Friday Five: Texas Towns

Ken Morton, Jr. | April 23rd, 2010

Just because everything is bigger in Texas doesn’t mean that today’s Friday Five will be a Friday Six. Rules are rules. This edition of the Friday Five, however, will have a uniquely Lone Star State type of feel–five songs that deal with Texas towns.

Josh Abbott Band’s brand new single, “She’s Like Texas” got my head spinning on this subject and, truly, this list could be about as wide as the state itself. Abbott’s song calls out five different Texas cities but, alas, it didn’t have a reference to a town in the title so it was left off of this play list. Bands that included references to the great state and towns like Little Texas, Houston County and LoneStar were left out as well. This is all about the towns of Texas. How else would any of us non-Texas natives know where “Luckenbach, Texas” is?

Some other honorable mentions included “San Antonio Rose” by Patsy Cline, “Houston, We Have A Problem” by Joe Diffie and “Ballad Of The Alamo” by Asleep At The Wheel. What’s your favorite song referencing a Texas town?

  • Gunfighter Ballads And Trail Songs5. “El Paso” – Marty Robbins

    If there’s a moral from this famous country tune, it’s that Mexican girls named Felina can be very bad for your health. Robbins’ protagonist flees Rosa’s Cantina in El Paso, Texas for the safety of New Mexico after he shoots and kills a young cowboy who was flirting with his woman. Robbins’ character rides back to town knowing his fate, but hopeful that he’ll get one last kiss before he’s killed by the marshals. Couldn’t Felina have just taken the trip to New Mexico?

  • The Essential Gene Autry4. “Dallas County Jail Blues” – Gene Autry

    Outside of Lee Harvey Oswald–who was shot on his way to this jail back in November of 1963–Gene Autry’s character is probably having the second worst day in Dallas history. When Autry began his recording his career, he tackled some “blue yodel” style songs that had been made popular by Jimmie Rodgers. Here, he yodels away the blues right there in the Dallas County Jail. It was written and recorded way back in 1931.

  • George Strait's Greatest Hits3. “Amarillo By Morning” – George Strait

    They took his saddle in Houston and broke his leg in Santa Fe. He lost his wife and a girlfriend somewhere along the way. Everything that he’s got is just what he’s got on. He’s broke and busted–physically and financially. Even still, wouldn’t anyone with even half their senses trade spots with Mr. Strait in about half a millisecond?

  • Greatest Hits: Mark Chesnutt2. “Goin’ Through The Big D” – Mark Chesnutt

    Mark Chesnutt channels his inner Jerry Reed ala “She Got The Gold Mine (I Got The Shaft)” and bemoans the fact that he’s getting a divorce instead of making a nice friendly visit to Dallas. He’s still paying on a two bedroom subdivision house with multi-colored waterproof vinyl flooring that he put in after they married, according to the lyrics. That’s probably the reason she divorced him in the first place–girls like stone or hardwood. Just saying.

  • 20 Greatest Hits1. “Galveston” – Glen Campbell

    “Galveston,” written by Jimmy Webb (who also wrote Campbell’s “Wichita Lineman”), describes a solider dreaming of coming home from war to the girl of his dreams in the town of Galveston.

    Ironically, it was taken as a Vietnam War protest song when it was released in 1969, when Webb is on record that he was writing about a love-longing soldier in the Spanish-American War. That’s only nine decades off. Somewhere, my high school history teacher is muttering something about horseshoes and hand grenades.

1 Ping

  1. [...] the years, Friday Fives have covered songs about Florida, Texas and California. Today, we turn our attention to the great state of Arkansas. Before we count down [...]
  1. Howard
    April 23, 2010 at 11:12 am

    Gotta love Texas city songs.
    (Is Anybody Going To) San Antone – Doug Sahm
    Houston – Dean Martin
    A Town Blues – Wayne Hancock

  2. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 11:22 am

    (Is Anybody Going To) San Antone – Doug Sahm


    That’s almost as bad as “‘San Antonio Rose’ by Patsy Cline.”

