Laredo, Texas

Laredo by Chris Cagle

You've always been a friend of mine
And that's the way we'll be 'til the day I die
It's good to know you're on my side
Laredo, Texas, is famous for the number of bridges that dot its landscape, bridges that have become pivotal for the joining of two nations: the United States and Mexico. Chris Cagle's self-penned song "Laredo" takes an emotional approach to the abstract idea of building connections between two entities and uses the great south Texas city of Laredo as a means by which to approach the idea. In essence, "Laredo," from Cagle's 2000 album, Play It Loud, is a love song. Cagle begins the ode by addressing an old friend and pleading for the friend's sympathy and help in keeping the love of his life from leaving him. Slowly, as the song itself builds to a climax at the refrain, the listener realizes that this "friend" is, in fact, the city itself.

Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center in Laredo<br>Photo: <a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/lordsutch/2588682334/" target="_blank">Chris Lawrence</a>, via Flickr, CC 2.0Lamar Bruni Vergara Science Center in Laredo
Photo: Chris Lawrence, via Flickr, CC 2.0
Situated not only on a strategic highway to industrial locales in Mexico, but also along the Texan expanse of the Rio Grande, bridges are plentiful in Laredo, and Cagle is sure to reference these in his song as he reminisces about his relationship with the person in question. This is one of the ways in which Cagle creates strong parallels between the relationship at hand in the song and the relationship built between a person and the city in which they live. In the second verse, as Cagle makes it clear that he is relying on his lover's affection for the city to keep her close, he sings:

Make her think about the moonlit walks
And the long, long talks by the water's edge
With her feet hanging off the Cane Creek Bridge


There are also a number of squares in Laredo, echoing its Spanish influences. These physical trademarks find a home in the history of romance chronicled in the song. The "old town square" in the historic downtown area of the city is, in fact, where the couple shared their first kiss. Again, Cagle pleads with the city:

Oh Laredo, don't let her go
...Oh Laredo, you're my only hope


While the narrator of this song is agonizing over his love' s decision to leave him and leave the city they share, what is clear is that there is something special about this city that keeps the two of them connected, and may even make it impossible for the woman to leave. Laredo, known to many as "The Gateway City" or the "The City Under Seven Flags," boasts much which anyone would want to stick around for. The third most populated city on the United States-Mexico border, Laredo has the desert climate that attracts so many to the southwest, but it also has the added benefit of proximity to several bodies of water. In addition, the city has a bustling economy, many festivals and outdoor recreational points of interest, as well as museums, and a wealth of nightlife. As Cagle's love song reaches its conclusion, he simply reiterates his plea; "please don't let her go, Oh Laredo," illustrating the powerful bond not just between the woman and the city, but between the narrator and the beautiful city, which has always been a friend to him.

Maggie Grimason
August 7, 2014

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