Growing up in Marcus in the western part of the great state of Iowa, we got to experience music that our eastern Iowa cousins never really got a hold of. They were oriented to sophisticated Chicago but we seemed to take to — and relate to — the wide open prairies of the west.
Perhaps thatâs why I get such a kick out of country music — once called âcowboyâ? or âhillbillyâ? music. It didnât beat those wonderful pop standards of the â30s and â40s, but there is an honesty about the titles that is priceless. Consider â-
(1) â I Wouldnât Take Her to a Dog Fight, âCause Iâm Afraid Sheâd Winâ?
(2) â?She Got the Ring and I Got the Fingerâ?
(3) âIf the Phone Donât Ring, You Know Itâs Meâ?
(4) âMy Wife Ran Off with My Best Friend, and I Miss Himâ?
(5) â?Iâll Marry You Tomorrow, but Letâs Honeymoon Tonight!â?
And then thereâs my all time favorite —
âHow Can I Miss You, When You Wonât Go Away?â?
The country lyrics of yesterday and today talk of unrequited love, booze, downtimes, and loneliness. They are decidedly and mournfully masculine and, in this day and age, may be offensive to some of the female persuasion (sorry âbout that!). The accompanying music is simple, direct, and consists of three chords and the truth. Canât get much better than that!
The habituÃ©s of the Hawkeye (when it was known as Flanniganâs) and the East Side Tavern and McQueenâs were comfortable, back in the â40s, with those songs on the juke box or swirling in their minds as they nursed a beer .Or stared blankly into an empty glass. In the warm, dark, male sanctuary of my fictitious âHe Ainât Here Pool Hall,â? guys were confronted with a handwritten sign behind the bar that pleaded âIf Youâre Drinkinâ to Forget, Please Pay in Advance!â?
Most country songs today seem to belong in a similar safehouse where guys still go to wet their whistle. What are your favorite country music songs — then and now? Do females relate to them or are they offended? And outside of the radio stations and cable networks where do you hear them in Marcus and elsewhere today?