Cowboys Eating Pudding

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Willie Nelson has jumped on the brokeback bandwagon by recording Ned Sublette's immortal "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other." If you're not familiar with the song, which opens with the line "There's many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas," here's a sample verse:

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other
That's why they wear leather, and Levi's and belts buckled tight
There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way that he feels towards his brother
There's many a cowboy who's more like a lady at night

When I hosted my college radio station's country music show, the best set I ever put together featured Sublette's song back to back with a honky-tonk tune by the lesbian trio Two Nice Girls ("I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer/my life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer"). I only wish I'd had a copy handy of "I Love My Fruit," recorded by the Prairie Ramblers under the pseudonym the Sweet Violet Boys. The next time you hear someone credit Ang Lee with introducing the gay cowboy to pop culture, you don't need to dredge up the subtexts of Red River or Bend of the River to make your retort. Just point out that a bunch of guys who liked to wear western getups sang these lyrics way back in 1939:

I am wild about all kinds of berries
Black and blue and rasp and straw and red
But most of all I like to guzzle cherries
And I eat them every night in bed…

I can sing the praises of pistachios
And I almost eat them til I bust
And I also love pecans and cashews
Yes indeedy I sure love my nuts…

I am always hungry for bananas
That it almost seems to be a sin
They're so good that when I'm all through eating
I still love to nibble on the skin

It was Merle Haggard, incidentally, who sang, "There ain't no riding bareback anymore/Ain't no taking chances like before/If you don't agree with me you're out the door/There ain't no riding bareback anymore." Think of it as a public service announcement.

[Via 4 Pundits.]

Update: A reader named Bob points out that you can download "I Love My Fruit" for free at the Internet Archive.

NEXT: Marriage "Redefined" in Realtime

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  1. To paraphrase Kinky Friedman: are you sure Hank done it this way?

  2. And everybody forgets that Brokeback Mountain itself is a remake!

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/mgmax/95502430/

  3. Wow, what a weird coincidence. I’m pretty sure my girlfriend taped that show.

    Did you happen to play “Tattoo Song” by Voice of the Beehive around that time?

  4. Not on The Down-Home Show. Maybe on my freeform program.

  5. Are any of the Sweet Violet Boys still alive? If so, I would like to thank them for expressing so poetically what I have your years kept in my heart. I think I’ll be borrowing their lyrics when I come out to my parents.

  6. Don’t forget The Reverend Horton Heat, and his classic “Interracial Cowboy” which pre-emptively upped the ante to break racial barriers at the same time.

    I wanna go two steppin’,
    With a good lookin’ big black buck,
    I want him to come and pick me up in his chevrolet pick-up truck,
    And when we’re on the dance floor his hat will rise high above,
    It’s inter-racial cowboy homo kind of love.

    Tall of course dark and handsome,
    A gentlemen in every way,
    A true cow poke in every sense of the word,
    We really go to work in the hay.

    A bronc bustin’ bull ridin’ tiger,
    Yet peaceful as a dove,
    It’s inter-racial cowboy homo kind of love,

    I know that us as a couple,
    Will cause talk but I wouldn’t mind,
    Those cowboys will be pea green with envy,
    When they see his cute behind.

    That’s why each night by the campfire,
    I thank my lucky stars above,
    For inter-racial cowboy homo kind of love.

    Yeah I know that us as a couple,
    Will cause talk but I wouldn’t mind,
    Those cowboys will be pea green with envy,
    When they see his cute behind.

    That’s why each night by the campfire,
    I thank my lucky stars above,
    For inter-racial cowboy homo kind of love.
    Kind of love,
    Kind of love.

  7. Didn’t David Allen Coe do a song praising the virtues of homosexuals in jail? As I remember it talked about the value of having a wife to clean your cell and take care of you and the like.

  8. Well, Willie already warned us about growing up “cowboy”.

    Mama don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
    They’ll never stay home and they’re always alone
    Even with someone they love
    Cowboys ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold
    And they’d rather give you a song then diamonds or gold
    Lonestar belt buckles and old faded Levi’s each night begins a new day
    And if you don’t understand him and he don’t die young
    He’ll probly just ride away

  9. “There’s many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas”

    Yeah, sure, Willie, blame it on the air or the water!

