I think I'll continue in the vein of last week's post: love songs from the early '60s or so, which is to say, my puppy love years. This song was a follow-up to Ben E. King's "Stand By Me" and is an imitation, musically, including pretty much the same bass riff. I had a crush on a girl--I think her name was Sherry--and this song got associated with that. I have a memory of standing at the door of one of the barns at the Alabama Junior Cattlemen's Association convention in Montgomery and hearing this from a radio somewhere nearby and feeling very lovelorn. The song came out in 1962 so I would have been fourteen.
Yes, I was a Junior Cattleman. And I liked it, especially the convention, where we exhibited our steers and sold them. That was sort of tough, because their next stop would be the slaughterhouse, but we learned to accept it. There was also a rodeo, and I liked that a lot.
Not surprisingly, of the half dozen or so most vivid memories I have of that convention, two are musical. The other one is Dale Robertson (minor cowboy actor) entertaining at the rodeo and singing "Ghost Riders In the Sky". Well, let's have that one, too. Here's a good Johnny Cash version.
Such a great song.
So cowboy, change your ways today
Or with us you will ride
Trying to catch the devil's herd
Across this endless sky
Still gives me a chill. I first heard it as a Ventures-style guitar instrumental--I can't remember who the artist was, maybe it was actually the Ventures--and even without the words I liked it. And when I heard the title I felt a physical thrill: an early instance of my responding to poetry before I really knew what it was.