The Texas 20: Our “official” songs from the Lone Star state

Some radio DJs here in Houston had an intriguing bit going a few weeks ago: they wanted listeners to nominate an official state rock song for Texas. Apparently Ohio did that recently, and its official state rock song is now “Hang On Sloopy.” Go figure.

Anyway, listeners of Dean and Rog (on KGLK-FM, “The Eagle”) could choose from a short list of a few songs each from ZZ Top, Buddy Holly, Stevie Ray Vaughan and the Fabulous Thunderbirds … and their winner was the Top’s “La Grange.” Official rock song for the entire state of Texas? Hmmm, maybe. To make the song truly official, Dean and Rog now have to get the Texas legislature to buy into that – I’m not sure lawmakers are gonna go for a tune about a whorehouse.

But it got me to thinkin’: Texas is a pretty big place.  Its music encompasses not only rock and roll, but blues, country, Tex-Mex and even a little Cajun from our nice neighbors to the east. Why stop at just one official state rock song? Why not have an entire album of “official” songs for the big ol’ Lone Star state?

We recently listed our choices for best party albums from Texas acts, a Texas Top 10 list and some songs about Houston; surely the official album for the state would consist of songs from many of those acts.  Should the song be specifically about Texas, or should it embody a bit of the spirit of the place? Maybe a few of both.

And our album would feature only artists who are from Texas – although tunes like “China Grove” by the Doobie Brothers or “Houston” by Dean Martin are pretty cool.  And even though a song like “Me and Bobby McGee” (written and sung by two fine Texans) doesn’t really have much to do with the Lone Star state,  a classic line like “Freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose” could have been the battle cry for those guys at the Alamo.  We need to include some hip-hop from the trill Port Arthur gang, and maybe even instead of Robert Earl Keen’s oft-played “The Party Never Ends” perhaps we’ll look for another selection from him.

So you see, this isn’t going to make much sense on many levels.  This is a purely subjective exercise, so feel free to suggest and/or substitute your own favorites.  Apologies to Roy Orbison, Marcia Ball, Guy Clark, Townes Van Zandt and Alejandro Escovedo – next time!

Now let’s assemble our Texas-centric “official” state album, 20 songs that sample from the gumbo of musical styles that this great state has to offer.

MP3: “What I Like About Texas” by Jerry Jeff Walker

MP3: “Good Texan” by the Vaughan Brothers

MP3: “Screw You, We’re From Texas” by Ray Wylie Hubbard

MP3: “Rave On” by Buddy Holly & the Crickets

MP3: “Car Wheels (On A Gravel Road)” by Lucinda Williams

MP3: “Luckenbach, Texas” by Waylon Jennings & Willie Nelson

MP3: “(That’s Right) You’re Not From Texas” by Lyle Lovett

MP3: “New San Antonio Rose” by Bob Wills & the Texas Playboys

MP3: “Dallas” by Joe Ely

MP3: “Put It Down” by Bun B featuring Drake

MP3: “Mojo Hand” by Lightnin’ Hopkins

MP3: “Asshole From El Paso” by Kinky Friedman

MP3: “A State Of Texas” by the Old 97s

MP3: “Merry Christmas From The Family” by Robert Earl Keen

MP3: “Me and Bobby McGee” (alternate take) by Janis Joplin

MP3: “Down At Antone’s” by the Fabulous Thunderbirds

MP3: “Telephone Road” by Steve Earle w/the Fairfield Four

MP3: “La Grange” (live) by ZZ Top

MP3: “She’s About A Mover” (live) by the Sir Douglas Quintet

MP3: “London Homesick Blues” by Gary P. Nunn w/Jerry Jeff Walker & the Lost Gonzo Band

6 Responses to “The Texas 20: Our “official” songs from the Lone Star state”

  1. Big Balls in Cowtown? If I were going to pick one Texas song, it would be “Bob Wills Is Still The King.”

  2. Thanks for the very tasty Texas tracks



  3. for me it’s Eyes of Texas Are Upon You – The University of Texas Band, but never in front of my Aggie dad.

  4. 30daysout Says:

    We hear you brother …

  5. What about Amarillo by Morning? Thunderstruck?

  6. Maybe next year, or the next case of Lone Star.

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