You Can't Take It With You When You Go
1987: I writing steady and have had another top 10 hit on John Anderson in 1986. The song is “Honky Tonk Crowd," that my friend Lionel Delmore brings me in to help him co-write. Looks like I'm gonna survive the music biz a while longer.
Bert Colwell, a great guitar player, songwriter and friend of mine is coming to town to write with Shell and me. Bert and Shell are really good friends who were in bands together on Florida’s gulf coast in the 70’s, In fact, it is Bert who gave me Shell’s number & told be to call him, back when I was the newest greenhorn wannabe in Nashville.
I know the session will be fun. Bert has a song idea, “You Can’t Take It With You When You Go” we’ve all heard the expression a lot but we easily get into the song.
Finishing what we think is the first verse and chorus rather quickly, we break to grab a bite to eat. After lunch we’re right back at it and wrap the song up before days end. I love the border line bluegrassyness of the piece, driven by Bert’s great guitar playing & Shell’s syncopated support. Later after it’s demoed and sits around a while, it gets pitched to country music legend and singer extraordinaire, Gene Watson. Gene Watson? Really? It does not get any better than that! His record label makes it a single on him and it’s screaming up the charts! Then.. for some reason, Warner Brothers decides in its infinite wisdom, that Gene is done as an artist on their label. Go figure. It’s a silly decision to me. Without Warner's promotion team, we're all bummed when our song dies in the 30’s but still thrilled that Gene believed in it & made such a great record of it. 25 years later he’s still one of the greatest country singers alive. Later, my band Lonesome Standard Time records it, as does Ricky Skaggs and several others. I meet Dierks Bentley about 1998. He was a friend of Terry Eldredge’s and has come by and sat in with us at the Station Inn a couple of times. Terry & I used to go see him when he was playing at Wolfy’s on Broadway in Nashville. I ask him early on to be on the project and he told me he would be happy to. Dierks is a great bluegrass fan and as you can tell by listening, he knows how to deliver this one with his trademark growl.. He’s even made a bluegrass CD himself! Thanks pal for being on my record. Great singing!