I can sing every word of “You’re the Reason God Made Oklahoma” by David Frizzell and Shelly West. *it was a big Country & Western hit in 1981 and obviously this was a time when you didn’t have to be an attractive male singer to make it in Nashville… Frizzell was frizzy. This ability to sing all the words is a gift from my mother, along with her fantastic biscuits and gravy… which led, in no small part, to my gall bladder surgery in 2009. She was a huge fan of the Frizzell/West duo.
Few songs resonant, especially Country songs, the way this one does. Something about it, and its heartache, just sounds right. Okie cowboy loves Okie cowgirl. Okie cowgirl chases bright lights to big city. Big city sucks. Okie cowboy yearns for what he lost. The song ends before you know if they get back together after the Okie cowgirl realizes her mistake. This is why humans make music. Music is meant to make you feel. This song makes me feel sorrow, loss, and heartache. This is a fucking great song.
This song is a real love song. It is a song rooted in 1981 and the movie Urban Cowboy was a recent Hollywood hit. Tight boot-cut Wranglers and straw hats (with awful brim feathers) were fashionable. A cowboy had just been elected to the presidency, Hell the Soviets even called Americans “cowboys.”
Frizzy Frizzell, working “… ten hours on a John Deere tractor …” was the type of American the Soviets were scared of. *I am still scared of that fro. It makes perfect sense and feels completely right when Shelly West sorrowfully sings that “… all the cowboys out on the Sunset Strip want to be just like you.”
Everybody, in 1981, wanted to be a cowboy, everyone wanted to ride a mechanical bull. *I do not suggest trying though… mechanical bull riding can hurt your balls… trust me. Okay, not everyone in 1981 wanted to be a cowboy, but damn near everyone did. The exceptions included those Euro types who listened to New Wave, * I tried it, but Fayetteville, Tennessee, was/is not a hot bed of European tastes, those angry Punk Rockers, *I tried this too, definitely angry enough, but couldn’t convince my parents to buy me the leather jacket, and finally, the Headbangers… this I excelled at… Heavy Metal and I hit puberty at the same… we are close that way.
Love of music, as a significant part of my life, was a gift my mom gave me. This is the same woman who also owned a Taj Mahal album. I didn’t realize how cool this was until I went to college and discovered swampy guitar blues for myself. She also gave me taste for Freddy Fender *another frizzed out fro wearer and Charlie Rich… who is the greatest songwriter ever and author of my two favorite songs – “No Headstone on My Grave” and “Feel Like Going Home.” My mother gave me a gift that has enriched my life and added to by personality in ways she will never understand. *I’m pretty sure she doesn’t read my blog since I curse so fucking much in it.
I am completely capable of singing every word of the Beastie Boys “Fight for Your Right to Party” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” My list of karaoke songs is pretty long; like most people, my musical catalog is eclectic and rooted in different times of my life. *Merle Haggard’s “Silver Wings” is how I think of my dad… he likes the Hag and said this song made him think of Vietnam.
I will listen to anything, anywhere, anytime. I may not like it, but I will appreciate it. Music is like bourbon… some of it is better than others, but none of it is bad. Music is how I communicate with myself and others. Music is a bond that ties me to the world. Shout out to my sister… she was a Paper Lace fan… bless her heart. Damn… now I am craving my mother’s biscuits and gravy.