Sunday, December 01, 2019
Lee Pitts: A Carolin’ We Did Go
Cowboys enjoyed a reputation as real singers back in the days when they would croon to their Longhorns at night to keep them from stampeding. But now days, although there are a lot of cowboy songs, there are not a lot of cowboy singers. The only ones I can think of off the top of my mind are Sourdough Slim, Michael Martin Murphy, Don Edwards, Red Steagall, Gwen Petersen, Wylie Gustafson, R. W. Hampton and Dave Stamey. So when I decided last year to organize a local cowboy chorus to stroll around our community singing Christmas carols, I had a hard time finding enough qualified cowboy crooners.
One of the main problems in putting together a cowboy chorus was that very few cowboys know the words to traditional Christmas songs, such as “Jingle Bells” or “Fa la la la la, la la la la.” Instead they know such classic bawdy cowboy songs as “The Whorehouse Bells Were Ringing” or “I’d Have Looked You In The Eyes But They Was Too Far Apart.” Not exactly the kind of songs you want to serenade the townsfolk with on Christmas Eve.
Undaunted, I invited all my cowboy friends over to my house to try out for the cowboy choir. The tryouts were interrupted temporarily by squad cars of police who were responding to a report that I was beating my wife. Either that or a buffalo had just been gored in my living room. Evidently some uncultured neighbor of mine that lives a mile away had called the cops to report loud groans emanating from my house that according to the neighbor, “made his flesh crawl.”
The problem is that ever since the cowboys serenaded their last Longhorn, cowboys don’t get that much practice singing. Oh, sure they sing in the shower but that is such a seldom occurrence. Ever since Gene Autry and the Chipmunks stopped singing ballads the cowboys lost their role models and now days the only notes a cowboy knows are the kind the banker is holding.