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Additional Research Info for April 11, 2005, QMH:

rainbow cowboy   rainbow cowboy   rainbow cowboy

In researching for this show I reviewed many more country songs by straight artists than I could possibly fit into an hour show, so for those interested I wanted to mention others I considered, with some comments here and there. I'll discuss them in alphabetical order, by artist.

Moe Bandy & Joe Stampley - Where's the Dress (1984) While this comedy country song certainly evokes many gay images, mainly of Boy George, it's mainly about Moe & Joe figuring out how they can copy Boy George to get a hit record and make money. I don't consider it homophobic at all.

Steve Brooks - Jesus Loves You Even If You're Gay (1999, from "Sex, Lies & Videotape," certainly a pro-gay song by Texas singer/songwriter and liberal humorist).

Neil Burris - The Sissy Song (1951, cover version of the Billy Briggs song)

Chinga Chavin - Sadomasochistic Transvestite Queen (1993, from "Live & Politically Erect Country Porn." From the artist who brought us the "Okie From Mustogee" parody "Asshole from El Paso," a generally crude live album).

David Alan Coe - Fuck Anita Bryant (1978, from an underground x-rated album, as you might have guessed. You can hear it on one of my FCC shows from last summer)

Da Yoopers - I Tink My Beagle's Gay (1997, from "We're Still Rockin'"…another generally don't-play-for-your-mother comedy act)

Kacey Jones - Every Man I Ever Loved Is Either Married, Gay or Dead (2000, from the album of the same name, a gay-reference song, of minor interest)

Si Kahn - Just the Way You Are (1984, from "Unfinished Portraits," a remarkably pro-gay and very nice song done in country style by an artist mostly known in the folk genre. But not at all surprising from this pro-feminist artist)

Master Baiting Crappie Club - My Wife Frank / Gay Caballero (1999, from "Nothing to Do With Love." Two homophobic songs done without the benefit of wit or musical ability)

M. Bum & the Hobos - Gay Liberation (1970s, a 45 rpm release with remarkably non-homophobic lyrics given the song's humorous style and the times. I've not been able to verify a year for this song but it has earmarks of, say, mid to late 1970s).

National Lampoon - Rules of the Road (2003, an album of gay trucker parody songs, most with lyrics that would not permit radio play. Its problem is that none of the songs are particularly good musically or interesting lyrically. You would expect better of the National Lampoon folks than this homophobic romp).

Prairie Ramblers (as the Sweet Violet Boys) - I Love My Fruit (1933, this has been written up as a bold "gay" song by a Western Swing group, so much so that they released it under another name, Sweet Violet Boys, and that it was immediately doomed to get no airplay. Personally, I don't see it as enough of a gay reference at all to be worth the fuss, then or now, and mention it because net searches may bring up their name).

Rude Girls - Girl in the Red Velvet Dress (1987, from "Rude Awakening") and Rufus and Beverly (1990, from "Mixed Messages). Two interesting songs done in pseudo-country style, the first about two women at a dance, and the second, a transgender song, also recorded by Bryan Bowers).

Tiny Tim - I'm Gonna Be a Country Queen / I Ain't No Cowboy (1971, strange 45 rpm record with both songs having gay content, not necessarily negative as the humor is self-directed, from music's main tip-toer).

Freddy Weller - Betty Ann and Shirley Cole (1973, from "Too Much Monkey Business." One of the few songs on this list by a bona fide country artist, it's the story of two small-town women who at the end of the song end up together as a couple. It is interesting for its lack of homophobia and judgment for that time period).

 

ridersriders

LAVENDER COWBOY


The song "Lavender Cowboy" has a long history. It started out as a poem, published by Harold Hersey, in 1923. See http://www.erbzine.com/dan/h2.html

It appeared in a movie western in the 1930 called "Oklahoma Cyclone."
See http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021202/combined

It seems that Ewen Hail may have published the score for the song, according to this reference. See http://iii.library.unt.edu:81/search/aHainer,+Earl./ahainer+earl/-5,-1,0,B/frameset&FF=ahail+ewen&2,,3

And, we know that the Vernon Dalhart version of the song was banned by radio due to this reference (http://www.time.com/time/archive/preview/0,10987,763731,00.html)

..."Blue" songs are naturally not allowed on the radio networks. Last week NBC revealed that 147 songs are on its blacklist. Because their titles are suggestive, 137 may not even be played instrumentally[!]. Among them:
"Lavender Cowboy"..."Dirty Lady"..."But in the Morning, No"...Many another song has to be laundered before NBC will pass it. Not to be sung in "Thank You Father" are the lines: "Though your father's name was Stanley/Thank God that he was manly." -- --Time, March 25, 1940

Among the many versions of the song "Lavender Cowboy" I've notated the following recordings: (alphabetical by artist, year & source given if known; and I've not heard most of these)

Arkin, Alan                                     ("Folk Songs, Once Over Lightly" 1954)
Bille, Donne                                  ("From Here On Up" 1996)
Boyle, Johnny                              (1949)
Crosby, Alfred                              (1967)
Dalhart, Vernon                            (Bluebird B-8229, 1939)
Houston, Cisco                            ("Newport Folk Festival 1960" 1960)
Ives, Burl                                        ("The Wayfaring Stranger" 1950)
LaFarge, Peter                              ("Sings of the Cowboys" 1964)
Lee, Katie                                       (Spicy Songs for Cool Knights" 1957)
McCurdy, Ed                                  ("The Folksinger" 1958)
Morse, Kendall                              (Lights Along the Shore" 1976)
Phenomenological Boys, the    ("The Rainbow Record" 2003)
Roberts, Paddy                             ("Strictly for Grown-Ups" 1964)
Robinson, Tom                             ("Castaway Club, Volume 7" 2000, fan club disc)
Skyles, Bob & His Skyrockets ("Bob Skyles & His Skyrockets 1937-1940," originally on Bluebird 7092, 1937)

The Lavender Cowboy
(Harold Hersey)

He was only a lavender cowboy,
The hairs on his chest were two,
But he wished to follow the heroes
And fight like the he-men do.

But he was inwardly troubled
By a dream that gave him no rest,
That he'd go with his heroes in action
With only two hairs on his chest.

First he tried many a hair tonic.
'Twas rubbed in on him each night.
But still when he looked in the mirror
Those two hairs were ever in sight.

But with a spirit undaunted
He wandered out to fight,
Just like an old-time knight errant
To win combat for the right.

He battled for Red Nellie's honor
And cleaned out a holdup's nest
He died with his six guns a-smoking
With only two hairs on his chest.