Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More Queer Cowboys from Willie

Willie Nelson has recorded a wonderful new song called “Cowboys Are Secretly, Frequently (Fond Of Each Other).” It was debuted on Howard Stern's morning Sirius Radio program yesterday, Valentine's Day. Listen to it here, or buy it from iTunes.

The song was written by Ned Sublette, author of the essential, and critically hailed, Cuba and Its Music: From the First Drums to the Mambo. Ned Sublette, like Buddy Holly, Butch Hancock, Jimmie Dale Gilmore and Joe Ely, hails originally from that crucible of US popular music, Lubbock, Texas.

According to an article in the Dallas Morning News, Willie was inspired to record the song after his friend and tour manager of thirty years, David Nelson, told him that he was gay. The Morning News also reports that this is the first time a major country artist has recorded a "gay-themed" song. "Before that," the article goes on, "the closest is Garth Brooks' 1992 single 'We Shall be Free,' a cry for peace and equality with the pro-gay line 'When we're free to love anyone we choose.' Though it didn't focus exclusively on gays, the tune stirred some controversy; some radio stations across the country wouldn't play it. We Shall be Free' peaked at No. 12 on Billboard's country singles chart, ending a string of Top 10 hits for Mr. Brooks."

The song was earlier recorded by the queercore band Pansy Division, and appears on their 1995 album, Pile Up. I'm not sure that the lyrics are exactly the same on the Pansy Division and the Willie versions. [Correction: I've checked more carefully--see above.]

But here are a couple good lines, on both versions:

"Well, a cowboy may brag about things that he does with his women,
But the ones who brag loudest are the ones that are most likely queer."


"Well there's always somebody who says what the others just whisper,
And mostly that someone's the first one to get shot down dead"

My cowboy hat is off to Willie!

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