Thursday, August 25, 2011

Travers Week 2011 Special - Songs About Horses

Well it is almost here, we have the post positions picked and the morning lines announced for 142th (!) running of the Travers Stakes in lovely Saratoga, NY.  Last years race was simply a doozy....

Wow...Photo Finish!  Fly Down almost got Afleet Alex at the end...what a finish, here's hoping this year holds up too, I am leaning towards Coil this year, but with 10 horses running the race is wide open so I am committing to nothing yet.

(RtBE note:  I am editing this post as it went up too soon, 2 more songs added to the original list Thanks Caesar for "Galway Races", no idea how that slipped my mind!)

To set the mood we are going to get into some songs about horses today.  The beauty of it is, who knows if the songs are really about horses, women, men, heroin or all of that...So here are 12 songs (plus 2 bonus tracks if you keep scrolling) about horses...or connected to horses...or maybe the writer saw a horse once... 

Why not start with a classic?   Get your bets in and then MOUNT UP!

 Weren't expecting that were ya? Thought if I was going to go with The Man in Black Johnny Cash it would be Tennessee Stud?  Sure it's a great tune, but I plan on betting on those "Camptown Races" while Johnny makes those Camptown Ladies hearts swoooon!

Sticking old school here I can't leave out Gene Autry and while the song has more to do with cowboys, then jockey's yet...they both be riding some horses yo! 

Here is another one that sticks on the acoustic front (don't worry we will start rockin' soon) Townes Van Zandt was known for achingly beautiful songs and some cool mid song chatter.  Oon a live show I own of his he makes sure to mention that this song is indeed about a he pulling the audience's chain?  Perhaps...could I have gone with Pancho and Lefty?  Sure.  But I didn' is "Two Girls":

It's Emerald Isle Time!  Ireland has a great culture of horse racing, and Caesar reminded me of an old Irish tune that is a must to include in this list of Horse-y Songs, especially one that focuses on gambling with the ponies!  "Galway Races" is the song The Clancy Brothers and Tommy Makem  are performing the version I'm a choosin'.  You even get a mini history lesson of why the Irish are world renowned for their music, beer, writing....but not their err..culinary skill. 

Next up is RtBE favorite original blues-man John Lee Hooker getting his primal electric riffing on for his baby and those "Two White Horses"

Faster Horses, Younger Women, Older Whiskey, and More Money.  Tom T Hall you speak to me...yes sir!

Ok starting to creep into rock territory now...even though it is still mostly acoustic, How about some 60's rock?  First up is some Byrd song action with the descriptive "Chestnut Mare":

Next let's kick it over to Jolly Old England and ride some "Wild Horses" with The Rolling Stones:

How about we "Run For The Roses" huh? This one holds a special place in my special one's heart when it comes to The Jerry Garcia Band so I including this instead of Dan Fogelberg's tune of the same name..Reach for the stars...hope all my horses do that this weekend and hope none of them smack into the sky:

Make it funky?  Ok Here is Cliff Nobles & Co with "The Horse" what does it have to do with horses?  Umm...The title?!:

When I walk into Saratoga this year I will do so with a winning ticket, I get to cash in ticket, receive the real cash, which I am sure I will promptly lose on the next race.  I do however walk in a winner this year, how you may ask?  I picked a top notch pony earlier this season when I hit the raceway with MaDukes!  The horses name?  Runaway Jim!  How could I not bet on a Phish song to win?  So while it might be about a dog, today it is about a horse, Here is "Runaway Jim" from the New Years Day show at MSG this year.

(If you are feeling frisky here is the longest song Phish ever played, and that is saying something "Runaway Jim" from Worcester, MA 12-29-1997, it is over 59 minutes, no idea how the whole thing ended up on Youtube)

And finally rounding out our Songs About Horses (or kinda about) here is the jam that runs through my head every time I play the ponies, a personal favorite from this list...The Hold Steady "Chips Ahoy"

And yes...I will be betting at least something on the 5th the 6th race this weekend...

If you are sticking around this long, lets give you 2 bonus songs from some of my favorite groups who happen to have "Horse" in the Groups Title....
Neil Young and Crazy Horse, "Fuckin' Up" here's hoping we do none of that this weekend:

Band of Horses, "Older" yes we keep getting older, but Travers, never losses it's luster...

Best of luck.

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