  3. Paul W Dennis
    April 23, 2010 at 11:30 am

    “Luckenbach Texas” – Waylon Jennings
    Lubboch In My Rear-view Mirror – Mac Davis
    Houston (Means I’m One Day Closer To You – Larry Gatlin

    El Paso City – Marty Robbins
    San Angelo – Marty Robbins
    Dallas – Jimmie Dale Gilmore

  4. Paul W Dennis
    April 23, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Plus a song written by my friend Lou Rochelle – “There’s Still A Lot of Love In San Antone”

  5. PaulaW
    April 23, 2010 at 11:36 am

    There are so many great ones that qualify …. but I certainly can find no fault with the five Ken chose. All quite excellent choices.

  6. Sam G.
    April 23, 2010 at 11:43 am

    If you’ve got to include a Dallas song, I’d take The Flatlanders’ “Dallas” over Chesnutt’s song.

  7. Stormy
    April 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    Alan Jackson also had a pretty good Dallas song.

  8. Janice
    April 23, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I love this kind of list…

    Emmylou Harris’ “Amarillo” and Strait’s “Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind” would be on my list, too.

    And “Houston Solution” by Ronnie Milsap. This list might be unending.

  9. Kelly
    April 23, 2010 at 12:38 pm

    Jon – “face-palming” a song by Doug Sahm pretty much confirms to me everything I’ve ever thought about the opinions you’ve expressed on this site (hint: not a whole hell of a lot)…

    Amarillo by Morning is a classic, but I would’ve added Lovett’s “That’s Right, You’re Not From Texas” on here. And, I’m very happy that the insanely lame Abbott song you referenced didnt make it onto the list for any further spot-lighting…

  10. Leeann Ward
    April 23, 2010 at 12:56 pm

    Ooph…I can hardly stand that Chesnutt song.

  11. PaulaW
    April 23, 2010 at 12:58 pm

    And ‘All My Exes Live In Texas’ mentions Abilene, Texarkana, Galveston, and Temple.

  12. Paul
    April 23, 2010 at 1:19 pm

    Emmylou’s “Amarillo” is definitely a good one, and Strait’s “Amarillo by Morning” just can’t be outdone.

    Nice to be reminded of the other good songs on the list.

  13. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 1:22 pm

    Kelly, apparently my comment about the “San Antonio Rose” attribution wasn’t a broad enough hint for you. Calling “Is Anybody Going To San Antone” a Doug Sahm song is like calling “Calling Baton Rouge” a Garth Brooks song, or “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry” a B. J. Thomas song, or calling “Coat Of Many Colors” a Shania Twain song, only even less excusable, since the version that Mr. Sahm covered years later was, in fact, a much bigger hit than his ever was. My only regret is that I seem to have wasted said *facepalm* on the first dumbness in that regard, instead of saving it for the more aggressive and insulting – but not one whit less dumb – comment that followed. My bad.

  14. Ollie
    April 23, 2010 at 1:38 pm


    I’ll Be Your San Antone Rose- Emmylou Harris
    Fort Worth Blues- Steve Earle, Guy Clark

  15. t.scott
    April 23, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    I’m with you Kelly

  16. Michelle
    April 23, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    “Amarillo Sky” by Jason Aldean. Go ahead and shoot me! “Galveston” deserved to be #1, though.

  17. Howard
    April 23, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Hi ya Jon,

    I’m not too big on getting in back and forths on comment pages, but…
    It doesn’t really take a music historian to know that Doug Sahm did not right the song. That is fairly common knowledge. I simply like his version more than any other.
    Since you mention Patsy, I could just as easily call ‘crazy’ one of her great songs, even though…

  18. PaulaW
    April 23, 2010 at 2:02 pm

    “Amarillo Sky” by Jason Aldean. Go ahead and shoot me!

    ‘Amarillo Sky’ is a great song and Jason did a really good job on it. I prefer McBride And The Ride’s version though.

  19. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 2:08 pm

    It doesn’t really take a music historian to know that Doug Sahm did not right the song. That is fairly common knowledge.

