Cattle Call

Time to limber up your rhymes for “Alamagordo”: the New Mexico House of Representatives passed a nonbinding memorial a couple of weeks ago asking the New Mexico Music Commission to sponsor a competition to compose a “State Cowboy Song.”

Now, New Mexico already has one of the better state songs, “O Fair New Mexico,” written by Elizabeth Garrett, the blind daughter of the guy who killed Billy the Kid. They also have a Spanish state song, Amadeo Lucero’s “Así a Nuevo Méjico” (which was adopted after the then-Lieutenant Governor sang it to the legislature in 1971). Then there’s the bilingual state song, “Mi Lindo Nuevo Mexico,” by Pablo Mores. Oh yeah, there’s also the state ballad, “Land of Enchantment,”, co-written by Michael Martin Murphey. But apparently, there’s a need for a cowboy song as well.

The language of the bill, introduced by Gloria Vaughn, is actually quite pragmatic:

WHEREAS, the members may be able to agree on declaring an official state cowboy song so long as the process for selecting such a song is less arbitrary than by a vote of a majority of the members of the legislature, whose tastes and musical abilities may vary….

Entries, though, will be limited to composers who either were born in the state or have lived there consecutively for twenty years. I’d consider that a prohibitively high entrance fee. Plus, it means I can’t nominate Doctor Atomic, about New Mexico’s wildest cowboy ever.

(Peruse the rest of “The Cowboy Rag.”)

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