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Throwback Thursday: Patsy Cline, ‘Sweet Dreams (Of You)’

Welcome to Throwback Thursday, a weekly series showcasing an album, single, music video or performance of a bygone era and its personal and/or cultural significance.

In the spirit of straight, white and fragile men claiming women aren’t permitted to be confident and ambitious and step outside their “place,” at least this prominent Americana blogger thinks so, let’s focus our attention on one truly great woman who carved out her own path, shook up Music Row during the Nashville Sound era and dismantled the patriarchy, to boot. In country music, there are few names that carry as much weight as Patsy Cline, whose voice could cut glass and leave you aching for more. She only released three studio albums in her time, but her legacy has only flourished since her tragic, untimely end in a plane crash early March 1963.

One of Cline’s most enduring hits remains “Sweet Dreams (Of You),” a delicate, searing waltz number originally written and recorded by Don Gibson in 1956. Just one month prior to her death, Cline hit the studio to record her own version, produced by Owen Bradley (Brenda Lee, Buddy Holly, Loretta Lynn) and slated for a record called Faded Love, which was never actually released. Those sessions (which included “Blue Moon of Kentucky,” “Crazy Arms” and “Always”) were late compiled for 1988’s Patsy Cline, The Last Sessions collection. “Sweet dreams of you / Every night I go through / Why can’t I forget you and start my life anew / Instead of having sweet dreams about you,” Cline weeps on the classic, which would go on to become a Top 5 hit on the country singles chart.

She later glides through icy strings and tender percussion, coming to terms with her heartbreak, crooning, “You don’t love me, it’s plain / I should know I’ll never wear your ring / I should hate you the whole night through / Instead of having sweet dreams about you…” It was always Cline’s precision of vocal ability that could tear the listener apart, always wearing her emotion on the surface.

Listen below:

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Jason Scott

Editor-in-Chief of the Badlands, spinning those B-Sides. Love Parks & Rec. Addicted to high-priced coffee drinks, alt-country and synth-pop, and never know when to quit. Got a cat named Jake--and she doesn't like you very much.

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