Friday 14 February 2014

My Top Ten Southern Songs

I'm a proud Northerner through and through, but I don't have anything against any Soft Southern Jessies who might be reading this blog. And to prove it, here's ten songs just for you...

10. The Lucksmiths - Southernmost

You can't get much further south than the Lucksmiths, from Melbourne, Australia. This is a beautiful short story song of southern summer nights, swimming pools and falling asleep to the sound of a walkman.

9. John Murry - Southern Skies
The devil's paintbrush
Holds just one color
John Murry is one scary dude.

8. Crosby, Stills & Nash - Southern Cross

CSN sail south to Tahiti, perhaps searching for their erstwhile fourth member. (A clue: you'll find him higher up this chart.)

7. Albert Hammond - It Never Rains In Southern California

Albert Hammond's greatest creation... if you don't count his son, Jr., that guy in the Strokes. Despite all that, Al Sr.'s actually a Brit. He also co-wrote When I Need You for Leo Sayer. Is there anything he can't do?

6. Brad Paisley - Southern Comfort Zone

Never one to shy away from a cheesy pun or a comedy video, here Brad uses a tractor for percussion before running around the world in a single T-shirt, only to conclude "there's no place like Tennessee". Still my favourite contemporary country singer.

5. Glen Campbell - Southern Nights

Allen Toussaint's tribute to Louisiana. Not every classic Glen Campbell song was written by Jimmy Webb...

4. Boy & Bear - Southern Sun

More Aussies, from a little further north than the Lucksmiths. One of my best new musical discoveries of 2014 (so far), I'm currently saving up for their latest album, Harlequin Dream. (Money's pretty tight this month or I'd have already bought it.)

3. Tom Petty - Southern Accents

Florida's Tom Petty sings a romantic ode to the Orlando orange groves of his youth.

2. Luke Haines - English Southern Man

Oddly, the only Southern song in my list actually dedicated to the south of England. Luke Haines has spent a good part of his career taking good-natured swipes at us Thick Northerners, but I'll let him off... even if God's Own Country could never be on the south coast, Luke.

Luke's title, of course, was inspired by this...

1. Neil Young - Southern Man

Neil's vitriolic attack on Deep South racism, which may (or may not*) have inspired Lynyrd Skynyrd to fire back with Sweet Home Alabama. That surely earns it a Number One placing in any Southern chart.

(*Young himself claims that despite the reference to both himself and "Southern Man" in Sweet Home Alabama, Skynyrd were actually responding to the lyrics of another song, Alabama... which he no longer stands behind, anyway. So Neil & the Skynyrd boys ended up pals after all.)

Which is your Southern Superman?


  1. Killing Joke also did a track called A Southern Sky but it's a bit too prog rock for my liking.

    1. Wow. And I thought you'd never met a KJ song you wouldn't take home for a "coffee".

  2. Was hoping to see Driving South by Jimi Hendrix...his BBC session version is the one to listen to.

    1. South Songs is a whole different Top Ten. But I'll bear that one in mind if and when I get round to it.

  3. The big omission for me is another Aussie track - the classic anthem "Great Southern Land" by Icehouse. (did Icehouse chart in the UK, I am not sure? ). But this one is a classic and well worth a listen if you don't know it.

    Thanks for the Southern Accents one - I had only hear the Johnny Cash version, not the original, and I gotta say I think I like Tom's version better.

    And despite also being from Melbourne, I haven't quite discovered the Lucksmiths. They are a band I really should explore further because of the few things of theirs I have heard, I have liked.

    1. Icehouse broke into the UK charts twice in the 80s. Strangely, the better of the two records (Crazy) was the one that charted lowest. I should hunt down a cheap compilation.

      Yeah, as big a JC fan as I am, I still prefer Tom's original Southern Accents.


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