Texas Highways, Volume 51 Number 10, October 2004 Page: 40
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AFTER WORLD WAR II,
A GRITTIER HONKY-TONK
SOUND EVOLVED FROM
ARTISTS SUCH AS ERNEST
TUBB, LEFTY FRIZZELL, RAY
PRICE, JOHNNY BUSH, AND
th ENS u
the M e nium CHo l ecti"
That few of the De-
cowboys," nor most of
their modern-day in-
heritors in either Texas,
California, or Nashville
were, or are, working
cowhands isn't the
point. Then, as now, the
goal-the silver trophy
buckle, as it were-of
the singing cowboy was
to evoke a romanticized
past for a largely urban-
"The escape offered
by the singing cow-
boys...was remote, ide-
alized, purely in the
realm of fantasy," writes
Douglas B. Green in
Country: The Music and
the Musicians (Country
Red Steagall, the official Cowboy Poet of TE:x&
ville Press, 1988). Green a four-decade career in music, literature, movies, radio, and TV. He hosts
is not only a Western- his popular Cowboy Gathering and Western Swing Festival (October 22-
24, 2004) annually in Fort Worth.
music scholar, but as
"Ranger Doug," he's also the leader of the modern-day cowboy trio Riders in the Sky.
Sometimes the fantasy aspect trumped every other consideration. How else to
account for Gene Autry's Muranians in his Phantom Empire series, or the offbeat
urban appeal of Herb Jeffries, "The Bronze Buckaroo," who scored in all-black musi-
cal Westerns like 1938's Two-Gun Man From Harlem?
Green continues: "Who wouldn't, for an hour, like to right wrongs with quick fists
and sure guns, then ride off into the sunset, without the endless nagging questions of
mortgages, bills, bosses, marital aggravation, unpleasant neighbors, and moral ambi-
guities? And who wouldn't like to win the admiration of men and the interest of
women with a pearly smile and a lilting voice?"
(One editorial caveat: Though contemporary performers like Alan Jackson,
Dwight Yoakam, and Toby Keith might be seen as upholding the singing-cowboy tra-
dition in their own fashions, for brevity and thematic purposes we'll confine our dis-
cussion to musicians with close Lone Star connections. Thus, Uvalde's Dale Evans is eli-
gible for inclusion in these pages, but Roy Rogers, born in-yikes!-Cincinnati, is not.)
40 TEXAS HIGHWAYS October 2004
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Texas. Department of Transportation. Texas Highways, Volume 51 Number 10, October 2004, periodical, Date Unknown; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth839147/m1/44/: accessed April 20, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.