The classic country duet by frequent collaborators Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn wrapped up 65 percent of the votes cast. Trailing were Mississippi by Afroman, 21%; Free State of Jones by Cary Hudson, 9 percent, and Blues Come Yonder by L.C. Ulmer, 5 percent.
The Playlist salutes the significance of Mississippi music during our state’s bicentennial celebration. Songs selected in previous rounds of voting include:
• Stop! In the Name of Love from The Supremes with Greenville’s Mary Wilson
• Chain Gang by Sam Cooke
• Hoochie Coochie Man by Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon
• Mississippi River by Paul Davis
• Misty Blue by Dorothy Moore
• Heartbreak Hotel by Elvis Presley
• Hello Darlin’ by Conway Twitty
• Stand by Your Man by Tammy Wynette
• Great Balls of Fire by Jerry Lee Lewis
• Come Monday by Jimmy Buffett
• Ode to Billie Joe by Bobbie Gentry
• The Thrill is Gone by B.B. King
• Cross Road Blues by Robert Johnson
Next up, four new nominees: Born in Mississippi by Chris Ledoux, Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good) by Sugarland, 13 Days by Dave Mack and Don’t Leave Me This Way by Thelma Houston.
You can listen to the new entries and vote for your favorite on mississippitoday.org. You also can vote on our Twitter account. Every two weeks through the fall, a fresh ballot of four new nominees will be published.
To be nominated, songs must be about Mississippi or performed by Mississippi artists. All of the contenders were selected by Mississippi music experts, Mississippi Today and The ‘Sip magazine.
Round 15 contenders
• Chris LeDoux was a country music singer-songwriter, bronze sculptor and hall of fame rodeo champion born in Biloxi. His song, Born in Mississippi, is a thank you letter to his home state, where he lived until he was 12 years old. LeDoux, who moved to Texas and Tennessee and later to Wyoming to pursue his rodeo dreams, recorded 36 albums, many of which were self-released, and sold more than 6 million units in the United States. He was awarded two gold and one platinum album certifications from the Recording Industry Association of America, was nominated for a Grammy Award and was honored with the Academy of Country Music Music Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award. LeDoux died in 2005 from liver disease. His life and career are honored on the Mississippi Country Music Trail.
• Down in Mississippi (Up to No Good), the fourth and final single from the album Twice the Speed of Life, was written and recorded by country music group Sugarland in 2006. It was Sugarland’s only album as a trio, including Kristian Bush, Jennifer Nettles and Kristen Hall. Hall departed the group after Twice the Speed of Life. Sugarland performed Down in Mississippi at the 2006 CMT Music Awards and the Academy of Country Music Awards. The song spent 20 weeks on the Hot Country Songs chart and peaked at No. 1 on Bubbling Under Hot 100, a chart published weekly by Billboard magazine in the United States.
• Thelma Houston, a singer and actress born in Leland, scored a massive international hit in 1977 with her Motown cover of Don’t Leave Me This Way. The song topped the soul singles chart and the Billboard Hot 100. More reflective of mid-’70s pop culture, Don’t Leave Me This Way was on a continuous audio loop in discos around the world. It was featured on the soundtrack of the movie Looking for Mr. Goodbar, starring Diane Keaton and Richard Gere, in 1977, and in the following year, Don’t Leave Me This Way won the award for Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female at the 20th Annual Grammy Awards. Houston continued to record music in the 1980s and ’90s. In 2000, she toured throughout Australia in the stage musical Fame. Houston has sung Don’t Leave Me This Way on dozens of TV shows, including NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Motown 45 and American Idol. Don’t Leave Me This Way was counted among the greatest dance songs by VH1 in 2000 and was ranked No. 86 on the channel’s countdown of The 100 Greatest One-Hit Wonders.
• 13 Days by Mississippi soul singer Dave Mack of Mendenhall was released in 2005 on Mack’s first and only album, also titled 13 Days. The song is a slow tempo version of Smokey Robinson’s Tracks of My Tears. Mack, who hasn’t recorded or toured much since his album release, is still considered a staple on the Jackson soul scene.