Friday, January 8, 2010

Not Dead But Merely Dreaming: A Cowboy Prelude

I began this blog during a period of intense underemployment. Shortly after completing the posted batch of essays, I was hired by a company where I continue to work (quite happily). Between the job and my musical activities, I have not had the time and inspiration to write more blog entries. Fortunately, I've been very busy writing songs and music, both for my band and for a theater company. Despite appearances, I've never considered the blog as dead, but merely sleeping and dreaming of musical delights not yet expressed.

Unlike many blogs I encounter, I want this one to have a purpose beyond exercise of my typing skills and momentary impulses. For quite a few months now, I have been doing research for a number of blog topics, and I'm just about ready to wake up and get blogging once more. My next topic will be Cowboy Songs. I've been picking up some cds, doing some on-line listening, reading up on the history of singing cowboys, and watching movies of the cowboy life, musical and otherwise. I hope to post the first fruits of this most pleasant research this weekend.

As a preview, here's THE COWBOY'S DREAM by one D. J. O'Malley, to the tune of My Bonnie Lies Over The Ocean:

The Cowboy's Dream

Last night as I lay on the prairie
And looked at the stars in the sky,
I wondered if ever a cowboy
Would drift to that sweet by and by.

cho: Roll on, Roll on,
Roll on, little dogies, Roll on, Roll on,
Roll on, Roll on,
Roll on, little dogies, Roll on,

The road to the broad happy region
Is a dim narrow trail so they say;
But the bright one that leads to perdition
Is posted and blazed all the way.

They say there will be a great round-up,
And cowboys, like dogies will stand,
To be marked by the riders of judgment
Who are posted and know every brand.

And I'm scared that I'll be a stray yearling
A maverick unbranded on high;
And get cut in the bunch with the "rusties"
When the Boss of the riders goes by.

For they tell of another big owner
Who's ne'er overstocked, so they say,
But who always makes room for the sinner
Who drifts from the straight narrow way.

They say He will never forget you
That He knows every action and look;
So, for safety, you'd better get branded
Have your name in the great Tally book.

In that strange way that art and life coincide without intentional guidance, I find that this lyric captures a certain feeling I have been having myself, even though I don't know the song and only found it on line when the title phrase popped into my noggin a few moments ago. When I was a boy, my bedroom wallpaper featured cowboys doing cowboy-type things--riding broncos, branding cattle, twirling lariats and so forth. These would be the last images I'd see before sleep, and the first in my dreams. As the cowboy moved from bucolic occupation to iconic Americana, his lived experience became literary--in dime novels and memoirs, folktales and songs, and most effectively I think on stage and in cinema where his shadow looms largest. I'll look at as much of this process as a blog entry can bear in my next post.