Wednesday, November 1, 2023

Classic Country Ballads of Lost Love – Give My Love to Rose #westernfictioneers #countryballads #classiccountrymusic

I grew up in the late 50s and 60s listening to the country music of that era. I stuck with country music through the 70s. I made it into the 80s but, by the late 80s, country music as I knew and loved was headed in a direction that, with a few exceptions, I wasn’t interested going. So I didn’t. (Get off my lawn.)

 The old west gunfighter and trail ballads, drinking songs, and revenge songs had an influence on me that was, and still is, every bit as strong as the impact Louis L’Amour’s books left with me. My lifelong interest, perhaps fascination bordering on obsession, with everything old west—truth, legends, and myths alike—have roots in those old cowboy and country songs.

 I’m inviting you to read along with me this year as I post one or two nostalgic-for-me country ballads on the first Wednesday of each month. I will share a snippet of trivia about each song along with a YouTube video.

 Each month, I will include a link back to the previous month’s article as reference to those songs. The common thread that runs among the songs I’ve chosen for this musical memory lane excursion is tragic lost love.

January – Marty Robbins – El Paso and Feleena
February – Faron Young – TheYellow Bandana
March – Willie Nelson and Ray Charles – 
Seven Spanish Angels
April – Marty Robbins – San Angelo
May – Billy Walker – Cross the Brazos at Waco
June – Billy Walker – Matamoros
July – Marty Robbins – Running Gun
August – Willie Nelson – Red Headed Stranger
September – Marty Robbins – They’re Hanging Me Tonight
October – Lefty Frizzell – Long Black Veil

Give My Love to Rose is the song for November. It was written by Johnny Cash. He recorded and released it in 1957. It was the “B” side of his single Home of the Blues. In 2002, Cash re-recorded Give My Love to Rose, which garnered him his fourth Grammy Award.

According to Cash, he came up with the basic idea for the song after having had a conversation with an inmate at San Quentin State Prison. The prisoner had asked Cash to give a message to his wife. From there, Cash wrote the story of a released convict traveling home to reunite with his wife and son. The former prisoner is either terminally ill or somehow injured, and he collapses along the railroad tracks. The song’s narrator finds him, listens to the dying man’s last requests, and presumably conveys that message to his family.

Until we meet again,

Kaye Spencer
Lasterday Stories
writing through history one romance upon a time


  1. AWWWW. I have never heard that before! Thanks for blogging on these songs--I have learned some I never knew before I read your blogs and this is one of them!

  2. I remember the lovely story you wrote based on this song. I think for that reason it sticks with me. Doris

  3. Yes, Kaye, tragic love lost. Perhaps we're especially touched by those songs because at least some of them could have been written about us. Thank you, John