I Should Have Been a Cowboy

My apologies to Toby Keith for borrowing the title to his song for today’s post.

If you know anything about Toby, you know that he is one of only a few show business
stars who is an unapologetic political conservative.

His song speaks to me because, well, I should have been a cowboy. I
actually came close for a month or so in my last days in Colorado, but despite my
passing up that chance, I still possess the spirit of a cowboy.  It lives inside of me.

I have shared with you on these pages some of the greatest song lyrics
ever written including from the classic Christian hymn Amazing Grace,
several of Bob Dylan’s lyrics, and Simon & Garfunkel’s legendary
Sounds of Silence.

In its own way, Keith’s lyrics are in that category. Not the unlikely
truth of them, but because they suggest something from a purer time
when we aspired to be something better than we are. Of course like all
song lyrics, they are much better with the music, and also with Toby
Keith’s voice of mellow gold.

I Should Have Been a Cowboy/Toby Keith

[Verse 1]
I bet you have never heard ole Marshal Dillon say
Miss Kitty have you ever thought of running away
Settling down would you marry me
If I ask you twice and beg you pretty please
She would of said Yes in a New York minute
They never tied the knot
His heart was not in it
He just stole a kiss as he road away
He never hung his hat up, at Kitty’s place

[Chorus]
I should been a cowboy
I should learned to rope and ride
Wearing my six-shooter, riding my pony on a cattle drive
Stealing young girls hearts
Just like Gene and Roy
Singing those campfire songs
Oh, I should have been a cowboy

[Verse 2]
I might of had a sidekick with a funny name
Running wild through the hills chasing Jesse James
Ending up on the brink of danger
Riding shotgun for the Texas Rangers
Go west young man, have not you been told
California is full of whiskey, women and gold
Sleeping out all night beneath the desert stars
With a dream in my eye, and a prayer in my heart

———————————————————————————————————

Bob Dylan actually did write songs that were connected to the old
west. His Knocking On Heaven’s Door was written for the movie Pat
Garrett and Billy the Kid, and was meant to be from the point of view
of Garrett. The songs sentiment is pretty simple, I just can’t live
this way anymore. The old western desire to finally hang up those
six guns.

Knocking on Heaven’s Door/Bob Dylan (partial lyrics)

[Verse 1]
Mama, take this badge off of me
I can’t use it anymore
It’s getting dark, too dark to see
I feel I’m knocking on heaven’s door

[Chorus]
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Just like so many times before

[Verse 2]
Mama, put my guns in the ground
I can’t shoot them anymore
That long black cloud is coming down
I feel I’m knocking on heaven’s door

[Chorus]
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Knock, knock, knocking on heaven’s door
Just like so many times before

——————————————————————————————————-

Garth Brooks is a great lyricist and he caught the feeling of rodeo as
well as has ever been done with his song Rodeo.

Garth Brooks/Rodeo

[Verse 1]
His eyes are cold and restless
An’ his wounds have almost healed
And she’d give half of Texas
Just to change the way he feels
She knows his love’s in Tulsa
An’ she knows he’s gonna go
Well it ain’t no woman flesh and blood
It’s that damned old rodeo

[Chorus]
Well it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd
It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle
He’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

[Verse 2]
She does her best to hold him
When his love comes to call
But his need for it controls him
And her back’s against the wall
And it’s “So long girl, I’ll see you.”
When it’s time for him to go
You know the woman wants her cowboy
Like he wants his rodeo

[Chorus]
Well it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd
It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle
He’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

[Verse 3]
It’ll drive a cowboy crazy
It’ll drive the man insane
And he’ll sell off everything he owns
Just to pay to play her game
And a broken home and some broken bones
Is all he’ll have to show
For all the years that he spent chasin’
This dream they call rodeo

[Chorus]
Well it’s bulls and blood, it’s dust and mud
It’s the roar of a Sunday crowd
It’s the white in his knuckles, the gold in the buckle
He’ll win the next go ’round
It’s boots and chaps, it’s cowboy hats
It’s spurs and latigo
It’s the ropes and the reins, and the joy and the pain
And they call the thing rodeo

[Outro]
It’s the broncs and the blood, it’s the steers and the mud
And they call the thing rodeo

————————————————————————————————-

Night Rider’s Lament/Suzy Bogguss

While I was out a-ridin’
The graveyard shift midnight till dawn
The moon was as bright as a reading light
For a letter from an old friend back home

He said last night I ran into Jenny
They married and have a good life
Oh, you sure missed the track when you never came back
She made the perfect professional’s wife

