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Mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna Judd, 1987

Mother Naomi and daughter Wynonna Judd, 1987

Naomi Judd passed away April 30 at age 76, leaving behind a legacy of country music recordings as a harmony singer and songwriter for The Judds. Goldmine shares five flip sides from the mother-daughter duo’s 1983-1991 recording era.

The Judds flip

Fabulous Flip Side: Mr. Pain

A side: Love is Alive

Top Country Singles chart debut: June 8, 1985

Peak position: No. 1

RCA/Curb PB-14093

With an acoustic guitar opening recalling Cat Stevens’ “Peace Train,” this song about failed relationships points to only being able to count on “Mr. Pain” as a constant in life, “Mr. Pain. Oh, it’s you again. Never really wanted us to be such friends. You always seem to show up when I’m all alone. That’s when you move right in and make yourself at home.”

Back side of Why Not Me album

Back side of Why Not Me album

Fabulous Flip Side: Drops of Water

A side: Grandpa (Tell Me ‘bout the Good Old Days)

Billboard Top Country Singles chart debut: February 15, 1986

Peak position: No. 1

RCA/Curb PB-14290

The mid-tempo “Drops of Water,” with a bending dobro opening, dismisses drops of water as being fateful, “nothin’ but the rain in my life.” The chorus is catchy, and the harmonies are strong.

Back side of Rockin' with the Rhythm album

Back side of Rockin' with the Rhythm album

Fabulous Flip Side: The Sweetest Gift

A side: Don’t Be Cruel

Billboard Top Country Singles chart debut: February 14, 1987

Peak position: No. 10

RCA/Curb PB-5329

This flip side originally charted in 1976 as the flip side of Linda Ronstadt’s version of “Tracks of My Tears,” where she was joined by Emmylou Harris on “The Sweetest Gift,” which charted separately and reached No. 12, just behind the A side’s No. 11 peak on the country singles chart. Emmylou Harris returned to join The Judds on their version of “The Sweetest Gift,” adding a tender third part harmony to the duo.

Back side of Heartland album

Back side of Heartland album

Fabulous Flip Side: Cow Cow Boogie

A side: Turn It Loose

Billboard Top Country Singles chart debut: January 16, 1988

Peak position: No. 1

RCA/Curb PB-5329

The bass driven “Cow Cow Boogie” is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, originally sung by Ella Mae Morse, and recorded over the years by The Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald, Frankie Laine, The Mills Brothers, Mel Torme and more. The Judds’ vocal treatment on this cowboy song is pure fun, “Cuma-ti-yi-yi-ay, cuma-yippity-yi-ay.”

The Judds River

Fabulous Flip Side: Sleepless Nights

A side: One Man Woman

Billboard Top Country Singles chart debut: November 25, 1989

Peak position: No. 8

Curb/RCA 9077-7-R

The Judds’ family harmony is on par with The Everly Brothers on the gentle, lullaby-like “Sleepless Nights.” Their strong vocal delivery on the bridge is a shining delight.

In addition to the No. 1 hits above, The Judds’ other No. 1 singles are, “Mama He’s Crazy,” “Why Not Me,” “Girls Night Out,” “Have Mercy,” “Rockin’ With the Rhythm of the Rain,” “Cry Myself to Sleep,” “I Know Where I’m Going,” “Maybe Your Baby’s Got the Blues,” “Change of Heart” (written by Naomi Judd), “Young Love,” and “Let Me Tell You About Love.”

Related Links:

Goldmine April 30, 2022 Naomi Judd tribute

facebook.com/thejudds

thejudds.com

Goldmine Fabulous Flip Sides now in its seventh year

goldminemag.com/columns/fabulous-flip-sides