My song today is ‘You’re Looking at Country’. This country music song was written and made famous by Loretta Lynn in 1971. The song peaked at Number 5 on ‘Billboard Hot Country Songs; and reached Number 1 on the Canadian ‘Country Tracks Chart’ on RPM.
In the 1980 motion picture biography of Lynn, ‘Coal Miner’s Daughter’ Sissy Spacek (who plays Loretta) sings "You're Lookin' At Country" during a concert twice in the film. Spacek sang Lynn's hits herself and later won her an ‘Academy Award’ for doing so. Decca Records released Lynn's song in May 1971. "You're Lookin' at Country" peaked at Number 5 on Billboard’s ‘Hot Country Singles’ chart in mid-1971, and an album of the same name was released.
Between 1963-65, I lived in Canada, and whenever I was able to, I would travel to one of the US states. For around three months I worked on the ‘Canadian Pacific Railways’ as a restaurant server on the 3-day each-way long-distance runs. The wage was poor, but it paid for my weekly flat accommodation and I also got to see lots of wide-open countrysides free of charge while I worked. We would have a night stopover on all of the long runs, that could be anywhere between two and six days on return journeys.
Let me just say, that in my modest experience from the few brief romantic associations I had with cowgirls that it mattered not how pretty they were, or how rich for that matter, they were not women to be messed with (that is unless they were into a bit of rough and tumble). Most of them wore jeans unless they were prettied up for a dance, and the only way one got any close-up look at the legs that filled their Denim was if she came on to you; otherwise, you stayed on your own private territory and did not stray beyond any areas she placed off-limits.
For nine months of my time in Canada, I worked the night shifts as a receptionist at an upmarket hotel. I had the financial security of a sizable amount of compensation that I had come into at the age of 11 years following a serious traffic accident, but which I could not access until I reached the age of 21 years. My monthly wage paid my accommodation costs and work expenses and left me a bit of spending money over. During my Canadian residence, I used the compensation money as a financial safety cushion, as well as paying for my travelling cost. Whenever it could be arranged, I would take a long weekend (usually a four-day long spell) and travel. My whole aim of going to Canada was to be able to travel extensively and see and experience as much as I could as a single man before I returned to England after I had shaken the wander lust off my boots. Only then, was this young man prepared to settle down into a life of domesticity and consider marriage and parenthood. I considered thirty to be an ideal marrying age. Until then, life was for the living of it as far as I was concerned, and I was determined to live it to the full.
One woman (about six years older than me) who passed through our hotel lived at Longview in the Province of Alberta. Alberta is geographically sandwiched in between the provinces of Saskatchewan and British Columbia, with the North West Territories to its north. It is the fourth largest province in Canada, and having lived and worked in two of the other three largest provinces (Quebec and Ontario), I was naturally interested to visit this area. The other of the ‘large four provinces’ was Alberta’s neighbouring province of British Columbia.
The upshot was that while my lady friend resided at the hotel, we enjoyed a bit of a fling. She was the daughter of a rancher and although she wore ladylike clothes of high fashion whenever we went anywhere in Toronto, at home she was a typical cowgirl who was never out of denim and wore a Stetson and spurs. I never did get around to looking her up on my trip to Alberta as I got distracted on the way. I had travelled to Alberta previously when I worked on the ‘Canadian Pacific Railway’ (on the long runs) but had not been able to attend the famous ‘Calgary Rodeo’ at the time. On this occasion, I decided to phone in work, play a ‘sick card; and turn my 4-day absence from work into 6 days plus a Saturday and Sunday (making 8 days in total). This enabled me to attend the ‘Calgary Stampede Rodeo’. I stayed in Calgary overnight and all the taverns were filled to the brim with rodeo riders and visitors, all dressed up in their cowboy and cowgirl gear. I felt distinctly out of dress-code for the occasion and stuck out like a sore thumb.
Being a ‘limey’ (an American slang name for a British person), and with attractive features, I was always popular with the Canadian women, but in truth, I was very wary of which cowgirl I spoke with that night as I did not fancy tangling with any six-foot jealous cowboy manfriend who may have been stood at the bar ordering another jug of ale whilst keeping his eye on any man his woman talked to during his absence.
I was never quite able to conclude which of the terrible three was the most dangerous to tangle with, and which was the greatest ball-breaker? I would describe the Calgary cowgirls as being ‘ sexy and tough’, the Calgary cowboys as being ‘rough and tough’, and the steers they rode and corralled as just being ‘too horny and mean’ to let anyone ride them against their will when they had no desire to be ridden. In fact, come to think of it, the cowgirls and the steers could have shared the same description as each other!
Love and peace Bill xxx