The Explanation
(for those who require one)

And, of course, that is what all of this is -- all of this: the one song, ever changing, ever reincarnated, that speaks somehow from and to and for that which is ineffable within us and without us, that is both prayer and deliverance, folly and wisdom, that inspires us to dance or smile or simply to go on, senselessly, incomprehensibly, beatifically, in the face of mortality and the truth that our lives are more ill-writ, ill-rhymed and fleeting than any song, except perhaps those songs -- that song, endlesly reincarnated -- born of that truth, be it the moon and June of that truth, or the wordless blue moan, or the rotgut or the elegant poetry of it. That nameless black-hulled ship of Ulysses, that long black train, that Terraplane, that mystery train, that Rocket '88', that Buick 6 -- same journey, same miracle, same end and endlessness."
-- Nick Tosches, Where Dead Voices Gather

Men of the West #24


Gene Autry

10 comments :

Ann O'Dyne said...

... and Trigger

Trigger deserves a credit too.

Ann O'Dyne said...

some wiki-thing says:
"Touring Champion taking tea at London's Savoy Hotel, 1953 Collectively, the Champions performed the world's largest repertory of horse tricks, including dancing the hula and the Charleston, jumping through a ring of fire, and playing dead. Greeting crowds from Brownwood, Texas, to Dublin, Ireland, Touring Champion even enjoyed a proper high tea at the Savoy in London. Always popular, Champion received thousands of fan letters each month, proving that the World's Wonder Horse was an important element in the Singing Cowboy's success.

Throughout their careers, Gene Autry and Champion were featured in dime novels, children's stories, and comic books. Champion even received equal billing with Gene above the leading ladies on movie posters and lobby cards promoting Autry films. "

(Champion was so clever, maybe HE was the one who wrote
Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer.)

So you would think I would remember correctly.
Maybe Trigger was Hopalong's horsey.

Tom Sutpen said...

Trigger was Roy Rogers' Horsie (I've gotten them mixed-up in the past; ain' no big thing).

If'n you ever get a chance, take a listen to the recordings Autry made in the late 20s-early 30s. Beautiful stuff; what's more, for sheer smut value they rival anything recorded by Jimmie Davis ('Tom Cat and Pussy Blues', etc.)

swac said...

Funny, my friend Old Man Luedecke was telling me about Gene Autry's "blue" or "party" records just the other day, but I've never been able to come across them. Any hints, Tom?

swac said...

Gene's not on this compilation of dirty cowboy songs but it sure sounds like fun.

Brent McKee said...

Champion had his own radio series for a year and his own TV show. I remember watching the latter as a not quite young enough to fully enjoy it kid.

swac said...

A handy guide:

Roy Rogers = Trigger
Gene Autry = Champion
Tom Mix = Tony the Wonder Horse
The Lone Ranger = Silver
Tonto = Scout
Buck Jones = Silver (no relation)
Hopalong Cassidy = Topper
John Wayne = Banner or Dollor (among others)
James Stewart = Pie
Lash LaRue - Black Diamond
Tex Ritter = White Flash
Buster Crabbe = Falcon
Ken Maynard = Tarzan
Hank Snow = Pawnee
Dudley Do Right = Horse

Tom Sutpen said...

Stephen:

Columbia/Legacy released a CD several years ago called Gene Autry: Blues Singer (1929-1931), which, apart from demonstrating that Autry had the potential to have outclassed Jimmie Rodgers if he'd stuck to it, has a few of his lowdown numbers. The smut records of his that I remember hearing came off of one of those old Columbia 2-LP collections of Autry recordings from roughly the same period (I think it embraced his late 30s work as well). The Tufts University radio station had it in the mid 80s, and I've not seen it anywhere since.

swac said...

Ok, I know of that Columbia disc. It's out of print now and for some reason, I can't find it online anywhere for less than $40...

Correction: I've done some digging and found copies available for less that $20. Hmmm....

Of course, there's also the massive, all-encompassing Bear Family box set. I went that route for Webb Pierce and Johnny Horton, but I don't know if I need that much Gene Autry.

R.H. said...

Roy Rogers horse could count, with its hooves.

It gave his movies one out of ten.