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  • Writer's pictureMelanie Howard


Melanie Smith-Howard/Candi Staton

Well he did. Harlan sometimes called me child bride, but most days he referred to me as Baby. When we first met, he called me Melody, then Melissa, then Melinda…finally after seeing Melanie in writing, he got my name right.

One of my favorite songs that Harlan wrote is “He Called Me Baby.” It is often played in pitch meetings and in regular rotation at Harlan Howard Songs. One of my favorite versions is Candi Staton’s, 1976 album, Young Hearts Run Free produced by the late Rick Hall at Fame Recording Studio in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Another one of my favorites is the newest version by Lee Ann Womack on her latest release, The Lonely, the Lonesome & the Gone produced by her husband and my friend, Frank Liddell. There are so many versions of “He Called Me Baby” that I hate to name favorites. I love Kree Harrison’s version and Spanky Wilson’s, too. I love Patsy Cline’s version and then there are the guys that cut, “She Called Me Baby,” like Waylon Jennings, Bobby Bare, Charlie Rich, heck even Harlan had a breakout hit in Texas with his version of the song. Then there is the killer One Eskimo version.

One Eskimo/Melanie Smith Howard

“He/She Called Me Baby” has been reclaimed by the heirs of Harlan Howard. On May 7th, on FX channel, the show, Fosse and Verdon starring Michelle Williams and Sam Rockwell will use “He Called Me Baby.” Songs are really the gift that keeps on giving! Thank you, Harlan for being a great songwriter and for leaving a legacy for me to tend.

Listen to "He/She Called Me Baby"

click on links below - Candi Staton - "He Called Me Baby" - One Eskimo - "Kandi - He Called Me Baby" - Lee Ann Womack - "He Called Me Baby"

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