The Kentucky Headhunters “Pickin’ On Nashville”

Today’s Cool Album of the Day (#452 in the Series) is The Kentucky Headhunters, Pickin’ On Nashville

I guess you could put the Kentucky Headhunters in the ‘Guilty Pleasures’ category. I loved this album back in the day.  It’s some good ol’ fashion, southern rock.

The Kentucky Headhunters made quite a splash with Pickin’ on Nashville. After years of trying, they were an “overnight sensation. “

They consisted of two sets of brothers the Phelps, Rickie Lee and Doug, and the Young’s, Fred and Richard along with Greg Martin and Richard Ripani.

One of the things I liked about the Headhunters was that they like to cover a tradition song every so often.  Here they took Bill Monroe’s, “Walk Softly On the Heart of Mine “and “Don Gibson’s “On, Lonesome Me.”  On other albums they’ve covered “Spirit in the Sky” by Norman Greenbaum”, “The Ballad of Davey Crockett”, “Blue Moon Over Kentucky” another Bill Monroe tune.

Lead singer Rickie Lee Phelps would onlykh stay with the band for this album and the next. He’d leave for a solo career.  He’s still doing it. I’m still not sure it was a good move. This band had quite a bit of momentum when he left. They’d replace him and, they too, are still around.

Four country singles were pulled off this album.  The first was “Walk Softly”; it peaked at 25 on the Billboard Country Singles chart. It was followed by “Dumas Walker”, 15; “Oh, Lonesome Me, 8 and “Rock and Roll Angel”, 23.  That’s not a bad little run there.  Better yet, Pickin’ On Nashville also won a Grammy Award. It won for Best Country Performance By A Duo or Group With Vocal.

The album peaked at #2 on the Billboard Country album chart and #41 on the Billboard Top 200 Album chart.

One last thing about the single “Dumas Walker.” The first two times I heard it I couldn’t believe something this dirty was on the radio.  I thought the line, “Let’s go, down to Dumas Walker” was, “Let’s all go, down and do Miss Walker.” I’m sure I wasn’t the only one!

 Track listing

  1. “Walk Softly on This Heart of Mine” (Bill Monroe) – 3:44
  2. “Dumas Walker” (Greg Martin, D. Phelps, R. L. Phelps, Fred Young, Richard Young) – 2:50
  3. “Ragtop” (D. Phelps, R. L. Phelps) – 3:11
  4. “Rock & Roll Angel” (R. Young) – 3:51
  5. “Smooth” (Samuel Edward Crowe, R. L. Phelps) – 4:27
  6. “High Steppin’ Daddy” (Martin) – 2:57
  7. “Skip a Rope” (Jack Moran, Glenn Tubb) – 2:31
  8. “Some Folks Like to Steal” (Martin, F. Young, R. Young) – 2:51
  9. “Oh Lonesome Me” (Don Gibson) – 3:09
  10. “My Daddy Was a Milkman” (Martin, D. Phelps, R. L. Phelps, F. Young, R. Young) – 4:28


  • Greg Martin – electric guitar, slide guitar
  • Doug Phelps – background vocals, bass guitar
  • Ricky Lee Phelps – lead vocals
  • Richard Ripani – organ on “Rock & Roll Angel” and “Oh Lonesome Me”
  • Fred Young – drums, percussion
  • Richard Young – rhythm guitar


Posted by Larry Carta

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