WEST TEXAS SONGS HALL OF FAME

Top 10 Songs related to West Texas

#1 “Amarillo By Morning”

Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone,
everything that I’ve got, is just what I’ve got on.
When that sun is high in that Texas sky
I’ll be bucking at the county fair,
Amarillo by morning…Amarillo, I’ll be there.
They took my saddle in Houston, broke my leg
in Santa Fe. Lost my wife and girlfriend
somewhere along the way. I’ll be looking
for an 8 when they pull that gate
and I hope that judge ain’t blind.
Amarillo by morning…Amarillo’s on my mind.
Amarillo by morning, up from San Antone,
Everything that I’ve got is just what I’ve got on.
I ain’t got a dime but what I’ve got is mine
I ain’t rich but Lord I’m free
Amarillo by morning…Amarillo is where I’ll be.

Words and music by Terry Stafford who was raised in Amarillo graduating from Pala Duro High School. Terry’s original version reached #31 on the Country Charts in 1973. George Straight would discover the song in 1983 making it his most famous recording along with being named #12 on CMT’s “Best Country Songs of All Time”.

Terry Stafford hit big in 1964 with an Elvis cover of “Suspicion” that reached #3 in the Billboard Top 100 single charts.

#2 “Wide Open Spaces”

Who doesn’t know what I’m talking about
Who’s never left home, never struck out
To find a dream and a life of their own
A place in the clouds, a foundation of stone.

Many precede and many will follow
A young girl’s dream no longer hollow
It takes the shape of a place out West
But what it holds for her, she hasn’t yet guessed

She needs wide open spaces
Room to make her big mistakes
She needs new faces
She knows the high stakes

Words and music by Susan Gibson of Amarillo. “Wide Open Spaces” has been considered an example of the influence of West Texas influence in country music songwriting. Susan herself considers Amarillo to be where ‘Wide open spaces are with beautiful sunsets”.

Lloyd Maines of Lubbock was responsible for getting the song to his daughter, Natalie, lead singer of the Dixie Chicks who took it to #1 in the country field. The song became the Dixie Chicks signature song being popular with teens. It became the title track on their Diamond (10 million sales) LP Award, CMA Single of the Year, with Gibson receiving the American Songwriter of the Year award along with the LP receiving a Grammy. Susan Gibson continues to perform as both a single act and with groups.

#3 “Abilene”

Abilene, Abilene Prettiest town I’ve ever seen
Folks down there don’t treat you mean
In Abilene, my Abilene

I sit alone most every night
Watch them trains roll of sight
Wish that they were carrying me
To Abilene, my Abilene

Crowded city, ain’t nothin’ free
Nothin’ in this town for me
Wish to God that I could be
In Abilene, my Abilene

Words and music by George Hamilton IV. The song was recorded by George Hamilton IV in 1963 reaching #1 in the country field. George has had 35 charted country hits that include “West Texas Highway” #23 in 1971 and 11 pop hits with “A Rose And A Baby Ruth” RIAA Certified Gold.

“Abilene” produced by Chet Atkins crossed over into the pop field at #15. Hamilton is a member of the Grande Ole Opry and once toured with Buddy Holly.

#4 “Texas In My Rear View Window”

I was just 15 and out of control
lost to James Dean and Rock-n-Roll
I knew down in my country soul had to get away.
And Hollywood was a lady in red
Who danced in my dreams as I tossed in bed
I knew I’d wind up in jail or dead
if I have to stay.

I thought happiness was Lubbock in my rear view mirror
My mama kept calling me home but I just did not want to hear her
And the vision kept getting’ closer in my dreams.

