I found out recently that Pam Tillis is going to be at the Lakeside Casino & Hotel in Osceola, IA in October and I’m already plotting how to get there. I always forget about Pam Tillis, but every so often I totally get on a Pam kick. As many people know, I have this super-soft spot for 90s country and Pam Tillis is a perfect example of everything that was right with 90s country. Cheesy yet also full of quality. Many strive for this but few achieve it. I am also kind of amazed because she is the only famous person I can think of who is named Pam (except for Pam Dawber.) So today I’m going to write a little bit about seven Pam Tillis songs. These are probably the seven songs I’ll use to convince Anna she needs to go see Pam Tillis with me in October.
1) Maybe It Was Memphis
If I was forced to name a single Pam Tillis song as my favorite, it would have to be “Maybe It Was Memphis.” The southern summer nights, Mama’s front porch swing, the Faulkner novel, the misty moonlight, the katydids…what’s not to like? Heidi and I kind of have a running joke between the two of us when we can’t figure out why something has happened, we usually say “maybe it was Memphis.”
2) Cleopatra, Queen of Denial
Never one to be able to resist a good pun, “Cleopatra, Queen of Denial” has been a long-running favorite. As Pam’s beau continues to blow her off, she keeps the faith, making excuses for him over and over again. I was listening to this song in the car the other day with Anna and about half-way through the song, she picked up my phone and looked at the title and was “oh, NOW I get it.
3) Spilled Perfume
“Spilled Perfume” was the first Pam Tillis song I ever heard and it hooked me from the start. It’s kind of a pun, but not really, but it’s hard to resist someone admonishing you for crying over spilled perfume.
4) Let That Pony Run
Another song from early in my Pam Tillis indoctrination, “Let That Pony Run” tells the story of a divorcee who picks up the pieces after her “husband came clean with the help of Jim Beam and confessed all his sins in one night.” Heidi and I always laughed at how Pam’s husband in the song had “fallen in love with a barmaid” – what is this, medieval England? Well, whatever, because it’s a pretty good song and it had Anna’s attention at “pony.”
5) I Know What You Did Last Night (with Lorrie Morgan)
Finally something NOT from the 90s – this song made my best of 2013 list. Nothing said “shut up and take my money” more than an album featuring Lorrie Morgan and Pam Tillis, even though I hadn’t really ever listened to Lorrie Morgan beyond her duet with Dolly Parton, “Best Woman Win.” Anyway, “I Know What You Did Last Night” is fun and they totally get away with a song like this because they are in their 50s and not in spite of them being in their 50s.
6) Almost Over (Gettin’ Over You) [with Billy Gilman]
Talk about a guilty pleasure. “Almost Over (Gettin’ Over You)” was one of those songs I downloaded forever ago (ok, 2006) because of Pam and promptly forgot about. A few years back, it came up randomly and I really got into it. There was something that was simultaneously hilarious and disturbing about then 18 year-old Gilman almost over gettin’ over then 51 year-old Pam Tillis. Madonna better watch her back, I guess. I have no idea whatever happened to Billy Gilman who started with such promise at the age of 11 but whose career petered out after this album. And yeah, this was the best video I could find for the song.
7) Shake The Sugar Tree
Last but certainly not least is “Shake The Sugar Tree” which sounds vaguely naughty to me. Surely “shake the sugar tree” is a euphemism for something, right? Anyway, you gotta tend to what you planted, and if you take my love for granted, I’ll shake-shake the sugar tree.