The Coward Of The County - Kenny Rogers (1979)
Oh, what a joy it was to discover all of the genre-defying classics that white-hared and bearded fellow from "We Are The World" had under his belt. It was the ubiquitous "Gambler" that first made me take notice. Then, the psychedelic country knock-out of "Just Dropped In" opened my eyes to his peerless work in the First Edition. Through these gates I listened to him duet with Dolly and Dottie, tell the story of Reuben James, cover Lionel Richie, wonder what his lady saw in him and beg Miss Ruby not to take her love to town. Yet its this tale of knowing when to fight that looms largest in his legend, even more so than rotisserie chicken. A number one hit in the UK, it shattered records in the US as well, climbing to number three on the pop charts. Some stories lose their power through endless repetition. Tommy's final battle with the Gatlin boys never ceases to give me chills. Rick Rubin, get this guy in your studio.
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