She asked me
“Why do you ride for your money?”
“Why do you rope for short pay?”
You ain’t gettin’ nowhere
And you’re losin’ your share
Oh, you must’ve gone crazy out there

They’ve never seen the northern lights
Never seen a hawk on the wing
Never seen the spring hit the Great Divide
And they ain’t ever heard old Camp Cookie sing

Now, I read up the last of my letter
And tore of the stamp for Black Jim
Little Dougie rode up to relieve me
He just looked at my letter and grinned

He said
“Why do they ride for your money?”
“Why do they rope for short pay?”
They ain’t gettin’ nowhere
And they’re losin’ your share
Oh, They all must be crazy out there

They’ve never seen the northern lights
Never seen a hawk on the wing
Never seen the spring at the Great Divide
And they ain’t ever heard old Camp Cookie sing…

————————————————————————————–

I spent many a rainy Saturday morning watching old westerns with many
different stars. Most of those movies and TV shows were however those
of Roy Rogers, Hoppalong Cassidy (William Boyd) and Gene Autry. Both
Rogers and Autry were singing cowboys. Roger’s final song was aptly
penned, Hoppy, Gene and Me. He is singing that song to little boys and
girls who are now long grown up.

Hoppy, Gene and Me/Roy Rogers

The prairie skies and tumbleweeds just as far as we could see
Then, you grew up and drifted on, but I know that you remember
When you were a saddle pal to Hoppy, Gene and Me
Freckle faced and skinned up knees
You helped us trap the bad guys
With a five cent bag of popcorn
And a cap gun by your side
You know, time has a way of changin’ things
Soon, there was your first love
You thought it would last forever
But when she left, you cried
But Hoppy, Gene and Me
We taught you how to shoot straight
And a cowboy’s never cryin’
That’s how it had to be
It seems like only yesterday that we rode the range together
Yes, stories from the silver screen
Now most of them forgotten
Double feature Saturdays
With Hoppy, Gene and Me

At last you found your real true love
And now you look so happy
Is that your little cowpoke
You’re bouncin’ on your knee
Well the prairie sky is just as blue
And life’s like a rainbow
Just like you, he’ll be a saddle pal
To Hoppy, Gene and Me

Hoppy, Gene and Me

We taught you how to shoot straight
You were going to be a cowboy
That’s how it had to be
Your stories from the silver screen
Now most of them forgotten
Double feature Saturday’s
With Hoppy, Gene and Me

———————————————————————————————-

Frederick Remington paintings, were actually made during the old west.
Remember, Indians are a part of the cowboy world too.
1fr

2apache-scout-frederic-remington
3work-after-frederic-remington-van-cordle

All of the photographs below came from Google Images, and the photographers were unnamed.

Modern rodeo

The bulls4rodeobull
The broncs…Casey Witherspoon 5casy-witherspoon-2013web-

The barrels. High school rodeo.6High-School-Rodeo-PE-maddie-chsra-fundraiser-race-2-14-15

Modern day rodeo and the old west, each have a lot of women on horse
back. It’s not just cowboys its also cowgirls.7a514781728
There is truly nothing like, a girl and her horse.
8Photos-of-Cowgirl-15

20th Century cowboy, man’s best friend(s)9cowboy-1130695_960_720dog

1946, Life Magazine cover of cowboy Clarence LongClarence H. Long

Now that’s the face of a cowboy. There’s a few song lyrics from another old western song called the Yellow Rose of Texas that states, “you’ve traveled down some dusty roads, you’ve slept out in the rain.” This guy surely looks the part. 10cowboyted

Of course, being a cowboy or cowgirl isn’t necessarily about riding horses or herding cattle. It is a state of mind. A philosophy of life. Along with the rough edges, it is about certain codes of living that you never abandon. Chivalry is not dead among cowboys/cowgirls. Honesty is important enough to die for. I’ve never been a “real” cowboy but cowboys give me something to shoot for….no pun intended.


Well pardners, that’s just about it for today. Happy trails to you.
As corny as some of these older songs might be, there is something
being taught in every one.

Happy Trails/Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

Happy trails to you, until we meet again
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather

Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again
Some trails are happy ones
Others are blue
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts
Here’s a happy one for you

Happy trails to you, until we meet again
Happy trails to you, keep smilin’ until then
Who cares about the clouds when we’re together?
Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather
Happy trails to you, ’till we meet again

God Bless and happy trails,

Wayne

In remembrance of Chicago, Cheyenne, Freedom, Cimmaron, Kiva, Poco,
Sonny and even Atlantic (long story).  The horses of my life. I wore
out a lot of britches and I took a few hard falls, but every minute
was worth it.

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