Art Rock

Lonesome Onry and Mean: A Sweet Piece of Art for Sweetheart

My California compadre Charlie McGovern, who produces records by interesting people like Tony Gilkyson (Goodbye Guitar), Victoria Williams (Sings Some Ol' Songs), and Mike Stinson (Last Fool At the Bar), is also Salinas, California's biggest booster and amateur historian. It's all in a day's work for me to receive out-of-left-field emails from McGovern telling me he just visited Doc Ricketts' lab (the "Doc" in John Steinbeck's Tortilla Flat) or some other mind-boggling piece of history associated with Steinbeck's world.

Lately, McGovern has been doing some part-time engineering work for Neil Young out at the place where Young famously yelled "More barn!" while previewing tracks from Harvest for buddy/sometime bandmate Graham Nash. McGovern's latest discovery has to do with a subject close to the hearts of all Houstonians: the rodeo.

The cover art of the Byrds' 1968 classic Sweetheart of the Rodeo was actually a real advertisement for a rodeo in Salinas circa 1930. McGovern, the subject of Mike Stinson's great new honky-tonk song "I've Got No One To Drink With Anymore," forwarded this link to the story of Uruguayan-born Jo Mora's now-famous album cover.

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William Michael Smith