Roger Miller

Roger and Out/A Trip in the Country, et al

Like Willie Nelson and Mel Tillis, Roger Miller was one of the 1950s-’60s Nashville songwriters who left a lasting mark. He wrote hits for others before “Dang Me” and the 1965 signature song “King of the Road” launched his own lengthy hit streak. His witty originals and zany vocals are showcased on a dozen vintage LPs, digitally reissued by Universal Music.

Roger and Out (1964), The Return of Roger Miller, The 3rd Time Around (’65), and Words and Music by Roger Miller (’66) cover the peak years and hits like “Chug-A-Lug,” “Engine, Engine #9,” “Kansas City Star,” and “Husbands and Wives.” Producer Jerry Kennedy placed Miller’s vocals atop a cushion of acoustic guitars played by A-Teamers Harold Bradley, Ray Edenton, and Kennedy himself.

A Trip in the Country (1970) revisited hits Miller penned for George Jones, Ray Price, Faron Young, Ernest Tubb, and others. Backed by a smoking studio band with fiddles, Buddy Emmons’ pedal steel, and the guitars of Bradley, Edenton, and Chip Young, Miller tore into “Tall, Tall Trees” and “Invitation to the Blues,” recalling Ray Price’s 1958 version. Emmons excels throughout, particularly on “Invitation,” “That’s The Way I Feel,” and “Half a Mind.”

This article originally appeared in VG’s October 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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