26
Oct 05

Good Ride Cowboy–Garth Brooks

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Memorial Tribute to Chris LeDoux and really interesting for a few reasons
1) It’s the second reference to chewing tobacco in the recent chart (Skoal Ring), that and the NY times quoting Bobby Bare about it…Which needs to be forgiven, because of documentary details (not that there is anything that needs to be forgiven here)
2) The theme of the song is really about how cowboy music is different from country, or to put it a different way, how what is played at rodeos is not the same as what is on the radio–the question of purity, or what is really country (ie the western swing here and what Brooks calls here: “the western underground”) is often argued b/w the Americana crowd and the radio crowd–and I mean Brooks can be nothing but a radio populist, but here he does hint at that difference, and I don’t think it has been talked about before…
3) He has for a long time had a really heavy hand for extended metaphor–this time, its a few words, and subtle ones at that–but it defines the western ethos as one not of independence or bullying, but of tenacity “when she starts to twist, hold on tight”
4) he says good ride cowboy–and reading Jane Dark’s blog, she points out that this sentiment needs to be uncoded by people who have spent time at rodeos:” though the loveliest part of this song is how the titular compliment stores its rodeo admiration not in the praise (you gotta say “good ride” to everybody, after all) but in the honorific. Not everyone gets to be a cowboy”
5) II’m glad that he is back.

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