A love story with a twist, this song about loving native Americans is based on…statues.
The song is based on the main character Kaw-Liga, who is a “wooden Indian”, who despite being an inanimate object, has still fallen in love with a fellow Cochtaw tribesperson, an unnamed maiden. However, as his heart is made of “knotty pine”, Kaw-Liga can never express his true emotions for his love.
Despite starting with tribal-like rhythmic drumming patterns, the song’s chorus picks up with a lively crescendo, which rhetorically and humorously remarks: “Is it any wonder that his face is red?” The chorus is followed by a vibrant violin solo section.
Never able to express his love, Kaw-Liga’s story ends in tragedy, with a wealthy customer buying the dime-store Indian (as they were known).
The song went on to hit number one on the Billboard Country chart shortly after Williams’ death, where it stayed for 14 weeks.
#5. You Win Again
The B-side of Settin’ The Woods On Fire, You Win Again was recorded on July 11th, 1952, just one day after finalizing his divorce from wife Audrey Williams (Sheppard). This, thus, gives the lyrics a much deeper sentiment.
The song’s lyrics paint a picture, telling a story of a lover who cannot leave their partner despite their infidelity. This infidelity should make the narrator leave but the defeated partner simply has grown to love their partner so much that their unfaithfulness is not cause for split. Each stanza ends with the solemn and downtrodden line “You win again.”
One of Hank’s greatest vocal performances, the pining, heartfelt effort by Hank aids empathy for the song’s narrator. The song contains the famous opening lines: “The news is out all over town, that you’ve been seen a-runnin’ around”, with even his reputation in the dirt, the song’s singer is still too in love to ditch his partner, with Hank singing, “I love you still, you win again.”
Hank, with a heavy heart, even deprecates himself for not seeing the signs, blaming himself, commenting “This heart of mine could never see, what everybody knew but me.”
The song brings itself full circle with the mournful verse: “I’m sorry for – your victim now, ’cause soon his head like mine will bow, he’ll give his heart but all in vain, and someday say: ‘you win again.’”
The song has become a standard country standard for its themes of love and loss. Although it is not exclusive to that genre, covered by everyone from The Rolling Stones to Ray Charles.