“Tennessee Flat Top Box” by Rosanne Cash

Song of the Day

September 13, 2017

Written by Johnny Cash
Produced by Rodney Crowell
Released on the album King’s Record Shop in June 1987

“Tennessee Flat Top Box” was originally written and recorded by Johnny Cash in 1961 and later recorded by his daughter, Rosanne Cash. The song’s name refers to a steel stringed acoustic guitar and its narrative follows the rise to fame by “a little brown-haired boy”.

Rosanne Cash, 1987

Rosanne Cash recorded the cover version for her 1987 hit album, King’s Record Shop, and the song topped the Country charts in early 1988. Aside from Cashh’s fine vocals, the song is highlighted by the distinct acoustic guitar played by Randy Scruggs.

Listen to “Tennessee Flat Top Box”:

Song Lyrics

In a little cabaret, in a south Texas border town
Sat a boy and his guitar and the people came from all around
And all the girls from there to Austin
Were slippin’ away from home and puttin’ jewelry in hock
To take the trip, to go and listen
To the little dark-haired boy who played the Tennessee flat top box
And he would play

Well he couldn’t ride or wrangle and he never cared to make it dime
But give him his guitar and he’d be happy all the time
And all the girls from nine to ninety
Were snappin’ fingers, tappin’ toes and beggin’ him don’t stop
And hypnotized, and fascinated
By the little dark-haired boy who played the Tennessee flat top box
And he would play

Then one day he was gone and no one ever saw him ’round
He vanished like the breeze, they forgot him in the little town
But all the girls still dreamed about him
And hung around the caberet until the doors were locked
And then one day on the hit parade
Was the little dark-haired boy who played the Tennessee flat top box
And he would play

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