Houston Music

The Urban Cowboy Soundtrack Holds Up Pretty Well

Have you watched Urban Cowboy lately? It's actually on Netflix right now if you never have. But the movie that in many ways put Houston on the map in the world's eyes — how come nobody ever brings up Terms of Endearment, though? — frankly hasn't aged all that well.

Pulpish B-movie fare to begin with, the plot largely centers on dim-bulb John Travolta putting Debra Winger through some Grade-A pouting, in the process all but squandering fine character acting by Barry Corbin, Scott Glenn and of course that scene-stealing Gilley's mechanical bull. Winger's steamy dance on top of that bull about halfway through the film will never get old, but overall Urban Cowboy is about as outdated as the Houston skyline (beautiful as it is) in that tracking shot down Memorial Drive during the opening credits.

That's why, because two of its main stars are bringing their "Urban Cowboy Reunion" tour to Stafford Centre this evening, we were pleasantly surprised that the soundtrack by and large holds up pretty well. Somehow the producers resisted the urge to toss in some disco, but otherwise the 18-song album is prime late-'70s mainstream pop, balanced with enough redneck rock to still play in Pasadena. Just don't mistake it for country music until the very, very end.

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Chris Gray has been Music Editor for the Houston Press since 2008. He is the proud father of a Beatles-loving toddler named Oliver.
Contact: Chris Gray