Riding with Private Malone

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"Riding With Private Malone"
Single by David Ball
from the album Amigo
B-side "Missing Her Blues"[1]
Released August 13, 2001
FormatCD Single
Recorded May 9, 2001
GenreCountry
Length 4:35 (album version)
4:33 (single version)
LabelDualtone
Writer(s)Wood Newton
Thom Shepherd
Producer Wood Newton
David Ball singles chronology

"I Want to with You"
(1999)
"Riding with Private Malone"
(2001)
"She Always Talked About Mexico"
(2002)
 
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"Riding With Private Malone"
Single by David Ball
from the album Amigo
B-side "Missing Her Blues"[1]
Released August 13, 2001
FormatCD Single
Recorded May 9, 2001
GenreCountry
Length 4:35 (album version)
4:33 (single version)
LabelDualtone
Writer(s)Wood Newton
Thom Shepherd
Producer Wood Newton
David Ball singles chronology

"I Want to with You"
(1999)
"Riding with Private Malone"
(2001)
"She Always Talked About Mexico"
(2002)

"Riding with Private Malone" is the title of a song written by Wood Newton and Thom Shepherd, and recorded by American country music artist David Ball. Released in August 2001 as the first single from his fifth studio album Amigo, the song reached a peak of #2 on the Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks charts (now Hot Country Songs) chart, and #36 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was Ball's first Top 40 country hit since "Look What Followed Me Home" in 1995. USA Today referred to it as "the country song that tapped most subtly and profoundly into the emotions of its audience" after the September 11 attacks, even though it was released to radio a few weeks before the attacks.[2]

Contents

Background and writing

Co-writer Wood Newton told The Boot that Thom Shepherd had the name of Malone, because it rhymed with home. Newton had seen a story about a guy who had restored a 1966 Corvette and put up a website about it. He had also seen another story about this guy who restored a car and he would tune the radio to one channel but it would always change back to a different station, so he thought the car was haunted. Newton said they chose a 1966 Corvette because it was an amazing icon of American ingenuity. [2] Newton and Thom debuted the song on March 23, 2001 at the Opry Star Spotlight.

Content

The song describes a narrator who just finished his military service and purchases what turns out to be Chevrolet Corvette through the classified ads. Upon purchasing the car, he opens its glove compartment, where he finds a note written by the car's former owner, a deceased soldier of the Vietnam War. The note is dated 1966 and tells of the car's origins: it came from a soldier referred to as Private Andrew Malone.

Throughout the rest of the song, the singer fixes up the car and starts driving it. On some occasions, he claims to see a "soldier riding shotgun" in the front seat (i.e., Private Malone's ghost) and the radio would tune itself to oldies stations, "especially late at night." By the third verse, the singer has wrecked the car after speeding on a curve in the road during a severe rainstorm. Although he does not recall any other details about the accident, someone said they thought they saw him rescued from the car by an unidentified soldier. The narrator is convinced that it was Private Malone who saved him.

Critical reception

Rick Cohoon of Allmusic gave the song a favorable review.[3] He stated that it "combines two elements that blend well for country fans-patriotism and the supernatural." Cohoon also said that "the plot is memorable, and Ball's performance drives the piece."[3] Deborah Evans Price, of Billboard magazine reviewed the song favorably saying that the lyric "incorporates all the elements that make traditional country great - patriotism, tragedy, survival, and, of course, a cool car." She goes on to say that the understated production keeps the focus on the story and Ball's "powerful delivery." [4]

Chart positions

"Riding with Private Malone" debuted at number 55 on the U.S. Billboard Hot Country Singles & Tracks for the week of September 8, 2001. Having reached the top 10 by year's end, it was the second independently-distributed single to make the country top 10 that year, making 2001 the first year since 1983 to produce two independently-distributed top 10 hits.[5]

Chart (2001-2002) Peak
position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[6]2
US Billboard Hot 100[7]36

Year-end charts

Chart (2002) Position
US Country Songs (Billboard)[8] 57

References