Saturday, August 17, 2013

Country Club #13: Streets of Bakersfield

Because the great Dwight Yoakum is performing in Wichita next Tuesday,it seems right to feature one of his hits. Yoakum is a great song writer, but this is a cover of a Buck Owens tune written by Homer Joy.

It's a little strange that the local public radio station described Yoakum as a country and bluegrassperformer. Yoakum has definitely been influence by bluegrass, the first music he heard, and his has toured with the great Ralph Stanley. But his music is is hard core honky-tonk and Bakersfield,something entirely different. I certainly hope that Yoakum will emulate one his heroes,Merle Haaggard and record a bluegrass album, he hasn't yet.

Bakersfield, California,as readers may not know, was largely settled by economic and environmental refugees from Oklahoma and Texas during the 1930s and 1940's. Sharecroppers became agricultural workers living in labor camps, captured in such Merle Haggard songs as Hungry Eyes and Tulare Dust. So, if you hear the lyrics to Streets of Bakersfield as having a social, as well as, personal message.

Hey you don't know me but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Have ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?




Here's an interview with Joy about the origins of the song. (Video of Joy performing his classic.)

      Lyrics

I came here looking for something
I couldn't find anywhere else
Hey, I'm not trying to be nobody
I just want a chance to be myself
I've spent a thousand miles a-thumbin'
Yes, I've worn blisters on my heels
Trying to find me something better
Here on the streets of Bakersfield

Hey, you don't know me, but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Spent sometime in San Francisco
I spent a night there in the can
They threw this drunk man in my jail cell
I took fifteen dollars from that man
Left him my watch and my old house key
Don't want folks thinkin' that I'd steal
Then I thanked him as I was leaving
And I headed out for Bakersfield

Hey, you don't know me, but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

Hey, you don't know me, but you don't like me
You say you care less how I feel
But how many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

How many of you that sit and judge me
Ever walked the streets of Bakersfield?

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