Thursday, June 21, 2007


A black country band?

Cowboy Soul are just that. Some might call these guys the worst kind of Uncle Tom sell-outs. But I think they're keepin' it real, dawg: as we discussed back on the Cowboy Troy post (see the comments), an examination of early American folk music shows plenty of back-and-forth between black musicians and their hillbilly neighbors. The music industry's practice of segregation created the artificial distinction between blues, cowboy and hillbilly styles, or, as the music biz renamed them "race" and "country/western" musics.

From Leadbelly's "I Am A Western Cowboy," to Ray Charles, Charlie Pride, and Los Angeles' own Cowboy Soul, black folks keep butting into country music whether it likes it or not. It's still weird, though, seeing five bruthas, including one in dreads, sporting cowboy hats, string ties and vests, and singing country songs. I just saw these guys today as part of downtown LA's Pershing Square free summer concert series (how's this for rapid reporting, folks?) and I can assure you - they're no joke. No "crossover" rap or drum machine songs, no gimmicky novelties. Just straight-ahead gee-tar twang.

Cowboy Soul - "Worse 20 Minutes": Funny, and quite catchy actually.


Private Beach said...

In real history, not the Hollywood version, many cowboys were black.

Anonymous said...

Yeah,like one of every six!!!