Mindlovemisery's Menagerie

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The Race Is On

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‘The Race Is On’ was written by Don Rollins and first recorded as a demo by Jimmie Gray in 1961, but made famous by country singer George Jones in 1964 reaching number 3 on the US Hot Country Songs.  This Bluegrass song was also recorded by the unrelated Jack Jones who was an American jazz and pop singer, but I know this song best by the Grateful Dead.  In 1965, Jimmie Gray recorded the Don Rawlins song ‘Last Call For Alcohol’ and then he went on tour with George’s band, on bass and high harmony, and Jimmie was in the studio when George cut his hit.  Waylon Jennings, Loretta Lynn, Conway Twitty, Annette Funicello, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, Johnny Cash, Sawyer Brown and many others also recorded this song.  Don Rollins wrote hundreds of songs and the first one that he got published was eventually recorded later by Ray Price in 1989 and titled ‘Love Me Down to Size’, which peaked at #79 and spent 3 weeks on the chart. There is another Don Rollins who won a Grammy for his song, ‘It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere’, which was covered by Alan Jackson and Jimmy Buffett in 2003.

George Jones recorded several iconic songs and he played a big part in the history of country music, being a vital part of the fabric of country music for more than five decades.  Despite a host of personal troubles that plagued him throughout most of his adult life, Jones created a recorded legacy that is virtually unrivaled in country music. Unlike many of his contemporaries, he kept evolving and having hits well into his later years.  He served as not only an inspiration, but a mentor to many of country’s biggest stars, taking a personal interest in future generations of country music.

This song talks about a race where the winner is the most heartbroken.  The singer breaks up with his wife or girlfriend, and “she wrote him off with a call”, which can be seen as harsh, but breaking up is hard to do.  He is lonely and he is not going to hide his feelings about the breakup, because he sees this as a race and he wants to win.  He feels terrible about losing the girl to another man, and competition is driving him to stay in the race to win her heart.  The winner loses all is puzzling, as maybe this girl is not worth all the effort that he is putting into this, and maybe the person who wins and eventually marries her will become miserable.

I feel tears wellin’ up
Cold and deep inside
Like my heart’s sprung a big break
And a stab of loneliness sharp and painful
That I may never shake
You might say that I was takin’ it hard
But don’t you wager that I’ll hide the sorrow
When I may break right down and bawl
Well, the race is on
And here comes pride up the backstretch
Heartaches are goin’ to the inside
My tears are holdin’ back
They’re tryin’ not to fall
My heart’s out of the runnin’
True love’s scratched for another’s sake
The race is on and it looks like heartache
And the winner loses all
One day I ventured in love
Never once suspectin’
What the final result would be
How I lived in fear of wakin’ up each mornin’
Findin’ that you’re gone from me
There’s ache and pain in my heart
For today was the one I hated to face
Somebody new came up to win her
I wound up in second place
Well, the race is on
And here comes pride up the backstretch
Heartaches are goin’ to the inside
My tears are holdin’ back
They’re tryin’ not to fall
My heart’s out of the runnin’
True love’s scratched for another’s sake
The race is on and it looks like heartache
And the winner loses all

The challenge today is to focus on this song and use it for inspiration in any form of creative expression (including but not limited to short stories, a piece of flash fiction, poems, lyrics, artwork, photography, (etc.) that you can share with the WordPress writing community. There is no need to stick with this song, as if you like to write about another Don Rollins, Jimmie Gray, or George Jones song, or a song that was written heartache, or a breakup that would work. You might also go with a song about a race.

The whole point of this MM Music challenge is to get you to think, to trigger something so that you can show how creative you are and everyone is welcome to participate.  This challenge is very loose, so pretty much whatever you come up with will be acceptable.  I try to throw some ideas out there for you and if they seem right, then go with it.  You could write about trying to win back a girl, or spending your day at a race track.  If you want to write about gambling, wining or losing, or being in a race that would be perfect.

Dylan Hughes will be here on next Friday, on Valentine’s Day February 14 with her First Line Friday and I suggest that everybody check out this fun prompt challenge.  I will be back on Friday, February 21 with another MM Music Challenge where we will discuss the song ‘You Don’t Know How It Feels’.  When you are finished writing your post, create a ping back to this post, but you can also place your link in the comments section below if you desire.  This Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie MM Music challenge has a special feature called Mr. Linky, which will allow you to instantly link your post after you click the Mr. Linky Button, and then follow the directions that are given.

About newepicauthor

My About Me section is meant to provide my readers with an honest picture of myself that gives a little bit of background information on who I am and I will wrap this up with a catchy image. I am a story teller and I like to use my imagination. I am interested in many things, but a few of my favorites are watching the NFL and playing golf. I do not like onions and I always make sure that my food does not contain any. I had two wonderful parents, my dad Herb Adams was a television repairman and my mother Mary Adams was mostly a stay at home mom. They are both deceased now and I miss them. I am a retired Electrical Engineer specialized in control systems. I held many different positions because I worked mostly as a consultant. I did work as a Substitute Teacher, for a while, but the kids were awful. I am happiest when I am writing, as this gives my life has a purpose. Forming a sentence with meaningful words that articulate my inner feelings is an everyday quest for me. Every writer needs to tell their story, and all writers have their own style. All stories starts off with characters, who are able to entertain the reader. Creating realistic lovable characters is the best way to tell a story. If you are able to develop characters that become real to you, then you will know exactly what they will do say and do next and this lets your story progress to the completion. Writing changes everything and having the calling to create something new through the power of words is much more than just making marks on a page. Once written, a book can be used by many people to learn and be entertained. The act of writing can be compared to the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle as it contains an inherent fuzziness, because various people may derive different meanings from reading the same words. You can never know the true nature of written words and the best I can do is hope is that people will understand the meanings that I am trying to convey. There are no clear-cut laws on how to write and it is impossible for me to determine how my readers react to my books.

12 comments on “The Race Is On

  1. newepicauthor
    February 7, 2020

    Reblogged this on A Unique Title For Me and commented:

    I am reblogging my MM Music post, just in case anyone missed it. This is a real fun challenge that gets overlooked every week, poor, poor pitiful me.

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  4. msjadeli
    February 7, 2020

    Jim, I’m very glad that The Grateful Dead have played this song and kept it alive, but George Jones and his excellent backup band are the definitive version. Nobody sings it like George Jones sings it.

    • newepicauthor
      February 7, 2020

      George Jones looks a bit tipsy in this video, but I do like his version.

      • msjadeli
        February 7, 2020

        Real drunks can’t function without being so.

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  8. Violet Lentz
    February 8, 2020


    Wow. This one was vivid. At least to me. Thanks for the challenge, Jim.

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This entry was posted on February 7, 2020 by in Uncategorized.
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