154 thoughts on “Cowboy Songs”

    1. If they don’t swear, drink, gamble, ride hosses or punch cows then no they aren’t cowboys. (Punching cows is not taking your fist and punching them. That would be mean. I believe it has something to do with branding them. I’ve only read three westerns so I’m still learning.)

      1. Cowboys are the very symbol of independence in the US. A strange choice for the IFB.

      2. As the grandson and great-grandson of real, cow-herding, horse-riding cowboys, I find this whole performance highly offensive.

        1. Ahhh, a Fundamentalist Baptist Penal Colony for “wayward” boys who want to think for themselves, have their opinions respected, and generally do not fit the mold of the 1950s-style “good boy” so desired by IFB families.

  1. I hope those aren’t jeans the guys are wearing. That’s sinful. Also, in keeping with the military theme they should remove their covers (I’m assuming they are indoors).

  2. Considering a decade ago I was in that very group I still shudder. And that directing – my instructors would have flunked him.

      1. Not a church – that’s Circle C Baptist Ranch part of Fugate’s kingdom in Kentucky. I served staff one year when the camp was still in Iowa as part of Larry Browns church. Back when my family was deep in fundystan.

  3. That’s the uneasiest posse of cowpokes I’ve ever seen.

    Fundamentalism’s fascination and preoccupation with cowboys is kind of funny. You have to wonder how many IFB preachers have a secret stash of spurs and leather chaps in their closets. You know, with all that other stuff they’ve got in the closet…

        1. No joke, that might possibly be my favorite song. My second choice would be Wizard by Black Sabbath. If you haven’t guessed yet, I play the harmonica 😉

        2. My husband’s all-time fave! But he likes the Sons of the Pioneers version best.

      1. Watching this video reminded me of the Village People. Singing “YMCA”. I could just see these church boys doing that number.

        1. I, too, thought of the Village People.
          But I think the Village People meant it ironically.

      2. BG, I’m constantly amazed by the breadth of your knowledge. I’m dead serious. I want to be like you when I grow up. You know all the songs and books. Damn.

        1. All you have to do is miss-spend your youth listening to a lot of songs and reading a lot of books.

        2. I don’t have time to write it, and you don’t have time to read it.
          But start with “Learned Pigs and Fireproof Women.”

  4. I whinced at the dash of military with the alleged cowboy attire. More than the cowboy theme, the military emphasis is always disturbing.

    I could see myself up there twenty-five years or thirty years ago…and I wouldn’t have helped them hold a tune either.

    There is something else that strikes me as odd: it’s the perpetual flags on the podium in churches, not only IFB it appears. That would be a great topic of discussion on the forum. I think I’ll look into it, though there is probably an SFL thread out there somewhere that already has, howbeit before my time.

    1. Given how wildly out-of-tune that piano is, I can’t decide if the “cowboys” are singing in tune with the piano, or just not singing in tune at all.

  5. Unfortunately, some Episcopal churches think that they have to have flags up front.

    I believe that this is a legacy of the Episcopal Church’s roots in the Church of England, which is the “official” state church over there. But here in the USA there is no such arrangement, deo gratias.

    The Washington National Cathedral is an exception. All 50 state flags are displayed Way Up On High–


    1. Except the Church of England doesn’t have flags up front or on the altar – anywhere I’ve ever seen

  6. Guys in Stetsons singing hymns was weird enough. The dash of military at the end was really odd.

    1. Hey Bama
      Hey Bama
      Hey Bama
      We just beat the hell out of you
      Whammer Yammer
      Drunken Stammer
      Go to hell Alabama!

      1. Haters gonna hate! We’re used to it, ‘cuz we’re America’s Legendary Iconic College Football Team, and of course, everyone else is jealous. ROLL D*MN TIDE!

  7. Besides the mixed metaphors and the horrible production, the flags reminded me of the brouhaha a few years ago when the leadership at the evangelical church I attend decided to remove both the American and Christian flags from our sanctuary. Some folks threw a complete fit and left the church. But, are we pushing America to our multicultural neighborhood or Jesus? Thankfully, Jesus won!

  8. Ugh. That was so awful – both the singing and the fake cowboys. I’m going to have to go to a rodeo just to get over it.
    Have they never seen a real cowboy? And what’s with the pledge and salute to the Christian flag? Without removing their hats?
    Military… Cowboys… Christian flag… Hymns… These things are not meant to be put together in some sort of IFB Mulligan stew.

    1. My great-grandmother never let a cowboy enter her ranch house with his hat still on. Never. You didn’t wear a hat (or spurs) in her house if you wanted to live.

  9. “Onward Christian Soldiers” would never be a real Cowboy’s song. Well, some Mormon cowboys back in the early days, I suppose. But they weren’t typical.

    Sons of the Pioneers this group ain’t!

      1. +10. Very good phrase.

        I am also pretty sure that many IFB churches could eliminate their heating bill if they could but harness the hot air spewing from the MoG’s mouth.

  10. Whenever I see a preacher directing music/chorals with all the arm gestures, I assume that he is just faking it and actually has no musical training.

