With Grammy Awards coming up tonight (Sunday, January 31), I thought it was time to return to an earlier post on Favorite Western Songs. Just taking a quick look at the award nominees this year, none of them strike me as particularly western in theme (unless Lady Gaga’s “Poker Face” is really about Texas Hold ‘Em). Below are some favorite western songs drawn from comments made on the original post. As usual, use the comment link below to aid to the list. In particular, if you know of any “western” songs recorded in the last year that were passed over by the Grammy Awards, add them to the list.
I recently saw Rio Bravo (1959), starring John Wayne, Dean Martin, and Ricky Nelson, and was struck by the performance of the song “My Rifle, My Pony, And Me.” In the scene, the main characters are gathered in the jail, and, for two minutes or so, the plot is abandoned, and we have a nice little duet with Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson singing the song. The only real motivation that I can imagine is that, if you have Dean Martin and Ricky Nelson in a movie together, how can you not have them sing?
I don’t know if this my favorite song performed in a western, but it’s a pleasant and memorable moment in the film.
I’m also fond of Tom Russell’s “When Sinatra Played Juarez” and “Tonight We Ride”
And, of course, anything by Calexico:
From Lesley Brown:
I don’t think it’s necessarily a great song, but the theme song from High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me, Oh My Darling) never leaves my head. I haven’t seen that movie in over 30 years, and yet the song pops into my head regularly.
I like all the old raunchy western songs, and among the overly familiar western songs, Tumblin Tumbleweeds will remain my favorite because the harmony is just so good. The PBS special _American Roots Music_ has a good section on western music and its influence on what we now consider to be Roots Music.
My favorite song to sing is an old song called “My Love is a Rider,” which can be found in a book called _He Was Singin’ That Song_ by Jim Bob Tinsley, U Press of Florida, 1981.
Favorite verse: My love has a gun that has gone to the bad/ And that makes my lover feel pretty damned sad/ For the gun it shoots high, and the gun it shoots low/ And it wobbles around like a bucking bronco.
From David Cremean:
y favorite two (among the many, many I love) are more contemporary: John Denver’s “Rocky Mountain High” and Michael Murphey’s “Carolina in the Pines.” Many lasting personal connections.
Filmically, probably Marty Stuart’s closing song to the mediocre film version of “Pretty Horses,” “So Far Away.”
From Jim Price:
Three of the best are Ghost Riders In The Sky, Mr.Shorty
and The Streets of Laredo.Now this is real western music,
and Strawberry Roan and El Paso City are pretty good