So I laid out one night in June
stoned on the glow of the Texas moon
hummin’ an old Buddy Holly tune called Peggy Sue
With my favorite jeans and a cheap guitar
I ran off chasin’ a distant star
If Buddy Holly could make it that far
I figured I could too

But the Hollywood moon didn’t smile the same
old smile I’d grown up with as
the lady in red just wanted my last dime
And I cried myself to sleep at night
Too dumb to run too scared to fight
And too proud to admit it at the time
So I got me some gigs on Saturday nights
not much more than orchestrated fights

Well, I thank God each and everyday
for giving me the music and the words to say
I’d have never made it any other way
he was my only friend
And now I sleep a little better at night
and when I look in the mirror in the mornin’ light
the man I see was both wrong and right
and he’s going home again

I guess happiness was Lubbock in my rear view mirror
but now happiness is Lubbock Texas growing nearer and dearer
and the vision is gettin’ clearer in my dreams
I think finally I know what it means
And when I die you can bury me in Lubbock Texas in my jeans

Words and music by prolific songwriter Mac Davis born in Lubbock, Texas. The song, performed by Mac Davis, reached #9 on the country charts in 1980.

#5 “I’m a Tool Pusher From Snyder”

I’ve got a gal in Snyder she’s a whole lot like the town
She’s bigger than she was a year ago and she’s had her ups and downs
I know she’ll never marry me but she’s not duty bound
She says that all I can talk about is 10 miles under ground

Oh, it’s oil I’m after that’s why I’m drilling down
I’m a tool pusher from Snyder a little northwest of town
I’ve drilled in Beaumont, Kilgore, Borger and this is the best I’ve found
I’ll keep pushing on a rotary rig til I’m 6 feet under ground.

That gal’s all time complaining about a talk of a Christmas tree
That a drill stem test and a rotary rig don’t mean a thing to me
She thinks core-drilling is a navy term so what else could it be
She left a sailor boy in Houston and she threw her rig at me

Oh, it’s oil I’m after that’s why I’m drilling down
I’m a tool pusher from Snyder a little northeast of town
I’ve drilled in Gladewater, Midland, Tulsa and this is the best I’ve found
I’ll keep pushing on a rotary rig til I’m 6 feet under ground

I’ve drilled in California with a Ft Worth yo yo rig
Standard oil on Iranian soil where gals grow dark and big
I’ve drilled in old Wyoming for a pretty little western squaw
I’d made my home on the Teapot Dome if hadn’t been for her paw.
Oh, it’s oil I’m after that’s why I’m drilling down
I’m a tool pusher from, Snyder a little northwest of town
I’ve drilled in Hobbs and Amarillo and this is the best I’ve found
I’ll keep pushing on a rotary rig til I’m 6 feet under ground

Words and music by Slim Willet (Winston Lee Moore). Slim Willet’s first success at songwriting was “Pinball Millionaire” recorded by Hank Locklin and Gene O’Quin. Slim’s first release “Tool Pusher” in 1950 became popular across West Texas being played on country stations along with drawing its share of juke box nickels. Although Slim was a graduate from Hardin Simmons College in Abilene becoming a radio personality he took a real interest in the oil patch writing numerous humorous songs that would later be released on an album entitled “Texas Oil Patch Songs”. The cover features Slim around a drilling rig wearing a hard hat. In 1952 he hit the big time when Perry Como recorded his “Don’t Let The Stars Get In Your Eyes” staying 17 weeks in the top 10 selling a million copies. Over 100 other artists would record the song bringing in enough royalties where he bought a radio station in Abilene. Winston Lee Moore graduated from Clyde High School.

#6 “I’m A Ding Dong Daddy From Dumas”

Now, I know all, you all don’t know who I is
Because I just got here today
My hometown is a little town
Way down Dixie way

Now everybody down there from miles around
All calls me by my name
Now that I’m up here
In your big city
I sure wish you’d all do the same

Because I’m a ding dong daddy from Dumas
And you oughta see me do my stuff
I’m a ping pong pappa
from Hohner’s Corner
Oh, you oughta see me strut

Note: Numerous additional lyrics were added by different singers

Words and music by popular orchestra leader Phil Baxter who had visited Dumas, Texas on his way to Denver in the late 1920’s. When Phil Harris recorded the song then performing on the Jack Benny national radio show it put Dumas on the map. Other big names that recorded this novelty number included Louis Armstrong, Benny Goodman, Arthur Godfrey and Bob Wills. Phil Baxter was born in Navarro County Texas.

