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It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better

 

Though perhaps little remembered today, the country music duo of Johnny Duncan and Janie Fricke were a staple of late 1970s and early 1980s country radio. It was then, as a kid growing up in the great West Texas city of El Paso, that I developed an appreciation for that particular musical genre which would never abate.

The ballads of Duncan and Fricke were often a bit on the seamy side, so I didn’t truly begin to understand what they were singing about until my teenage years, but when I did, I appreciated them even more.

Here they are performing “It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better” on a 1977 episode of Pop! Goes the Country:

Today, forty years later, their infectious joy still shines through their music. It can’t help but put me in a good mood while feeling down.

Regrettably, Johnny Duncan is no longer with us, having passed away in 2006 after a bout with cancer. Janie Fricke, however, is still performing at 69 years young.

Perhaps we all have idealized remembrances of our youth, when life seemed simpler, happier, and free from the day-to-day drudgery and stresses of adulthood. Are there any songs that take you back?

Published in Music
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Members have made 45 comments.

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  1. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    I was 16, driving my first car (with bench seats), when Paradise by the Dashboard Light was released.

    • #1
    • February 16, 2017 at 1:31 am
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  2. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I was 16, driving my first car (with bench seats), when Paradise by the Dashboard Light was released.

    That’s when “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”

    • #2
    • February 16, 2017 at 1:33 am
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  3. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Love should be easy. Too bad it ain’t.

    • #3
    • February 16, 2017 at 1:40 am
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  4. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    Mike LaRoche (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    I was 16, driving my first car (with bench seats), when Paradise by the Dashboard Light was released.

    That’s when “Rock and Roll Dreams Come Through.”

    “How cow, I think he’s gonna make it!”

    • #4
    • February 16, 2017 at 1:44 am
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  5. Profile photo of Mike Rapkoch Member

    My favorite country music cheatin’ song:

    • #5
    • February 16, 2017 at 2:19 am
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  6. Profile photo of CB Toder aka Mama Toad Member

    I treated myself to some old CDs for my b-day in Dec and rediscovered this joyful song. Could we get much higher, could we get much lighter, navigator to heaven?

    Now instead of me alone in my 1970 Dodge Dart with the JVC boom box strapped in the passenger seat blasting, it’s me in my 2006 Odyssey (great car, by the way, I love my power) filled with tadpoles singing along.

    • #6
    • February 16, 2017 at 3:59 am
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  7. Profile photo of Judithann Campbell Member

    The Devil Went Down To Georgia. My best friend and I loved that song when we were 7 or 8? 9 or 10? Can’t remember the exact year, but we were crazy about that song. 🙂

    • #7
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:54 am
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  8. Profile photo of dittoheadadt Member

    Have always loved Janie Fricke, since my late 70s high school days. Her “You Don’t Know Love” is typical great country heartache.

    I love distinctive voices, and hers you know in an instant.

    • #8
    • February 16, 2017 at 6:32 am
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  9. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, House of the Rising Sun by The Animals, The Doors. All of them take me right back to high school. I loved high school! I didn’t love the rock music after the Beatles as much as he pre-Beatles era before 1964. I love 1950s rock best of all, and I loved the 80s because it reminded me of the 50s music. Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Richie Valenz, Elvis, and The Big Bopper. I love all that.

    I also love the pre-Beatles girl groups: The Ronettes, The Crystals , Martha and the Vandellas etc

    • #9
    • February 16, 2017 at 6:47 am
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  10. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons had some great hits back in ’75:

    • #10
    • February 16, 2017 at 7:57 am
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  11. Profile photo of Richard Finlay Member

    Stone Poneys.

    Nobody ever says ‘Stone Poneys.’

    • #11
    • February 16, 2017 at 9:03 am
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  12. Profile photo of Matt Bartle Member

    Mike LaRoche: Here they are performing “It Couldn’t Have Been Any Better” on a 1977 episode of Pop! Goes the Country:

    Just sounds like a nice happy love song until you get to “and you’re my best friend’s girl”!

    • #12
    • February 16, 2017 at 9:20 am
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  13. Profile photo of DocJay Member

    Fox on the Run takes me back and I see it’s featured in the new Guardians of the Galaxy movie.

    • #13
    • February 16, 2017 at 10:18 am
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  14. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Oh, what a night!

    • #14
    • February 16, 2017 at 1:25 pm
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  15. Profile photo of JL Inactive
    JL

    Amen, Mike. While I don’t fault new pop-country for chasing the same commercialization that the rest of the music industry has made protocol for success — it pains me more to see the most sincere, story-telling American music genre use the cheap themes of Pop music.

    Loving these posts.

    • #15
    • February 16, 2017 at 2:29 pm
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  16. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    JLocked (View Comment):
    Amen, Mike. While I don’t fault new pop-country for chasing the same commercialization that the rest of the music industry has made protocol for success — it pains me more to see the most sincere, story-telling American music genre use the cheap themes of Pop music.

    Loving these posts.

    Thanks!

    • #16
    • February 16, 2017 at 3:29 pm
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  17. Profile photo of Randy Webster Member

    Mike Rapkoch (View Comment):
    My favorite country music cheatin’ song:

    A Knoxville band!

