From today's Times and News-Star
Went to El Paso and San Marcos in the past month. If these were the only towns in Texas you’d ever visit, you’d swear the state bird was a rock and the state flower was a Mexican restaurant. These parts of Texas have depth at both, especially around El Paso, where a brown suit is called “camouflage.”
This is an entirely good thing: I’ve always been pro rock – you know it, I know it, the American people know it – and I could take Mexican food daily through a tube to a vein in my arm. Good stuff.
But a lot of Louisiana people don’t like Texas, something I’ve never quite understood. It’s probably just competitive border rivalry. I say a state that gave us Bob Wills, Ernest Tubb, Willie Nelson and the log ride at Six Flags is a keeper any day of the week.
Texas has also given us country music star and authentic cowboy George Strait, surely one of the faces on the Mount Rushmore of Texas singers. Strait is in he middle of his “Cowboy Rides Away” tour, which will end 30 years of getting jiggy with it in a country kind of way out on the road. Those driving from north Louisiana might already know that the closest concert stops in early 2013 are Oklahoma City, North Little Rock, New Orleans, Houston and San Antonio’s Alamodome, where tickets cost an arm, a leg, two steers and Hoss Cartwright’s 10-gallon hat. The tour is to finish with 20 more dates in 2014, giving us time to save up some pesos.
I am trying to achieve liftoff on a pair of tickets but am not holding my Louisiana breath. After looking at prices, well, this is where the redneck rides away.
BUT, a guy’s got to make a living and George certainly has given me and his other fans our money’s worth over the years. In honor of this real-life rodeo roper, rancher and Texas singer, here are the Top 10 George Strait Songs According To Me. Keep in mind that this challenge is too big for me: I never thought any person or group would break Conway Twitty’s record of No. 1 hits, but Strait, with 59, got it done.
1. Amarillo by Morning: Strictly a peer pressure choice, though I like it. Country Music TV picked it as the No. 12 country tune of alltime. (He Stopped Loving Her Today by George Jones was No. 1.) Also chosen by “The Austin Chronicle” as the No. 7 song about a place in Texas. (El Paso by Marty Robbins was No. 1 – Amen, brother! -- if you’re keeping score at home.)
2. She’ll Leave You With a Smile:And your Stetson, but that’s about it.
3. Honk If You Honky Tonk: Written by stud Dean Dillon, who also wrote the following:
4. The Chair and
5. I’ve Come To Expect It From You, and
6. Easy Come, Easy Go: I hope George is giving Dillon free tickets to the concerts. This guy writes songs like Charlie Daniels plays fiddle.
7. The Cowboy Rides Away, by Sonny Throckmorton. Strait knows where the best songwriters hang out, rest assured.
8. Give It Away: The boy in the song can’t even give his broken heart away. Bummer.
9. Go On: It’s a happy song!, at least sort of.
10. Designated Drinker (with Alan Jackson): When the guy hands over his keys in the first line, it’s NOT going to be a feel-good tune.