About six months ago, I took a look at songs about Texas towns – “Amarillo by Morning,” “Galveston,” “La Grange,” “Streets of Laredo,” “China Grove,” etc. Now I figure, why not just do Texas? Let’s talk about songs that show their love for Texas in a Texas-sized way – paying homage to the whole state and her irresistible charms.
So this would leave out songs like those already mentioned, and also those that have Texas in the title, but are either primarily instrumental songs or have no specific lyrics of Texas praise or adoration. Much as I love Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “Texas Flood,” it doesn’t qualify here. Neither does “The Yellow Rose of Texas,” since it is a song about loving one incredible Texas woman, but not the state.
We must begin, I suppose, with our official state song, “Texas, Our Texas,” written in 1924, by William Marsh, a British immigrant from Liverpool.
Another early classic would have to be “Deep in the Heart of Texas,” written in 1941 and first recorded by Perry Como. But probably the best-known version is this one by Gene Autry.
Just a few years later, Ernest Tubb gave us another classic that could have been used by The Texas Travel Bureau as their theme song; “There’s a Little Bit of Everything in Texas.” Willie Nelson covered it in 1993.
In 1975, The Charlie Daniels Band released its Texas anthem simply titled. “Texas,” on the album “Nightrider.”
Sometimes we show how much we love something by how much we miss it – by how much we long for it. That’s what George Strait did in “Can’t See Texas From Here,” from his 1982 album, “Strait from the Heart.” And I believe it was.
Gary P. Nunn gave us “London Homesick Blues,” which is hard not to put on the list. But from the same 1984 album, “Home With the Armadillo,” we get “What I Like About Texas.” That’s dead solid perfect. Bet Gary hadn’t had to pay for a Beltbuster or Blizzard since 1984.
I first heard the song “Texas” by the British singer Chris Rea while driving across west Texas in 1989, appropriately under a big yellow moon, on Highway 90 south of Van Horn, a road that goes on forever.
And you certainly know “God Blessed Texas,” which has been ubiquitous since its release more than 25 years ago, believe it or not. It’s by Little Texas.
Vince Gill sang “I’ll Take Texas” in 1998. And his song did indeed take Texas by storm.
We wrap up our list appropriately with Miranda Lambert, with “Texas Pride,” from 2001. And that’s an ideal title, because her first professional singing gig was with the Texas Pride Band.
That’s my list. What’s on yours?
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Stories From Texas. UTRGV Digital Library, The University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley