“I’ve Got a Happy Heart”: Love’s Bullet-Proof Armor

Yesterday’s piece about Mayf Nutter featured a link to the January 13, 1973 edition of Billboard, that happened to include an adjacent news item that named all the artists who played with Buck Owens at a recent Christmas event in Bakersfield:

“Buck Owens and his group drew more than 5,000 with some turned away at the Toys for Tots program in Bakersfield.  On the show with him were the Buckaroos, Mayf Nutter, Jack Lebsock, Freddie Hart, the Bakersfield Brass, Tony Booth, the Ray Sisters, Susan Raye, and a few others.”

Susan Raye’s name immediately brought to mind her 1971 radio-friendly country pop hit, “I’ve Got a Happy Heart” and its memorable chorus — they sure don’t write lines like these in country music anymore:

I’ve got a happy heart, I feel like I could almost fly
I think that if someone shot me, I wouldn’t even die

As it turns out, “I’ve Got a Happy Heart” was penned by Bakersfield’s own, Buck Owens, along with Pat Levely, and issued on 1971 album, Pitty Pitty Patter (#6 country).  Ms. Raye would not only record the song again in late 1971 for 1972’s, I’ve Got a Happy Heart LP (#8 country) but once more in March 1973 for a duets album with Buck, Good Old Days (#29 country).

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