Patsy Cline

Listen: Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray / Patsy Cline

Usually accurate, Wikipedia’s Patsy Cline singles discography is very incomplete. US Decca had more than one number series during the 50′s and 60′s, making them an impossible tool when attempting to organize their releases chronologically. Through the years, I’ve stumbled upon so many promo copies of her singles, and squirm a bit at the thought of them being out of order in my library, therefore deciding to sort these out once and for all, hitting Wikipedia as a reference. To be fair, it did help a bit, listing a few relevant titles through the years, thereby identifying some numerical logic, but overall it was glaringly patchy.

Meanwhile, the organizing turned into an extended Patsy Cline singles session. Scary how some of the earliest titles, from say ’55, sound so dated, way more hillbilly than country. All very primitive but still recorded meticulously, generally by Owen Bradley. Shocking too how many records she released without any success on either the Pop or Country charts. Other than one title in ’57, ‘Walkin’ After Midnight’(#2 Country, #12 Pop), it would be six years of chart failures until ‘I Fall To Pieces’(#1 Country, #12 Pop) began her string of hits.

‘Three Cigarettes In An Ashtray’, time frozen by both title and lyric, has weathered the years to become a classic, covered often and always included in various compilations and anthologies. Apparently a rather haunted person in real life, one of the few items recovered from the plane crash site was her “beloved Confederate Flag cigarette lighter which played ‘Dixie’”, making the song even more cryptic.

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