    But apparently that he wasn’t the first to record it, nor that it’s associated with another artist in the minds of millions of “real” country music fans isn’t. Which, in my opinion, is too bad.

    I simply like his version more than any other.

    Well, that’s cool. But that’s like a Shania Twain fan saying that she liked her version of “Coat Of Many Colors” more than any other, it would still be a little ignorant to call it a Shania Twain song and leave it at that.

  20. Howard
    April 23, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Regardless of the context, to remotely compare Doug to Shania just seems kind of wrong.
    In fact I do feel it is common knowledge that Charlie Pride was the first to do well with the song. For some reason you seem to imply that it is a Pride song, when in fact he also did not write it.
    Songs become associated with an artist, to me this song is associated with Doug. If not the same for you, that’s cool. Just don’t be going off on my taste/knowledge of ‘real’ country without any grounds mate.

  21. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Dude, 999 out of 1000 “real” country fans will reply with “Charley Pride” (that, BTW, is how he spells his name, not “Charlie”) when asked who did “Is Anybody Going To San Antone.” And the odds are overwhelming that Doug Sahm would never have heard, much less recorded the song, without Charley Pride. So credit where credit’s due, please.

  22. Howard
    April 23, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    Ha, yea sorry about the name spelling, I am a bigger Charlie Walker fan than I am a Charley Pride fan so a mental slip there.
    Anyway it’s a good song, no? Let’s leave at that(I would argue your numbers though depending on the age of the ‘real’ country fans polled…)

  23. Kelly
    April 23, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Jon, regardless of who wrote the song, or why Sahm chose to record it, the song clearly is both Pride AND Sahm song. It doesnt have to belong to one artist. Sahm gave the song a unique “Sahm-like” spin and many many people enjoy his version over the original.

    I cant imagine many folks would have a problem accpeting that “Sunday Morning Coming Down” is both a Kristofferson song as well as a Johnny Cash song. Sure, a case can be made to say it “belongs” to one over the other, but why even make that argument?

  24. Michelle
    April 23, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    PAULAW, forgot all about “McBride And The Ride.” Awesome band, and I loved ‘em!

  25. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 3:10 pm

    When you’re pointing to a song that merits inclusion on a list based on subject matter, the only sensible thing to do is to identify it in the way most likely to elicit recognition from readers and in the way most consonant with the history of the song. And when it comes to “Is Anybody Going To San Antone,” that means ID’ing it with Charley Pride’s name. Period. Dave Kirby and Glenn Martin wrote it, Charley Pride had a huge hit with it, and then after that, a bunch of other people covered it, and one of the folks in that long list of people who got it from Charley Pride is Doug Sahm. You might as well have put “‘Is Anybody Going to San Antone’ – Nat Stuckey.” If you Texas music types have a problem with that, it’s about time you got over it.

  26. TexasVet
    April 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Does anyone know if George Hamilton IV’s 1963 hit “Abilene” was about Abilene, TX or Abilene, KS?

  27. Kelly
    April 23, 2010 at 3:25 pm

    Jon, sounds like you are the one in need of getting over something, as you gave the original, misguided facepalm. For me, it’s a Doug Sahm song. Period. That doesnt take away the versions or contributions of others, it simply is a statement to how I connected with the song.

    Also, your limited view of my taste in music, or what “type” I am, is as narrow as your stance on this topic has proven to be.

  28. Jon
    April 23, 2010 at 4:15 pm


  29. Michelle
    April 23, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    TEXASVET, the writers had neither in mind, but just liked the way “Abilene” sounded in the lyrics. Both states claims it’s about theirs, though. That’s just what I’ve read, so who knows.

  30. Nicolas
    April 23, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    “Is Fort Worth Worth It” by Terri Clark
    “Lubbock or Leave It” by Dixie Chicks

    I love those! <3

  31. Michelle
    April 23, 2010 at 5:57 pm

    Oh, oh, oh, “Austin” by Blake Shelton! I LOVE that song!! I always thought “Austin” was his lovers name, but I just read, on Wikipedia, that it’s his lovers place of residence.

