Cindy Walker: Tinsel and Rot Hall of Famer

There has been much internal discussion among the Tinsel and Rot Board of Directors regarding the strictly white male make-up of the Hall of Fame to date. Then, while cataloging some old posts, we came across the inspiration for the founding of the Hall of Fame and discovered an egregious oversight whose correcting would break up the stranglehold white guys have had so far on the Hall of Fame. And so, we first apologize for not inducting legendary songwriter Cindy Walker sooner and then welcome her into the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame.

In a just world, Ms. Walker would still be alive to receive this honor (and, in fact, would actually care about it) so she could deliver another knockout induction speech like she did upon her induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame. Alas, she is no longer with us, though it is doubtful that if she were still alive she could top that CMHOF poem/speech. I am still stunned and disappointed that someone hasn't thrown this up on YouTube, so you will have to make do with the transcript:

"In the 1980s my mother bought me a dress for a BMI affair
And she said, 'When they put you in the Hall Of Fame, that's the dress I want you to wear'
And, I said, 'Oh, mama, the Hall Of Fame...Why, that will never be'
And the years went by, but my mother's words remained in my memory
And I know tonight she'd be happy, tho she's gone now to her rest
But I think of all that she did for me and, tonight, I'm wearing that dress!"

If you can watch the video of that and feel nothing, I officially don't like you. Here's the dress, by the way:

Of course, it would be weird to induct a person solely on the basis of an induction speech for another hall of fame. So, it seems wise to point out that Ms. Walker was a prolific and amazing songwriter. "You Don't Know Me," "Bubbles in My Beer." "Cherokee Maiden," "Dream Baby (How Long Must I Dream," "Distant Drums," "Not That I Care," "Triflin' Gal," "Miss Molly," and my personal favorite, "Going Away Party" were all either written or cowritten by Ms. Walker, who had songs recorded by Bing Crosby, Bob Wills, Roy Orbison, Jim Reeves, Ernest Tubb, Webb Pierce, and Willie Nelson, just to name a few (Willie's "You Don't Know Me: The Songs of Cindy Walker" is a fine place to start a discovery of Walker's talents, as is Leon Rausch's "Close to You: A 20 Song Salute to the Music of Cindy Walker").

Walker died in March 2006 (nine days after the Willie Nelson tribute CD was released) and though she has earned a good measure of acclaim in country music circles, it still isn't quite enough for our tastes. Too freqeuntly, she is described as "one of the greatest female country music songwriters," but that's a couple of adjectives too many. She is simply one of the best songwriters of all time, and we are proud to have Cindy Walker in the Tinsel and Rot Hall of Fame.

Here are some of her songs done by the greats:

Roy Orbison (and other people not quite as cool as Roy Orbison) doing "Dream Baby":

Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys doing "Bubbles in My Beer" (while you watch an annoying "psychedelic" slideshow):

And a partial version of Richard Manuel doing "You Don't Know Me" that'll break your heart (if you prefer to hear Willie's full version, go here or check out a nice Emmylou Harris take here):

And, as it turns out, Cindy Walker has a pretty rad tombstone, too (AP photo by Tony Gutierrez):

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