Detroit City Lyrics
Screengrab via YouTube

Young Pam Tillis Sings 'Detroit City' With Mel Tillis and Bobby Bare

A quick search for footage of Pam Tillis performing with her father, Mel Tillis, turned up this clip that teams young Pam with two Country Music Hall of Famers with talented families: her dad and Bobby Bare.

The trio performs "Detroit City," a Mel Tillis co-write with Danny Dill. Billy Grammer first popularized the song, initially titled "I Wanna Go Home," in 1963. That same year, it became Bare's first Top 10 country hit en route to his lone Grammy win (Best Country & Western Recording).

In the liner notes for the CD set Classic Country Music: A Smithsonian Collection, historian Bill C. Malone wrote that the song "describes the alienation felt by many rural Southerners in the mid North" after relocating for factory jobs.

Other country acts, such as Charley Pride and Dolly Parton, hat-tipped one of Mel's lyrical masterworks by cutting their own versions of "Detroit City."

The country standard later became go-to crooner material for Tom Jones (a Top 10 UK hit in 1967) and Dean Martin (a Top 40 adult contemporary entry in 1970).

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This particular performance stands out, in part because it reminds us that both Bare and the elder Tillis were not just gifted country singers and witty jokesters. Both had a hard-to-describe "it factor" that magnified their skillsets anytime they were on camera.

Pam's contribution makes this a fun flashback to before she became a hitmaker in her own right: a run that started with 1990's "Don't Tell Me What to Do."

"Detroit City" Lyrics

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 about those cottonfields and home
I dreamed about my mother dear, old papa, sister and brother
I dreamed about that girl who's been waiting for so long
I wanna go home, I wanna go home, oh, how I wanna go home

Homefolks think I'm big in Detroit City
From the letters that I write they think I'm fine
But by day I make the cars, by night I make the bars
If only they could read between the lines

Cause you know I rode the freight train north to Detroit City
And after all these years I find I've just been wastin' my time
So I just think I'll take my foolish pride
And put it on a Southbound freight and ride
And go on back to the loved ones, the ones that I left waitin' so far behind

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

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