Good Morning Neighbor

The Ridgewood Boys will be performing on the Hour of Harvest program on WLJC-TV this coming May. The program is so homemade that you can’t help but be charmed by it, or at least I can’t. The quality of the music is all over the map, at least as far as professionalism goes, but it is always heartfelt and sometimes it is surprisingly good.

We aren’t set up to watch anything but DVDs on television so we can’t see the program when it is broadcast, but they do archive some of the programs on the internet, and I’ve been watching some of those to get a feel for how to approach performing there. Most of the stuff I skipped through pretty quickly, but a performance by Don Lovins and Friends was pretty good, so I slowed it down a bit, and stopped short when I heard them perform this song, “Good Morning Neighbor”:

Chorus:

    Good morning neighbor, it’s a pretty day
    Let’s all go to church, yeah, I’m on my way
    Gonna lose my sorrow and every care
    Good morning neighbor, I’ll see you there

Now I ain’t got no money to put in to Sunday School today
I’ve looked under the rug and just about everywhere
But when I get my Bible and head on down the road
Well, I feel just like a multi-millionaire

Now all I’ve got to wear to church is this old blue serge suit
And it looks just like a real hand me down
But when I get my Bible and head on down the road
Well I feel just like the mayor of the town

You see this old brown hat that I keep hanging on a nail
About the funniest looking hat I’ve ever seen
But when I get my Bible and head on down the road
Well I feel just like a new crowned king

Now, some songs are just tailor-made for the Ridgewood Boys, and this is one of them. Looking around the internet for info about it, I got a few more shocks. First, it was written by Porter Wagoner, who was always sort of a joke to me in my high school years, what with his corny outfits and perfect pompadour and giggly singing partner, a then-little-known Dolly Parton. But Wagoner wrote another one of our favorite songs that we sing often, “Highway Headed South,” and so I’m not surprised that he wrote this, only that one more of his songs fits us so well.

Second, it has hardly been recorded by anyone else, as far as I can tell. I couldn’t even find an mp3 of Porter himself singing it; it seems to appear only on a couple of obscure albums, and the man probably released upwards of one hundred of them. We ended up learning it from the video of Don Lovins, and we’re certainly glad to do what we can to spread its fame.

Third, while searching for the lyrics I ran across this post by our old friend Tom Scepaniak, the Northern Farmer. Turns out that one of his local radio stations plays it every morning as they sign on!

Anyway, I found the song this past Sunday, Chris and I spent some time working on it that afternoon, and after a couple of run-throughs tonight we went ahead and made a quick recording of it. The sound isn’t as good as it ought to be, since I forgot to push a particular button on the recorder, but it’s good enough for our version in its current raw form.

Good Morning Neighbor (2.7Mb mp3)

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3 thoughts on “Good Morning Neighbor

  1. Hey Rick!

    That’s thee song I was wondering about! I’ve heard it time after time, almost every morning for over 30 years. The local radio station here, a farmer station, starts up at 6 AM every morning with the sound of roosters crowing, cows bellering and the farm announcers saying “Good Morning, Its time to get up!” And as that’s said they go right into the song, the whole thing.
    I never did know it was Porter singing that till I had a hint on my blog from a commenter, then it started making sense. Another old favorite of mine from Porter is “We Got Company Coming”.
    Thanks for bring the song back to life!!

  2. I remember hearing the song on the radio in 1979 or 1980, but it was introduced under the title “Let’s Go to Church.” I think it was the Speer Family that recorded it, but it’s been over 25 years, so my memory is a little hazy. Ivan Parker has recorded a song called “Let’s Go to Church,” but I don’t know if it’s the same one.

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