    Is that wrong of me to judge so quickly?

      1. Thanks, I feel better now.

        I hate to be “holier than thou”, since I have no musical training or talent, but it just seems so fake.

        1. It’s terribly fake. But, that’s HOW that group teaches men how to lead singing and as a trained musician it’s exasperating.

  11. Do cowboys wear t-shirts? I typed in “cowboy” in Google and clicked on Images to check. Cowboys with button-front shirts and cowboys without any shirt, but there were no cowboys with t-shirts…

    1. Well actually, real cowboys wear t-shirts all the time. And sometimes (*gasp*) sneakers! Because they are, you know, normal people.

        1. That was an even better description of what I DIDN’T WANT to see. You need to put trigger warnings up when you post that stuff. That was a bad Photoshop job.

        2. Lady Semp, if you want to see naked cowboys, you’ll have to Google it yourself.

          Caution: The guy who calls himself The Naked Cowboy is not really naked, and he is not really a cowboy.
          But someday when I have time, I might write a punk-rock musical comedy about his 2012 run for the U.S. Presidency.

        3. I thought the naked cowboy used to be naked until he moved to NYC and had to put his underpants on. Maybe urban legend?

        4. Glad to help. It’s an old post, so I’m kind of assuming that’s still valid info. Didn’t want to repost it in case it’s not valid, or not for publicization.

    2. Lots of cowboys out here where I live – and nope, t-shirts are not cowboy wear. They usually don’t wear short sleeved shirts at all.

    3. Wellll, if the guys who participate in the Caber Toss at our local annual Celtic Festival and Highland Games can wear muscle tees (a/k/a “wife-beaters”) with their kilts…then anything is possible,

  12. Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    Don’t let ’em drive buses and tell them tired fibs
    Make ’em be doctors and lawyers with wigs

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    They’ll never speak truth and they’re always alone
    Even with someone they love

    Fundies ain’t easy to love and they’re harder to hold
    And they’d rather give you sermons than diamonds or gold
    KJV Bibles and weirdly short hair

    And each Sunday is a new week
    And if you don’t understand him and he don’t die young
    He’ll probably continue to shriek

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    Don’t let ’em drive buses and tell them tired fibs
    Make ’em be doctors and lawyers with wigs

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    They’ll never speak truth and they’re always alone
    Even with someone they love

    Fundies like musty old church pews, very long preaching
    Kicking puppies and children, girls of the night
    And them that don’t know him won’t like him and them that do

    Sometimes won’t know how to take him
    He is wrong, not just different but his pride won’t let him
    Do things that would make him be right

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be cowboys
    Don’t let ’em pick guitars and drive them old trucks
    Make ’em be doctors and lawyers and such

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    Don’t let ’em drive buses and tell them tired fibs
    Make ’em be doctors and lawyers with wigs

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies
    They’ll never speak truth and they’re always alone
    Even with someone they love

    Mamas, don’t let your babies grow up to be Fundies

    1. Whoops, I accidentally left in part of the old lyrics.
      It’s actually kind of hard to do a take-off on that particular song, because it doesn’t have many versese. Most of it is just multiple reptitions of the chorus.

        1. I suppose that it could be a compound noun. At first glance the words “commie hippie” in front of “tosser” would appear to be adjectives, but if you call the whole thing a compound noun, like “doghouse” then the point would be moot.

      1. In light of yesterday’s discussion, this comment is so apropos. I hope we don’t have to draw ’em a picture.

    1. Are any of those still around these days? I keep seeing a bunch of greybeards, waving peace signs and shoving their walkers along in protest.

      1. Yup. They all moved to Oregon. Quite a few in Portland, and you can’t swing a Duck in Eugene without hitting one. You can smell the patchouli from Corvallis.

        1. Oooh, oooh! Montpelier, Vermont. It’s a trip back in the Wayback Machine. Tie-dye, patchouli, vegan restaurants, you name it.

  13. Circle C Baptist Ranch, “nestled in the rolling countryside near Buckeye, KY,” a ministry of the Clays Mill Road Baptist Church. “The King James Bible comes forth with Holy Spirit power from dedicated, separated, men of God. “

    1. Between Clay Mills and the creation museum, its enough to drive a man to emigrate. But the bourbon is good, and we get around it by pointing out that all the crazies are mostly in eastern Kentucky (with the exception of SBTS that somehow got lost in an upper middle class liberal neighborhood in Louisville).

      1. Hey, don’t knock my beloved eastern Kentucky, birthplace of the immortal Patty Loveless! (Love the state-park system there, too.)

        My husband’s from Louisville, so I’m biased in favor of Kentucky. 😉

  14. FWIW, my thoughts:
    1) This was just bad.
    2) The phrase “mixed metaphors” comes to mind.
    3) This was really bad.
    4) Knew an old fundy lady who HATED cowboy hats. Guys would wear a baseball cap in a building and she might let it pass. We had one guy who was living the dream. Wore Wranglers, boots, and a cowboy hat most days. She let him have it every time. Something about cowboys being satanic. Wish I had asked.
    5) This “production” would have made more sense with little kids.
    6) But it’s still bad.

