Saturday, July 14, 2012

Friday Night at the Movies

I was searching through Netflix last night for something to watch and ran across Urban Cowboy. If I have ever watched the whole movie it has been 30 years. Parts of it I remembered, and parts of it were new, probably because I had never seen it before, except bits while channel surfing between commercial breaks.

One of the parts I didn't remember was the beginning, where a bearded Bud, Travolta's character, leaves the farm for the big city.  Something that is not really worked through the whole movie is that Bud is not an Urban Cowboy, but a Cowboy transplanted to the Urban. That puts a whole different spin on the way the movie plays out.

One scenes is still iconic- Debra Winger riding the mechanical bull for the second time really sticks with you. The interiors, shot at Gilley's, (once billed as the largest honky-tonk in the world)  treated the whole world to Texas Excess.

I've never been a real big fan of Travolta's. I have seen Grease a few times, but other than that I probably haven't seen a total of 30 minutes of his other movies, and probably couldn't name more than 2 or 3. But Urban Cowboy is special. For the soundtrack.

I have the 8-Track somewhere in the attic. I was stuck in the radio in my old T-bird for a month back in the day, and I must have heard it a thousand times that month. Mickey Gilley, of course; Johnny Lee, Charlie Daniels, Kenny Rogers and the Eagles, just to name a few. A veritable whos-who of late 70's music.

Even last night I was focused more on the music that I was the movie. the songs that formed the background for the movie were also the soundtrack of my life in 1980. Each was as familiar as an old friend, and brought back another memory.

Well, except one. A song I heard last night for the first time; it wasn't on my 8-Track. The 8-Track held about 10 songs, and there are 18 in the album. As soon as I heard the song I knew who the artist was, even though I had never heard the song before. I was only mildly surprised to hear him; 1980 was probably his biggest year, as far as establishment music goes. He had just had a hit song that was played everywhere- Pop, Country and Rock radio all had that one song in their playlists, and still do today.

Yes, in the movie the Urban Cowboy was that grand purveyor of drunk, Caribbean rock and rock and the Mayor of Margarita-ville himself, Jimmy Buffet.

Who knew?

Well, I guess I would have, if I would have sat through the Urban Cowboy 30 years ago.

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