July 2010

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Living Room Songs — track 7 “You Tried To Ruin My Name” by Wilma Lee Cooper from Hand Picked.

If that didn’t catch your attention then, as they say, “Jack, you’re dead.”

I’d never heard of Wilma Lee Cooper, before this song caught by attention but apparently she was bluegrass royalty.

[S]he met and married guitarist Stoney Cooper. For the next 40 years the two performed as one of country music’s most popular duos. Their performances, including a ten-year stint on Wheeling, WV’s Jamboree and another decade performing at the Grand Ole Opry, led to recording contracts with both Columbia and Decca. Wilma, a skillful banjoist, guitarist, and organist, wrote or co-wrote several of their most successful compositions, including “Cheated Too,” “Loving You,” “I Tell My Heart,” and “Heartbreak Street.” After Stoney’s death in 1977 Wilma continued to perform, once again joining the cast of the Grand Ole Opry.

This track was released in 1981 when she was 60 and she sounds completely confident and forceful as a performer. In fact it could suffer from the fact that she doesn’t really sound devastated or weak to match the lyrics of the song. She has fun putting some bite of anger in a line like, “the eve tried to put the blame on me when all along was you. . . ” but mostly the song is very good natured, despite the lyrics.

But what fun it is. She has so much energy, and sounds like performing is still a pleasure; the energy isn’t just for the audience she clearly loves the music.

At this point in the mix, I’ve now had three energetic songs in a row, the next song offers a bit of a breather, followed by two more high energy tracks after that, and then it eases off after that. So this song is really the center of a very high energy section in middle of the mix.

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