Being country when country isn’t cool is something all readers in 2022 can probably relate to, especially if you enjoy jamming to the old-school country sound.
Luckily, you’re not alone…in the 1980s, Barbara Mandrell belted out the same sentiment in her hit “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool.”
Nicknamed the “Princess of Steel,” Barbara was more than proficient at playing multiple instruments, including steel guitar, but her traditional country roots ran deep, which became the main idea behind this hit track.
In the song, Barbara recalls a number of her own traits that mark her out as a true country pioneer, someone who donned, looked and sang the part of country dominance even before country became “trendy” or “cool.”
George Jones was also featured on the track’s chorus, which contained these lyrics:
I remember wearing straight leg Levis
Flannel shirts even if they weren’t in fashion…
And I’ve heard Opry
If all my friends
We dig rock ‘n roll
And it seems like that song also served to ensure that Barbara finally got the last word on some of the bullies who long ago singled out their country leanings after years later watching them all jump on the country bandwagon :
I made a lot of fun
Because I never fit in
Now look at you all
I try to be what I was then
I was country when country wasn’t cool
In other words — she didn’t see anyone else around when she reclaimed her country roots. It wasn’t until it got more popular…
It takes guts (even today) to be a country artist stepping out of the box to show deep emotion or even a notorious opinion. And in that regard, Barbara Mandrell really set the stage for the country’s future women not to hold back.
So here’s the pioneer herself, Ms. Barbara Mandrell, dressed to kill and singing as she means on one of her 1995s Steppin’ Out tour stops.
And if you’ve never seen it, this rare footage of Barbara and George Jones performing the hit together at the 15th Annual CMA Awards is pretty good.
She was also named Entertainer of the Year that year.
https://www.whiskeyriff.com/2022/09/20/dont-go-another-second-without-watching-barbara-mandrell-sing-i-was-country-when-country-wasnt-cool/ Don’t Go Another Second Without Watching Barbara Mandrell Sing “I Was Country When Country Wasn’t Cool” Back In 1981