We’re overdue for another edition of Country Catalyst, the Special Feature that offers a classic country song while hoping to open a few ears and make some new fans. As it happens, today’s song is another one with an American Indian theme, sort of like our previous post, but this one has quite a pedigree.
When Cindy Walker wrote “Cherokee Maiden” in 1941, she was still in the early stages of what would be a Hall of Fame career, but she knew it was perfect for Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys. It was indeed, and his hit record of the song apparently appealed to listeners who would have at that time needed cheering up while nervously watching the beginnings of World War II.
The song became a familiar one on bandstands — at least for country bands — and as the years passed it surged into renewed hit status a couple of times. The first notable occasion occurred in the mid-1970s when Merle Haggard took it to #1 on the charts, and the second happened in 2001 when Ray Benson and Asleep At The Wheel — Bob Wills’ modern counterpart — won a Grammy with the song.
Since we combined Asleep At The Wheel with Bob Wills on an earlier post for Country Catalyst, let’s give Merle Haggard a shot today. (Video below.)