    I’ve been to West Texas, and I’ve met the people there, and, let me tell you, I’m not sure how strange somethin’ has to be for them to call it “strange”, but it must be pretty freakin’ strange!

  10. Thanks, Bob. I just added a link.

  11. Just to nit pick, I don’t know if Willie “jumped on the bandwagon” since he recorded the song last year. Maybe he was just one of the first on the bandwagon.

  12. What hath Howdy Doody wrought.

    So what’s next, an all-gay hockey league?

  13. “So what’s next, an all-gay hockey league?”

    Well, there are already numerous gay hockey teams:

    http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0008,hunt,12739,3.html

  14. And don’t forget the Japanese samurai movies upon which westerns were sometimes based. “The Seven Samurai”–if that ain’t about gay guys nothing is.

  15. If I’m not mistaken, modern country music is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party. I’m not positive, but I think he’s viewed as a hippy folk singer by the affore mentioned people.

    It’s a good thing Willie is already in the country music hall of fame, because he sure couldn’t get in now.

  16. For a gay samurai film look no farther than Nagisa Oshima’s “Gohatto” (1999).

  17. If I’m not mistaken, modern country music is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party. I’m not positive, but I think he’s viewed as a hippy folk singer by the affore mentioned people.

    No, it is a wholly owns subsidiary of the big record labels who want focus group tested bland music to sell to the masses. It has kind of always been that way though, ever since Acuff-Rose developed the Nashville sound. Willie got ran out of Nashville in the 1960s for being too wierd and creative and retired from music for a while. Willie actually made a concept album about a soul sent to earth from heaven to live the life of the imperfect man, since perfect man had already been sent to earth. Could you imagine the poor guy stuck with being Willie’s A&R man trying to sell that record to the Nashville of Charlie Pride, Tammy Wynette and George Jones? It was only through the incredible popularity of his mid 1970s records that he was let back into Nashville. It is only through luck and sheer popularity that he was ever let back in and I am sure it hurt the establishment bad to do it.

  18. Dude, I’ve been thinking of saying this for a long time, but when you do quotes, can you do everybody a favor and start it with a [less than sign]+[I]+[greater than sign] then end it with a [less than sign]+[/]+[I]+[greater than sign]

    All without spaces. It will help us sort the quote from your comment.

    This is what happens when you do that

  19. Second kmw’s comment.

    In other words, do this:

    (i) Words you are quoting from someone else go here. (/i)

    Only, instead of a “(” use the “less than” sign (probably SHIFT + COMMA on your keyboard)/

    And instead of a “)” use the “:greater than” sign (SHIFT + PERIOD).

    Voila!

    Words you are quoting from someone else go here.

    (It doesn’t matter whether the “i” — which stands for “italics” — is capitalized or not.)

  20. IOW:

    Plain text <i>in italics</i> plain text.

    Note that italics won’t carry past a return, so you have to mark each paragraph seperately.

  21. Note that italics won’t carry past a return, so you have to mark each paragraph seperately.

    That’s what nailed me. Forgot to check how they get parsed in this comment engine.

    Preview! Preview! Preview!

  22. If you live near Sinincincinnati, tune in for his Friday night gig:
    http://www.taylorfarley.com/

    Taylor is homophobic, but pretty good on the banjo.

    Taylor has always detested Willie.

    Sue… Willie… what’s the dif?

  23. SR, you’ve turned my life upside down. What’s next, gay steel mills?

  24. If I’m not mistaken, modern country music is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Republican party.

    Well, except for the Dixie Chicks.

  25. Putting country music in a box is dangerous…

    People like Steve Earl, Billy Joe Shaver, Merle Haggard, Robert Earl Keen, Dwight Yoakum, Willie Nelson, Lucinda Williams and countless others will jump out and kick your ass. Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt will look down from heaven (but most likely up from hell) and smile.

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