C in Country 11
Desperate for an icon in pre-post-War Depression,
America fell in love with the singing cowboy–
alone on the plain, yodeling to his herd–
so much that Hollywood stepped in.
Suddenly, each studio had an iconic ranger,
his accompanying band in matching Nudie suits–
Roy Rogers, Gene Autry love and shoot
with impunity; ridiculous plots solved by song.
One of my favorite country-western tunes
was written by Cole Porter (of all people),
covered by everyone, including pop Bing Crosby:
“Don’t Fence Me In,”* early agitprop pop country.
(If I could make a political statement, I would–
American Exceptionalism and erasing native folks
to simple prairie threats were part of what
they’re selling: a good-natured empire, vigilante fantasy.)
*I recommend the Roy Rogers version but Bing’s has the Andrew’s Susters, a plus.
Oh, yes, the Roy Rogers version! Excellent points about the whole Western genre.
Solving problems with song is a favorite method. 🤠
Thanks for this neat poem. It makes me think of that “Sweet Baby James” song, for a start.