    • #17
    • February 16, 2017 at 4:07 pm
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  18. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    One of the most hilarious country songs ever:

    Put Another Log on the Fire  Tompall Glaser

    Put another log on the fire
    Cook me up some bacon and some beans
    And go out to the car and change the tire
    Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans
    Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe
    And then go fetch my slippers
    And boil me up another pot of tea
    Then put another log on the fire, babe
    And come and tell me why you’re leaving me

    Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday?
    Don’t I warn you when you’re gettin fat?
    Ain’t I gonna take you fishin’ with me someday?
    Well, a man can’t love a woman more than that
    Ain’t I always nice to your kid sister?
    Don’t I take her driving every night?
    So, sit here at my feet ’cause I like you when you’re sweet
    And you know it ain’t feminine to fight

    • #18
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:06 pm
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  19. Profile photo of Trink Reagan

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I didn’t love the rock music after the Beatles as much as he pre-Beatles era before 1964. I love 1950s rock best of all, and I loved the 80s because it reminded me of the 50s music. Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Richie Valenz, Elvis, and The Big Bopper. I love all that.

    I also love the pre-Beatles girl groups: The Ronettes, The Crystals , Martha and the Vandellas etc

    I’m in complete total agreement on every point here RA ! There’s never been a more stirring love ballad. The voice, the lyrics, the music. That finish. They just don’t make music like this anymore.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrK5u5W8afc

    • #19
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:43 pm
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  20. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Trink (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    I didn’t love the rock music after the Beatles as much as he pre-Beatles era before 1964. I love 1950s rock best of all, and I loved the 80s because it reminded me of the 50s music. Buddy Holly, The Everly Brothers, Richie Valenz, Elvis, and The Big Bopper. I love all that.

    I also love the pre-Beatles girl groups: The Ronettes, The Crystals , Martha and the Vandellas etc

    I’m in complete total agreement on every point here RA ! There’s never been a more stirring love ballad. The voice, the lyrics, the music. That finish. They just don’t make music like this anymore.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrK5u5W8afc

    Swooon! That song reminds me of every school dance! And a certain amount of groping.

    • #20
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:47 pm
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  21. Profile photo of Trink Reagan

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    If you’re going to highlight the Everly Brothers, then you should play the Everly Brothers.


    RightAngles (View Comment)
    :
    Swooon! That song reminds me of every school dance! And a certain amount of groping.

    Am I right?! Am I right!? They just don’t write or sing music like this today!

    (Edit:) This quote under the Youtube.

    OOPS. Thanks Judge!

    • #21
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm
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  22. Profile photo of Judge Mental Member

    If you’re going to highlight the Everly Brothers, then you should play the Everly Brothers.

    • #22
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:55 pm
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  23. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    If you’re going to highlight the Everly Brothers, then you should play the Everly Brothers.

    That was my favorite!

    • #23
    • February 16, 2017 at 5:57 pm
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  24. Profile photo of Trink Reagan

    RightAngles (View Comment):

    Judge Mental (View Comment):
    If you’re going to highlight the Everly Brothers, then you should play the Everly Brothers.

    That was my favorite!

    Great, great music. You could sing along, slap your knees. It was fun. Like I say: They just don’t make music like this anymore.

    • #24
    • February 16, 2017 at 6:03 pm
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  25. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Just three more likes needed for the Main Feed!

    • #25
    • February 16, 2017 at 7:20 pm
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  26. Profile photo of RightAngles Member

    Another favorite The Big Bopper (killed in the plane crash with Richie Valens and Buddy Holly):

    • #26
    • February 16, 2017 at 7:25 pm
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  27. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    Another favorite The Big Bopper (killed in the plane crash with Richie Valens and Buddy Holly.

    I once spent a month living in Chantilly, Virginia.

    BTW, if you like those guys, you’ll love the Buddy Holly Museum in Lubbock.

    • #27
    • February 16, 2017 at 7:32 pm
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  28. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    RightAngles (View Comment):
    One of the most hilarious country songs ever:

    Put Another Log on the Fire Tompall Glaser

    Put another log on the fire
    Cook me up some bacon and some beans
    And go out to the car and change the tire
    Wash my socks and sew my old blue jeans
    Come on, baby, you can fill my pipe
    And then go fetch my slippers
    And boil me up another pot of tea
    Then put another log on the fire, babe
    And come and tell me why you’re leaving me

    Now don’t I let you wash the car on Sunday?
    Don’t I warn you when you’re gettin fat?
    Ain’t I gonna take you fishin’ with me someday?
    Well, a man can’t love a woman more than that
    Ain’t I always nice to your kid sister?
    Don’t I take her driving every night?
    So, sit here at my feet ’cause I like you when you’re sweet
    And you know it ain’t feminine to fight

    Haha! Love this line:

    Ain’t I always nice to your kid sister?
    Don’t I take her driving every night?

    • #28
    • February 16, 2017 at 9:25 pm
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  29. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    The funniest country music song I ever heard was one performed live on The Tonight Show by Doc Severinsen back in 1989: “If You Knew Susie Like I Knew Susie, Here is the Name of a Very Good Clinic”

    • #29
    • February 16, 2017 at 9:28 pm
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  30. Profile photo of Mike LaRoche Thatcher
    Mike LaRoche Post author

    Music is the food of love.

    • #30
    • February 16, 2017 at 11:09 pm
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