From: Places I’ve Done Time (1978)

Released as the lead single off the album, Places I’ve Done Time, the song reached No. 9 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.

13. “Margie’s at the Lincoln Park Inn”

From: Homecoming (1969)

The song tells the story of a family man, describing his day-to-day life. But this is just all in the background as the song’s main subject is his recent adulterous relationship with a woman named Margie.

14. “Little Bitty”

From: Songs From Sopchoppy (1996)

Though it was made famous by country music singer Alan Jackson – taking it to the top spot of Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart – the ultimate version of this song absolutely remains with Hall.

15. “Shoeshine Man”

From: Homecoming (1969)

The rockabilly ranked No. 8 on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart. It tells the tale of a shoe-shining harmonica player who claims to be number one in Montgomery, Alabama.

Some More Tom T. Hall Songs That Would Surely Influence Generations

Tom T. Hall’s music was renowned for its rich narratives and vivid descriptions – and we could go on and on picking the best ones. Check out some more of his masterworks below.

  • “Ravishing Ruby”
  • “P.S. I Love You”
  • “Fox on the Run”
  • “Country Is”
  • “I Care”
  • “Deal”
  • “That Song Is Driving Me Crazy”
  • “Your Man Loves You Honey”
  • “You Show Me Your Heart (And I’ll Show You Mine)”
  • “It’s All in the Game”

How about you, which among Tom T. Hall songs do you cherish the most?


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