#7 El Paso

Out in the West Texas town of El Paso
I fell in love with a Mexican girl
Nighttime would find me in Rosa’s cantina
Music would play and Felina would whirl

Blacker than night were the eyes of Felina
Wicked and evil while casting a spell
My love was deep for this Mexican maiden
I was in love but in vain I could tell

One night a wild young cowboy came in
Wild as the West Texas wind
Dashing and daring,
A drink he was sharing
With wicked Felina,
The girl that I loved

So, in anger I challenged
His right to the love this maiden
Down went his hand for the gun that he wore

My challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat
The handsome young stranger lay dead on the floor

Words and music by Marty Robbins. An extremely well-crafted Grammy Hall of Fame ballad that reached #1 in Country and #1 in Pop in 1959. The song has around 15 verses making it one of the longest hit songs ever recorded.

#8 Tom Green County Fair

You know it’s funny how certain things stick with you through the years
like how it feels to be 10 years old at the county fair.

Hot dog stand, when you’re hungry, hot dogs smell so doggone grand
Hopping through the sawdust running with my brothers head to toe
we’re smiling at the Tom Green County Fair

Rodeo, Tom Green Fair’s got one fine rodeo
The cowboys are the greatest the clown he is so funny
You bust your britches laughing at the Tom Green County Fair

Ferris Wheel just like an airplane in the sky that’s how you feel
look down and see the people wave your arms and holler
Everybody’s grinning at the Tom Green County Fair

Well, a Sunday at the Fair can make a memory more valuable than gold
especially when you’re 10 years old.

Words and music by Dennis Linde. Dennis, born in Abilene and raised in San Angelo, wrote 18 BMI Award-Winning songs (one million air plays). His most famous song was “Burning Love” by Elvis. “Tom Green County Fair” was recorded by Roger Miller in 1970.

#9 Swell San Angelo

An eastern city was once my home, throughout the world this city is well known I thought it was the very best until I came out here in the west found out what these folks knew all along.
Out here where the lazy Concho flows there dwells a town known as Angelo. where folks meet and seldom part unless they just don’t have a heart that’s big enough for Swell San Angelo.
Swell San Angelo grandest place I know now I have roamed this wild over but now I will never move no more for I love you Swell San Angelo.

Now we have sheep, cattle and cotton too and the sun is always shining through we may not have a world of gold but we’ve got love right in our souls that’s what keeps us from all feeling blue.
Now when you’re tired of the world and all its woes and you’d like to give your heart a chance to grow just come on out here in the west then you’ll soon know all the rest about the town of Swell San Angelo.

Words and music by Ernest Tubb. Swell San Angelo was featured in his movie Hollywood Barn Dance in 1940. In his career E.T. had over 100 charted country songs with 60 reaching the Top 10.

#10 Texas 1947

Now bein’ 6 years old I had seen some trains before
So it’s hard to figure out what I’m at the depot for?

Trains are big and black and smokin’…steam at the wheels
bigger than anything there is at least that’s the way it feels

Trains are big and black and smokin’ louder than July four
but everybody’s acting like there’s somethin’ more?

It’s late afternoon on a hot Texas day
somethin’ strange is going on and we’re all in the way

Well there’s fifty or sixty people they’re just sittin’ in their cars
and the old men have left their dominoes and they come down from the bars

When things got real quite momma jerked me back
but not before I got the chance to lay a nickel on the track

Look out here she comes
look out there she goes…she’s gone
screamin’ straight through Texas
like a mad dog cyclone.

Big, red and silver
she don’t make no smoke
she’s a fast-rolling streamline
that’s come to show the folks.

Words and music by Guy Clark. Guy was raised in Monahans and the song is about the first time a streamlined train rolled through Monahans in 1947. Although only 6 years old at the time it had made a lasting impression. Johnny Cash recorded the song in 1976 taking it to #36 in the country field.