Cowboys Eating Pudding


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.