Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Fwd: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly

Expand Messages
  • Harlan Pruden
    FYI!!! ... From: Jim Conti Date: Feb 14, 2006 4:42 PM Subject: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly To: Harlan Pruden
    Message 1 of 1 , Feb 14, 2006

      ---------- Forwarded message ----------
      From: Jim Conti <jimbobspins@...>
      Date: Feb 14, 2006 4:42 PM
      Subject: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly
      To: Harlan Pruden <hpruden@...>


      Check this out. I am having trouble posting to


      From: Ned Sublette <ned@...>
      Date: Tue, 14 Feb 2006 12:31:46 -0500
      To: Ned Sublette <ned@...>
      Subject: Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly

      FEBRUARY 14, 2006
      1 P.M. EST





      I was sworn to secrecy until now, but today, on
      Valentine's Day, it can be told.

      In 1981, sitting at a piano in Portales, New Mexico, I
      wrote a song called "Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly,"
      whose first two verses and chorus go:

      There's many a strange impulse out on the plains of
      West Texas
      There's many a young boy who feels things he don't
      Well, the small town don't like it when somebody falls
      between sexes
      No, the small town don't like it when a cowboy has
      feelings for men.

      Now I believe to my soul that inside every man there's
      the feminine
      And inside every lady there's a deep manly voice loud
      and clear
      Well the cowboy may brag about things that he does
      with his women
      But the ones that brag loudest are the ones who are
      most likely queer.

      Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other
      What did you think all them saddles and boots was
      There's many a cowboy who don't understand the way
      that he feels for his brother
      Inside every cowboy there's a lady who'd love to slip

      It was the era of the urban cowboy plague, when the
      country charts were full of cowboys this and cowboys
      that songs. Inspired, I wrote this song, imagining
      Willie Nelson singing it.

      "Cowboys" seemed to strike a nerve, and for a time was
      the thing I was best known for. It took on a life of
      its own, as songs will do. After the first time I
      sang it, I got requests for "the one about the
      cowboys" at the next gig I did, and on and on. I
      probably don't need to point out that at the time, the
      term AIDS was unknown. A live recording of the
      first-ever performance of it by my band appeared on a
      John Giorno anthology. I made a damn fine recording
      of it in the 80s, with an A-team of specialist
      players, that has never come out. It was covered by
      the queercore group Pansy Division, who changed it
      from a waltz to 4/4. I tried to place it in Brokeback
      Mountain, but the word I got was that it was too funny
      for a tear-jerkin' movie.

      My friend Tony Garnier, who played bass on my studio
      version, passed a copy of the track to Willie Nelson
      in maybe 1988. After living with the song all these
      years, Willie has recorded it.

      It has just been released as a download-only single on
      iTunes, and as of this morning, it's available at

      It was premiered this morning, a few months shy of 25
      years since I wrote it, for Valentine's Day, when
      Willie appeared as a guest on the Howard Stern show.
      I didn't hear it, since I don't yet get Sirius. The
      song has the F-word in it (it's not gratuitous, it's
      structural), and by going over to Sirius, Howard Stern
      can play it unedited. Satellite radio is the new FM.

      It's pretty amazing to hear Willie sing this song.
      Not just because it has the word "queer" in it. Not
      even because it's the first time I've heard Willie
      Nelson sing the word "fuck." But because of his
      interpretive power. Since I originally imagined
      Willie singing it, I feel kind of like I already heard
      it, way back when. But Willie as an interpreter is
      always surprising, and I learned a hundred things
      about my own song hearing him give it back to me.

      But here's the best part.

      There's going to be a "Cowboys Are Frequently
      Secretly" ringtone. I don't have the link yet, but if
      you want it, e-mail me and I'll try to keep on top of
      it. After all, ringtones are the new singles.

      I'm told there is also a video, though I haven't seen

      Please feel free to let all your friends and
      acquaintances know. And thank you, Willie.

      Late-breaking update: An article in the Dallas Morning
      News today quoted a prepared statement by Willie as
      saying, "The song's been in the closet for 20 years":


      Do You Yahoo!?
      Tired of spam? Yahoo! Mail has the best spam protection around

      Harlan Pruden
      646.351.7360 - Cell
    Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.