Danny Shirley doesn't mind talking about his band's biggest hit.
Country group Confederate Railroad released "Trashy Women" as a single off its self-titled debut album in 1992. Shirley did a phone interview with DN and recounts the story behind how the song ended up on the record, was released as a single and became the band's most famous song.
Confederate Railroad will perform at 8 p.m. Feb. 16 at The Imogene Theatre, 6866 Caroline St., Milton. To purchase tickets, visit TheImogeneTheatre.com.
"I was comin’ through Florida, going North on (I-)75 and I was picking up a station in Gainesville. It was just about to fade out, and they played Jerry Jeff Walker’s version. He did a 'Live at Gruene Hall' album back in the ‘80s … I was just about to lose the station, and I could hear every other line, and I thought, ‘Man, that’s a really good song.’
"We started putting it in the show. We would do three or four songs then bring David Allan Coe out with us. It starts going over really, really good. I was working on getting a record deal then and I thought, ‘If I get this deal, then I need to remember to put this song on the album.’
"Atlantic Records, they’re getting ready to sign me, and they came to a show I was doing in Atlanta. I did that song. Rick Blackburn — he was the president of Atlantic Nashville — said, ‘I really like that. We oughta put that on the album.’ Then we recorded it.
"Back in the ‘90s, market research was really big with labels there in Nashville. Everything had to be scrutinized and gone over. It came back that it was the worst song on the record. It was totally tasteless. It was offensive to women.
"Rick came back and said, ‘I don’t think we oughta put that song on the record.’ I said, ‘Well, I do.’ I said, ‘I don’t see it being a hit or on the radio, but it’s a fun song and people seem to like it.’ I said, ‘Maybe that will make that guy who hears a couple singles on the radio go buy the record.’ So we put it on the record and Rick said, ‘Don’t even ask for this to be a single.’
"But then at the shows, you could see the very women who were supposed to be offended by it were the ones that wanted to hear it. Fortunately, the fans were smart enough to get this was a joke. We’re having fun with this. Lighten up.
"Of course, in today’s climate, I don’t know it ever would be a hit. I’ve never doubted that until this conversation.
"It just took off. Rick comes to me and says, ‘We oughta release the single, but it might ruin your career.’ I said, ‘Let’s go for it.’
"But it’s still a fun record to play, and that’s still the one people come to hear.
"Talking about 'Lucky to Be Alive,' we recut that — me, Willie Nelson, John Anderson and Colt Ford. All the proceeds from that go to charity. That was a lot of fun to do."