My horses are trailered
And the lights are shut down
I'm long overdue
For headin' outta town.
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Cattle roundup c 1890
One fan opined recently that Radney Foster may well be the best talent most people have never heard of. With Bill Lloyd he teamed up in the mid 1980s and produced three albums. Then they split and began solo careers, only to get back together and, in 2011, they put out their fourth album after a longish time apart. Some critics have described their songs as country with a bit of an edge.
Texas in 1880 was wild. Being a cowboy chasing cows on a ranch in Texas was tough. Over the years, many of these cowboys took to riding in rodeos. That really was
tough. But Foster reckons his song is not all about riding in rodeos. He says it’s just as much about taking risks. "This is really a song about dreamers. It is a rodeo song, but it's just about people who are willing to sacrifice everything for a dream. And I think dreams are worth sacrificing heart and soul, and poverty and all kinds of other things that we put up with or sacrifice in order to obtain them."
Foster says this song about Texas rodeos being tough came to him in his early songwriting days when he learned about the music business. A friend of his mother’s gave him some sage advice, little knowing she was also giving him the idea for a song. “Radney, that music business is just like rodeoing; it'll get in your blood and you can't get it out.”
Many music critics over the years have likened Foster and Lloyd to the Everly Brothers, because these two country musicians have tight harmonies and intelligent lyrics. You wonder how far the boys would have gone had they not split so soon after making their mark. Now they’re back with an even tighter country rock sound and who knows where they’ll finish this time around.
When performers hook up there is often debate about who got the better deal. With Foster and Lloyd it would appear to be both. Both bring their unique talents of performing, songwriting and arranging, meaning that the sum of the parts makes for a classy whole.
So what about rodeos today and in Texas in particular? Do they still operate? Are you kidding? There is no shortage of events to watch and enjoy. Youthful riders, older riders, parades, fairs and exhibitions are held all over the Lone Star State. Working cowboys even get the chance to show off their skills on the rodeo circuit. Those who take it seriously and ride for trophies and prizes continue to provide packed crowds with thrills and spills.
Music, sporting events, parades, and much more are all associated with rodeos across Texas. The historical side of things, such as happened way back in 1880, is covered aplenty with displays, museums and exhibitions. There are even events where riders have to be 50 years of age or older. Saddle up and ride ‘em cowboy.
~ Cenarth Fox
Texas In 1880 Songfacts
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