Bill Anderson Shares Hilarious Story About Johnny Cash Collaboration That Never Quite Happened
Bill Anderson worked on one of his most beloved hits with fellow icon Johnny Cash, but in a new interview, the Country Music Hall of Famer reveals that their attempted collaboration never quite came together.
"Po' Folks" is one of Anderson's signature hits, and he tells Taste of Country that when he first had the idea for the song and began the writing process, Cash became enamored of the work in progress.
"I had written the first verse: 'There's a whole lotta people lookin' down their noses at me / 'Cause I didn't come from a wealthy family,' and so forth," Anderson recalls. "I was in California in early, I guess it was 1960 or '61 that I wrote that. Johnny Cash was living in California at the time, and I took it to him, and he was fascinated with it. And we started trying to write ... he wanted to write a song and call it 'One-Mule Farmer,'" he says with a laugh.
"We tinkered around with that and tried to write it, and we never could make it fall into place," Anderson relates. "And then I came back to Nashville, and one day I'm just noodling with it, and the line, 'We wasn't nothing 'cept po' folks' just popped out."
The song not only became one of Anderson's biggest hits, but it also helped launch a nationwide restaurant chain in the '80s.
"Po Folks" is just one of the classic Bill Anderson songs featured on his new hits collection, As Far As I Can See: The Best Of. The project also includes "City Lights," “Still,” "The Tip of My Fingers,” “Sometimes” and more. The project also features a rare, never-before-heard demo of “If It Is All the Same to You,” which Anderson recorded with then-newcomer Dolly Parton in 1964 and eventually released as a duet with Jan Howard on his album of the same title in 1969.
Anderson's new album also features an all-new collaboration with Parton titled "Someday It'll All Make Sense."
Bill Anderson's As Far As I Can See: The Best Of is currently available via a wide array of digital music providers.
See Pictures of Johnny Cash's Lavish Lakefront Estate: