Song Of The Day 11/21/2015: Billie Jo Spears – “Mr. Walker, It’s All Over”

The Hidden '60s, Part 3 – This pretty delightful number was an example of a songwriting trend in late '60s country music that doesn't get the respect it deserves. It was a revision of the folk storytelling tradition to reflect the more subtle changes Nashville was watching take place in the late '60s. Plot lines were more complicated. Country music borrowed more heavily from literary traditions than most other forms of the time, and writers used those tools more flexibly than other more in-your-face genres. Ever notice how much the characters in "Ode to Billie Joe" don't say? My point.

"Mr. Walker, It's All Over" (#80, 1969) was written by a guy who went by the name Gene Crysler, 'cause you didn't want to name yourself "Gene Edsel." It was the first of sixteen Top 20 Country songs by Billie Jo Spears (1937-2011), whose version of "Harper Valley PTA" was beaten on the charts by Jeannie C. Riley's. Whereas the independent woman in "Harper Valley PTA" was more than ready to defend her honor in the face of a secretly sexed-up and drunk school board, the woman in "Mr. Walker, It's All Over" finds herself moving to New York to take a boring secretary job. She's of course put upon by a harried boss, a lecherous president, a fake HR rep, the rats in her apartment and, perhaps most inconveniently, an amateur trumpetist. "I don't like the New York secretary's life" she sings, as she heads back to her small town in Kansas to bag a husband. Let someone from the Bronx shatter that glass ceiling.

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