Wednesday, August 17, 2005


[editor's note: I have posted this one at my blog also. This seemed to be more of a Martin-type post than my usual style, so in his absence...]

So what is the great American pop song? Pop song meaning "popular" and not the narrower current meaning. Here is your first hint. It's not a rocker, but it is a roller:

Rollin' Rollin' Rollin'
Though the streams are swollin'

And it covers the two most important parts of your life. One, is productive work:

Keep them doggies rollin'
Rain and wind and weather
Hellbent for leather

And two, the girl:

Wishin' my gal was by my side
All the things I'm missin'
Good vittals, love and kissin'
Are waiting at the end of my ride

And there is nothing more American than the cowboy:

Move 'em on, head 'em up
Head 'em up, move 'em on
Move 'em on, head 'em up
Count 'em out, ride 'em in
Ride 'em in, count 'em out
Count 'em out, ride 'em in

Keep movin', movin', movin'
Though they're disapprovin'
Keep them doggies movin'
Don't try to understand 'em
Just rope 'em, pull and brand 'em
Soon we'll be living high and wide
My hearts calculatin'
My true love will be waitin'
Be waitin' at the end of my ride

Says Dr. Andy Bernstein of the cowboy:

What we honor about the cowboy of the Old West is his willingness to stand up to evil and to do it alone, if necessary. The cowboy is a symbol of the crucial virtues of courage and independence.

The original cowboys were hard-working ranchers and settlers who tamed a vast wilderness. In the process, they had to contend with violent outlaws as well as warlike Indian tribes. The honest men on the frontier did not wring their hands in fear, uncertainty and moral paralysis; they stood up to evil men and defeated them.

Read the whole thing. The song "Rawhide" provides for me a vivid mental image of the great American cowboy.