A few weeks ago, I joined in on a conference call with a colleague on the East Coast and another in London.  When the Englishman wished me a “Good morning”, I chimed in with “Howdy!”  That’s when I learned that this is the best way to make a Londoner bust a gut.  I was apparently the first American co-worker he’d ever heard get all Old West in casual conversation.

I explained how in my area we’re a bit more in touch with our roots.  In fact, I live only a short drive from Kearney, Missouri where you can find Jesse James’s house.  He’s still something of a local hero there.  The Englishman was baffled by the idea that an outlaw would be considered such, enough to have something of a shrine in his hometown.

“The Kray’s once lived in my neighborhood, but we’re not really proud of that,” he said.  “However, I suppose the fascination is similar to what we have with Robin Hood, except Jesse James was a real person.”

The three of use then spent about fifteen minutes discussing American outlaws, when we were supposed to be discussing a project, but who cares?  My lawlessness was rubbing off.

I mentioned that there was until recently a restaurant in nearby Lawrence, Kansas which was built in a building that used to be a bank.  It was robbed by Bonnie and Clyde during their crime spree in the 1930’s, and was apparently the first bank they ever robbed.  The men’s and women’s restrooms were labeled “Clydes” and “Bonnies”, respectively.

The Kansas City area was so outrageous throughout most of its history, legend has it there was never a single conviction under the Volstead Act (Prohibition) here.  Everybody was drunk and the law was either bribed, indifferent, or drunk too.  My area isn’t unique, by any means.  There are numerous historical locations of interest all over the country such as Tombstone or the grave(s) of Billy the Kid.

We Americans say we love our law and order, but the evidence very much is that we have a bewildering veneration for outlaws, ruffians, vigilantes, bounty hunters, and gunfighters.  It’s pretty much inseparable from our culture and probably always will be.  No doubt we could spend hours discussing it.

So let’s celebrate our six-gun-shootin’, bank robbin’, cattle-rustlin’, whore housin’, bar fightin’, rum-runnin’, rebel-yellin’, bronco-ridin’, card-dealin’, hard-drinkin’, bootleggin’, black hat-wearin’, lawbreakin’, tax-evadin’ ways.  Giddy-up.

This week’s themes:

  1. “Cowboys from Hell”: Music by or about hard men and women drinking whiskey, kicking ass, fleeing the law, or anything else from the above paragraph.  This is not specific to any genre.
  2. “We got both kinds, Country and Western!”: Anything Country.  That genre doesn’t get much appreciation on our DJ threads. For this, I always have to back to the classics of my late 70’s/early 80’s youth, Johnny Cash, or the odd song from some movie soundtrack.  What am I missing?  If you’ve been lurking with your Luke Bryan and old Taylor Swift CD’s gathering dust, this is your chance to show us what it’s all about.
  3. Cowboy Bebop: Any song from a genre with a western sound.  Cowpunk, Rockabilly, or anything else that twangs.
  4. “You tell ’em I’m coming!  And Hell’s coming with me!”: Sometimes, The Law is an asshole.  This can relate either to heroic but brutal lawmen of the Doc Holliday variety or just dirty cops.
  5. “Outlaw Country!  WOOOOO!”: Do whatever you want.  This used to be America, you know.

Coincidentally, Mrs Thrill asked this week if we could take our summer vacation to our favorite getaway: Branson, MO.  Seriously, you would think that a place so corny and wholesome with its reverence for country music would be the most un-Thrill thing imaginable.

But you’d be wrong.  I fucking LOVE Branson.  It’s weird, I know, but it’s the time and place every year in which I thoroughly enjoy and relish the best aspects of red state America.  It’s also the only place where I can lovingly and unashamedly listen to country music.

We’ll take in some shows, ride some horses, eat at a buffet, and hit a water park.  The only thing missing is a complimentary AR-15 left on your hotel room pillow each morning.  If you’ve never been there, I recommend it as a unique national treasure.  Especially if you have kids.

Some of today’s music selections will hopefully get me in the mood.  Help me get in vacation mode.

To participate on a DJ thread, all you have to do is a share a YouTube link with a song that’s on theme.  It gets added to the embedded playlist below.  I keep updating it as the day goes on.

And now for the dedications!  Everyone who commented on last week’s DJ thread gets one.

Zurvan: What could be more Outlaw Country than The Bandit?

spootyjim: I have just one word for you: Lemmy.

kevinmkr: You must have a ticket on a United flight, ’cause you’re in the Dangah Zone!

Santino: George W Bush said you’re wanted dead or alive…on this thread!

mashav: “Barkeep, do you know how to make a Dead Bartender?”

westvirginiarebel: One of my personal favorites.  A loving ode to drunkeness and debauchery.

zoomwsu: I don’t think you’re a Beck fan, but this is one that people who don’t usually like Beck like.

Grendel: If you don’t got no Mojo Nixon, this list could use some fixin’.

pfluffy: Some trivia.  REALLY curious to see if you can name the movie scene, from a particular director you like, that this song is associated with.

Want a dedication of your own, dude?  All you have to do is a share a song.

15 comments

  1. I have a really poor country pedigree so these might be fringe-y but they’re alls I gots….

    Twang, you say?

    This is, by far, the song that I’ve covered at open mics the most. It may not be country but it’s got the bittersweet country style narrative and it’s got drinkin’. Barstool by Gary Jules.

    And for the biggest stretch, this one talks about shootin’ and has some slide guitar buried in it. Weak, I know. But I love this song.

  2. LOVE that Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band – Raise a Little Hell, discovered week before last because of ya guys…

  3. I’ve been mostly offline because irl friends/family/holidays stuff, but I cannot let this thread go by without posting something from this guy, literally the only modern musician who is continuing in the Johnny/Waylon mold as opposed to corporate “country.”
    https://youtu.be/uFk3mtcXTN4

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