Happy Texas Independence Day, y'all. Have you voted? Good. Now relax. It's time to have some fun. The other day, the Sir Douglas Quintet's "Westside Blues Again" came on Rocks Off's iPod and, in the course of its six-minute running time, planted the seeds of an idea. It's an idea we sincerely hope we're not the first person to have, but we'll go ahead and take credit for it unless somebody wants to argue about it. What if someone were to load an iPod with nothing but Texas music? In other words, what if someone were to create the Best. iPod. Ever? For one thing, that would be an undertaking as big as the Lone Star State itself. (Let's see you take that one on,Texas Monthly
.) But today of all days would be the perfect day to start, so Rocks Off jotted down a few songs no self-respecting Texan's iPod - hell, no self-respecting iPod - should be without.Doug Sahm & the Sir Douglas Quintet, "Texas Me":
Since Sir Doug was the one who inspired this idea, of course he gets to lead off. But anyone who's left Texas for an extended period of time knows it can make you mighty homesick, and "Texas Me" is one of the few songs we've ever heard that captures those feelings in musical terms. We always liked the weather report when Doug tells us "It's rainin' in Port Arthur/ Snowin' in Fort Worth town," too.
Same, "At the Crossroads"Willie Nelson & Merle Haggard, "Pancho & Lefty":
Never mind that Emmylou Harris' version of this song pretty much wipes the floor with Willie and Merle's; we always thought the arrangement was a little cheesy. "Pancho" is loaded with musical parlor games, from debating which musicians Townes Van Zandt might have based Lefty on - according tothis YouTube clip
, someone named "Lefty" really was a buddy of Pancho Villa's - to imagining Willie and Merle arguing on the set of the video shoot: "No,I
want to be Pancho!"Also:
Townes Van Zandt, "Colorado Girl"Lyle Lovett, "That's Right, You're Not from Texas":
Lyle does go on a bit - this song is 13 verses long - but "That's Right" is a cheerful tip of the Stetson to all those non-Texans who think we're nothing but a bunch of xenophobic Tea Partiers. Live, it's a swinging wood-floor powerhouse where the Cotton Club meets Gruene Hall.Also:
Asleep at the Wheel, "Miles and Miles of Texas"Spoon, "Small Stakes":
Rocks Off figured we should put at least one song from the past decade on here. Britt Daniel's stuttery piano piece from 2002'sKill the Moonlight
precisely captures the moment when Austin went from a bunch of stoned slackers in search of a gig to a bunch of stoned slackers in search of blog sponsorship. At least that's what we think it's about.Also:
Old 97's, "Melt Show"Ray Wylie Hubbard, "Screw You, We're from Texas":
Sort of the flip side of "That's Right, You're Not from Texas." Nothing wrong with being nice, but when Hubbard sings, "I don't care if I ever go to Delaware anyway," you know you're home.Also:
Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble, "Cold Shot"Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, "New San Antonio Rose":
We listed Bob Wills' version here, because picking any other would be like saying you prefer the Apostle Paul's cover of the Sermon on the Mount to Jesus' original. Still, Dwight Yoakam and Asleep at the Wheel at least give Bob and friends a good run for their money on 2000'sRide With Bob
Same, "Faded Love"Roky Erickson/Thirteenth Floor Elevators, "You're Gonna Miss Me":Last week's show
at the Continental Club just confirmed it one more time: Roky translates Buddy Holly and Little Richard's primal rock and roll into a language today's punks, stoners and metalheads can easily understand. Also, nobody - not even Little Richard himself - yelps and yowls like he does.Also:
Buddy Holly & the Crickets, "Oh Boy!"ZZ Top, "La Grange":
Rocks Off likes many other ZZ Top songs better than "La Grange," but it's the cornerstone of an entire Texas sound, the song thousands of budding Lone Star musicians have laid waste to their fingers while trying to learn that John Lee Hooker riff. Respect.
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Toadies, "Possum Kingdom" Yeah, yeah, we know. Most iPods have playlists longer than that. We never said this was going to be definitive; just a little push to help get you started. Rocks Off also polled our writers and Facebook friends earlier today, and here's what they came up with. Thanks, y'all:
Willie Nelson & Waylon Jennings, "Luckenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love); Mack Hayes, "Luv Ya Blue (Houston Oilers No. 1)"; Robert Earl Keen, "Gringo Honeymoon"; Big Boys, "We Got Your Money"; MDC, "John Wayne Was a Nazi"; The Judy's, "Guyana Punch"; Old 97's, "Time Bomb"; Pantera, "Walk"; Marty Robbins, "El Paso"; Various Artists, "The Yellow Rose of Texas"; Jimmie Rodgers/Waylon Jennings, "T for Texas"; Various Artists, "Red River Valley"; Johnny Bush, "There Stands the Glass"; Bruce Channel, "Hey, Baby"; Willie Nelson, "Shotgun Willie"; Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys, "What's Fort Worth" Kinky Friedman & the Texas Jewboys, "They Ain't Makin' Jews Like Jesus Anymore"; Paul Wall & Mike Jones, "They Don't Know"; ZZ Top, "Heard It on the X"; Texas Tornadoes, "(Hey Baby) Que Paso"; Johnny Winter, "Hustled Down In Texas"; Gary P. Nunn, "Road Trip"; Sir Douglas Quintet, "She's About a Mover"; The Hollisters, "East Texas Pines"; Ernest Tubb, "Waltz Across Texas"; Gary P. Nunn, "London Homesick Blues"; Alabama, "If You're Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle In the Band"; Johnny Bush, "Tennessee to Texas"; Charlie Robison, "Indianola"
Obviously our iPod isn't even close to full, and we've still barely scratched the surface of worthwhile Texas songs. So help us out, readers... What would you add to our little project?