  15. At least we know that they’re real men singing! None of this ungodly mess of boys in tight jeans and long hair like the liberal churches. No “robe” dresses like those Catholics put their choirs in either so you can’t tell who’s man or woman. Real red-blooded American men for God!

    1. Jay, I appreciate the link.

      I have been uncomfortable with the American Flag in the church for a long time. It is a flag that definitely does not stand for peace, but for war.

      The only One Who brings Peace is the Savior, by the blood of His Cross.

      1. Rigmath, the Washington National Cathedral has a unique place. It was chartered by Congress; it is the seat (“Cathedra”) of the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church although the PB’s office is in New York City. It is also the cathedral for the Episcopal Diocese of Washington; the diocese’s offices are a few yards away.

        It also has strong links to the government. When 9/11 happened. there was a service in the Cathedral a few days later. The funerals for Presidents Ford and Reagan were held there. There are statues of Washington and Lincoln at the rear of the nave, and Woodrow Wilson and his wife are buried there.

        The proper name of the cathedral is “The Cathedral Church of St. Peter and St. Paul.”

        1. I understand what you are saying, and I appreciate it.

          I guess I object to the militarism the “flag” puts on faith. What I look for is for the church to influence the government to look for peace, for people to be comforted. I do not see the church as a place to rally a nation for war, or to assert that faith in Christ must be marked by a fervent Patriotism to government.

          In fundystan, the church looks to use government as a tool to bend other people to its will. This is not supposed to be the aim of Christianity, at least from what I read in the Scripture.

          So I suppose my discomfort is somewhat from how I have seen patriotic concepts used in the church.

    1. Are you sure it’s a linear scale? I think it is probably asymptotic, probably fitting a simple log.

  16. rtgmath, you’re very correct. I hated it when Nixon usurped the American flag to support his policies and his politics.

    The National Cathedral is very, very sensitive to the peace issue. They often host seminars, etc on this topic.

    The normal Sunday services do not feature a flag.

  17. The kid to the right of the songleader is the only one who actually looks like a cowboy — lean, steely eyed, hat pulled low. The rest just look lost. Bewildering mix of cowboy and military, I love the funds discipline at the end — absolutely no clapping permitted.

  18. Well, that was different. Joking aside, the bible does use military metaphors, and there really isn’t anything wrong with paying a decent respect to the virtues of the cowboy or the good soldier as long as men are not unduly exalted. The issue I would take with things of this sort is that sometimes there seems to be some confusion as to whether we’re rendering unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s or rendering unto God that which is God’s. When a religious meeting starts to resemble a political rally, a Fourth of July parade, or a square dance, you may have a serious problem on your hands. Whatever you think about having “cowboy’s” singing at a vacation bible school, however; that “cowboy/soldier” mix with a “pledge of allegience to the bible thrown in would strike most people as pretty strange if nothing else.

    A number of years ago, I was asked to write some lyrics for possible use by a country/western musician at a charity event that sort of had a cowboy theme. To the best of my knowledge though, none of those attending were under the impression that they were going to a church service. Alas, neither set of lyrics were used 😉

  19. For what it’s worth (probably nothing) here’s the latest revision of one of the sets of lyrics:

    My mother died of cancer
    When I was just fifteen.
    And as for Dad, well let’s just say, we didn’t see eye to eye.
    October 3rd of ’53, the day I turned eighteen,
    I caught a bus to Texas, didn’t even say goodbye.

    I took work on a ranch because I needed room and board.
    I thought about my parents and I’d never been so tired.
    I was bawling like a baby when I saw him riding up,
    And when he looked right through me, I was sure that I was fired.

    I never knew a tougher man, but ‘neath that leather hide
    Pumped a heart as big as Texas
    Like an oil well inside.
    His spine was tempered steel,
    but I’d really have to say,
    The compassion of a cowboy
    made the difference that day.

    He said, “You’re looking inside, Son, it’s time that you looked up.
    Until I lost my wife and baby, I thought I was tough.
    That’s when I trusted Jesus, I just never felt the need,
    But when all that’s left is what you are, sometimes that ain’t enough.”

    He taught me how to rope and ride, and how to brand a calf.
    Now I got pretty good, but then I’m not much one to boast.
    I learned to be a cowboy, but of all the things he taught,
    Integrity and honor are the two I value most.

    There ain’t no little people and there ain’t no little jobs.
    And never do in darkness what would shame you in the day.
    And when you give your word, you’d best be sure to follow through.
    And a man without a nickel can give himself away.

    A preacher gave a message about the love of God
    As I sat there in the pew last Sunday morning with my wife.
    I’ve heard sermons on this subject, but the one I best recall
    Was the flesh and blood example of a Texas cowboy’s life.

    I never knew a tougher man, but ‘neath that leather hide
    Pumped a heart as big as Texas, like an oil well inside.
    He’s been gone for many years now, but the spirit lives today
    Of a tough old Texas cowboy who gave himself away.

    1. I like this! This is how cowboy songs do gospel music. Cowboy songs often tell a story, so the genre lends itself well to testimonies set to music.

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