The first few measures of You’re the Reason Our Kids Are Ugly sound like they could have been laid down at Muscle Shoals. A slightly twangy guitar riff runs down the fret board into a classically muffled 1970’s drum beat. Then the funky Brother Ray organ kicks in and no one’s thinking country. All that changes though the moment Conway Twitty’s voice breaks in with –
You’re the reason I’m ridin’ around on recapped tires (think tar-ers)
And Loretta Lynn immediately answers with –
You’re the reason I’m hanging our clothes outside on wires (think whar-ers)
There’s no mistaking this, then, being a 2 minute and 30 second piece of country pie. Nothing particularly revelatory here I suppose, but it always makes me laugh and most of the time that’s enough. The thing that really works is the affection we hear between Conway and Loretta. We’ve all known this couple. They bicker in public, but you get the feeling that, when alone, they get down to a lot of lovin’.
No one believed life would be easy or that your kids would be cute. A song born out of it’s time and also a song for our coming times. You and I aren’t going to get a bailout, and as the song says “when we get ahead its got another mouth to feed.” What would those big old country families think of the mother of six who just had octuplets? The time seems right again for a commercial return to our country roots. Family is something to be sung about and celebrated, even when it’s not a perfect picture of all the cliched happiness shown in glossies. It’s not something brought to us by Walmart, but it doesn’t have to be serious and academic to also have a point.
But looks ain’t everything, and money ain’t everything, but I love you just the same.