Saturday, August 23, 2008

"...Lord, I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes..."

Well, I guess I just gave the subject of this post right away, didn't I?
I was only seven years old when the George Jones hit "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" was on the radio in 1985, and I can't even remember when the first time was that I heard it. But as time goes on, yes, it's gotten much more meaning. It was poignant enough when it was a hit record, but now more than it's ever been. Consider...

You know, this old world is full of singers
But just a few are chosen
To tear your heart out when they sing
Imagine life without them
All your radio heroes
Like the outlaw that walks through Jessi's dreams

No, there will never be another
Red-Headed Stranger
A Man in Black and "Folsom Prison Blues"
The Okie from Muskogee
Or "Hello, darlin'"
Lord I wonder, who's gonna fill their shoes

When that song came out, every one of the icons mentioned in that verse was still alive and having hit records. Conway Twitty was the first to go in 1993, and then Waylon in 2002, and then the Man in Black left us in September 2003, months after his bride. Only the Red-Headed Stranger and the Okie from Muskogee are left. Who's gonna fill their shoes, indeed? I remember writing a few years ago that Alan Jackson had proven without a doubt that those shoes were tailor-made for him; I still feel that way, and the same goes for George Strait. Other than that I am not quite sure. They really don't make 'em like that anymore, do they? And just for grins, how old DO I sound? ;-)