Young Pam Tillis sings “Detroit City” with Mel Tillis and Bobby Bare

A quick search for sequences of Pam tillis playing with his father, Mel Tillis, showed this clip which associates the young Pam with two Country Music Hall of Fame with talented families: his father and naked bobby.

The trio perform “Detroit City,” a Mel Tillis co-writing with Danny Dill. Billy Grammer first popularized the song, originally titled “I Wanna Go Home”, in 1963. That same year, it became Bare’s first Top 10 country hit en route to his only Grammy victory (Best country and western recording).

In the sleeve notes for the CD set Classical Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection, historian Bill C. Malone wrote that the song “describes the alienation felt by many rural southerners in the middle north” after moving for factory jobs.

Other national laws, such as Charley Pride and Dolly parton, pointed out one of Mel’s lyrical masterpieces by cutting their own versions of “Detroit City”.

The country’s standard later became the go-to crooner material for Tom jones (a British Top 10 hit in 1967) and Dean Martin (an entry in the Contemporary Adult Top 40 in 1970).

Read more: Kelly Clarkson performs “The Dance” for Garth Brooks at the 2021 Kennedy Center Honors

This particular performance stands out, in part because it reminds us that Bare and Elder Tillis weren’t just gifted country singers and witty jokes. Both had a hard-to-describe “computer factor” that increased their skills every time they were in front of the camera.

Pam’s contribution makes it a fun throwback before she became a full-fledged hitmaker: a race that started with ‘Don’t Tell Me What to Do’ from the 1990s.

Lyrics of “Detroit City”

I wanna go home, I wanna go home
Oh, how I wanna go home

Last night I went to sleep in Detroit City
And I dreamed of these cotton fields and of the house
I dreamed of my dear mother, my old daddy, my sister and my brother
I dreamed of this girl who’s been waiting for so long
I wanna go home, I wanna go home, oh, like I wanna go home

People at home think I’m tall in Detroit City
From the letters I write they think I’m fine
But during the day I make the carsat night I go to bars
If only they could read between the lines

‘Cause you know I took the freight train north of Detroit City
And after all these years I find that I just wasted my time
So I just think I’ll take my stupid pride
And put it on a freight southbound and ride
And go back to loved ones, the ones I left to wait so far behind

I wanna go home, I wanna go home
Oh, how I want to go home …


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