Friday Five: Horseracing
Tomorrow is the 138th Kentucky Derby. Put on an ostentatious hat and get ready for the Run for the Roses with these songs. (It’s not the Friday Six, but you can’t go wrong with adding Tim O’Brien’s “Hoss Race” to your Derby Day playlist.)
5. Johnny Cash, “Camptown Races”
It’s a good thing the Kentucky Derby is the greatest two minutes in sports: if the horses were “going to run all night/going to run all day” the stands would be littered with the prone bodies of spectators who didn’t pace their mint julep consumption.
“Skewball” is a traditional British folksong based on a racing horse from the mid-1700s. American artists like Lead Belly, Woody Guthrie, and Cisco Houston altered the name and changed the setting to the States in their versions.
This fantastic story song about Depression-era jockeys from Cleaves’ Wishbones is based on a true story.
Here’s another one about real horses—Mollie McCarty and Ten Broeck—but the song takes more than a few creative liberties: Mollie didn’t die. Also, I’m pretty sure the horses didn’t talk to each other during the race.
Jones co-wrote this song, which topped out at #3 on the country charts in 1964. Don’t go placing any bets with the Possum: the winner loses all.
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