Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Patsy ...

I always keep an eye out for interesting music with a Montana theme ... either local subject matter or the work of a Montana artist. It's a little more challenging to find that sort of stuff on the web nowadays, though, because you have to wade through a zillion links for "Hannah Montana" -- and for now, at least, I don't think that she counts.

But of course, Hannah isn't breaking new ground, here ... lots of other people have created stage names and fictional characters attached to our state. Until recent years, at least, the best-known was probably a country singer named Patsy Montana. She was big back in the 30s, and really didn't have much to do with Montana at all -- her real name was Ruby Blevins, and she was born in Arkansas, and mostly lived in California. But she needed a stage name that was evocative and Western, and "Montana" was an obvious choice.

(Patsy reportedly chose her new last name in honor of the famous movie stuntman Monte Montana, who of course wasn't really named Montana, either! But Monte, at least, was born in Wolf Point.)

Patsy Montana is best remembered for her song, "I Want to Be a Cowboy's Sweetheart," but she also had at least one hit with Montana lyrics. One of her first songs was called "Back On Montana Plains," which was actually just a reworking of an earlier song about the plains down in Texas. Here's a sample stanza ... the yodeling that Patsy interjected between the song's verses was impossible to transcribe, so you'll just have to visualize that.
Each night in my dreams, somehow it seems
I'm back where I belong
Just a country hick, way back in the sticks
Back where I belong
These city lights, and these city ways
They're driving me insane
Oh I want to go back, oh please take me back
Back to Montana plains


  1. Ah, Patsy Montana!
    And so few songs mention the plains of Montana...usually, it's all about the mountains, which are noteworthy, indeed. Do you know who wrote the song?

    The plains are getting a ton of snow, today. School got out at noon, and the cows are highly indignant. But the city lights aren't driving us insane...there's that little blessing!

  2. I confess ... listening to Patsy Montana just makes me chuckle. It's the yodeling. :)

    And I have no idea who wrote the song, either the one Patsy sang or the original Texas version ... but I suspect it's all an interesting story. (Of course, it's something that hasn't made it out to the Internet yet, which is always a little frustrating -- we're getting to the point where we automatically expect virtually all knowledge to be available online, and it just isn't.)

    We missed most of that bad weather back here -- it's been in the 30s, a little grey but not half bad. Of course, that's supposed to change tonight. This being Montana, it always changes!

    Take care!

  3. Are you familiar with Montana Tunesmith? They are a great duo of brothers from Red Lodge and many of their songs are written specifically about Montana.

    Thanks for all your great postings,
    Beth Christopher

  4. Hi, Beth ... many thanks for your note. It's always good to know when people are stopping by. :)

    And I actually haven't heard of Montana Tunesmith! But I'll go looking for them right now ... they sound like they might be right up my alley.

    Take care, and thanks.