  32. Bob
    April 23, 2010 at 6:06 pm

    Hal Ketchum – She’s Still In Dallas
    Kathy Mattea – She Came From Fort Worth
    Mary Chapin – Houston
    Phil Vassar – Houston
    Little Texas – Amy’s Back in Austin
    Big House – Amarillo

  33. Rick
    April 23, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Don’t forget about the old 1930’s swing song “Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas” as Dumas, Texas needs all the recognition it can get! (lol)

    Also “Big Ball’s In Cowtown” is about Dallas/Ft. Worth right? Hmm…

    (No need for a face palm Jon, I realize these songs are not about the actual cities themselves but its fun to toss in my two bits worth.)

  34. Aaron
    April 23, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    La Grange by Tracy Byrd???

  35. Rick
    April 23, 2010 at 6:36 pm

    Or better yet Aaron, “La Grange” by ZZ Top where they got a lot of nice girls (for hire)…

  36. Scooter
    April 23, 2010 at 9:41 pm

    Fort Worth I love you – Michael Murphey

    I Don’t Care What It Is That You Did When You Lived In Fort Worth – Cornell Hurd Band

    South of Round Rock Texas- Dale Watson

    Does Fort Worth Ever Cross Your Mind – George Strait

  37. Steve M.
    April 24, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    I can’t believe no one has mentioned Robert Earl Keane’a “Corpus Christi Bay”, my favorite REK song. And even though Lubbock isn’t in its title, Mac Davis’ “Texas in my Rear View Mirror” captures what many people I know feel about the city.

  38. Ben Milam
    April 25, 2010 at 12:35 am

    have another beer steve m.

  39. Anna K
    April 25, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Dallas Days/Fort Worth Nights – Chris LeDoux

    I’d put major upvotes on “Amarillo by Morning”.

    Not really a fan of the Mark Chesnutt song, but the rest of the list is awesome.

  40. Lori
    April 26, 2010 at 7:57 am

    James McMurtry’s “Levelland”

  41. luckyoldsun
    April 26, 2010 at 8:09 am

    One of the great Texas location songs is Robert Earl Keane’s “Corpus Christi Bay.”:
    “If I could live my life all over,
    It wouldn’t matter anyway”

    Johnny Rodriguez did a great cover that’s probably the defintive version.

    The Mark Chesnutt song is fine, but it isn’t really about Dallas. As far as I remember, the only reference in the whole song to the city or state is the line: “I’m going through the Big D and DON’T mean Dallas.”

  42. Brad
    April 26, 2010 at 1:07 pm

    First few that come to mind that have a city/town/specific place in the title:

    Amarillo Highway-Terry Allen
    Corpus Christi Bay-Robert Earl Keen
    Dallas-The Flatlanders
    Dallas-Doug Moreland
    Devil Lives in Dallas-Rusty Wier
    Baytown-Drew Kennedy
    Loving County-Charlie Robison
    Walls of Huntsville-Cross Canadian Ragweed
    Feeling Port Aransas-Phil Pritchett
    When I Hit San Antone-Owen Temple
    Copano Bay-Randy Rogers Band
    Travis County-Jack Ingram

  43. Sue
    April 26, 2010 at 5:51 pm

    Little Texas- God Bless Texas
    Tanya Tucker- When I Die I May Not Go To Heaven

    Don’t forget these.

  44. Michelle
    August 30, 2010 at 7:50 pm

    One of the newest ones is “The Boys of Fall” by Kenny Chesney. I’m proud to say that the team that dominates the video are the Celina Bobcats- 2 State Records, 8 State Championships, 68 Game Winning Streak, and 25 Consecutive Playoff Games. We are very proud of our town and our teams. We were all thrilled when the video came out to see that our boys were all over it! The song is a really good one, but don’t miss the video. We have 5000 in our town and when I graduated 20 years ago I only had 40 people in my Senior Class, yet we’ve continued to be a legend in Texas. We’re in the Orange and White.

    Please don’t knock our kids on here because they are so excited and Google comments about the song. Enjoy!!

  45. Michelle
    August 30, 2010 at 7:51 pm

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