Song of the Day 9/14: Cowboy Song

Filed in Arts and Entertainment by on September 14, 2018

I guess El Som didn’t want to break the news that it was only me playing guest DJ for his week off. I’ll warn you now that I have ridiculously catholic tastes, but I’ll try to stick to stuff you maybe haven’t heard for a while, or ever.

When Friday rolls around I crave the kind of rock I can blast from the car speakers to start the weekend — a song that bursts with upbeat energy and loud guitars. Nothing does it better than Thin Lizzy’s “Cowboy Song.”

“Cowboy Song” was the third single off the Dublin band’s 1976 “Jailbreak” LP, following the title song and the classic “The Boys Are Back in Town.” Written by singer/bassist/songwriter Phil Lynott and drummer Brian Downey, it barely scraped the charts, peaking at #77, but quickly became a signature tune for the band in concert thanks to the twin-guitar attack of Scott Gorham and Brian Robertson, whose “guitarmonies” spurred rock writers to coin the phrase “twin-guitar attack.”

Their solos — the first by Gorham, the second by Robertson — are so iconic that most covers, like this surprisingly tuneful Anthrax version from 1993’s “Sound of White Noise,” duplicate them note for note; this slightly more ragged 1991 take by power-pop revivalists Material Issue tries to. The lyrics are ridiculous, but Lynott delivers them with such conviction you can’t help but picture lonely nights, dusty trails and certain females, and before it ends five minutes later, you’re running free with the buffalo.

If you want to learn the guitar part, this video should do the job. If you don’t like this lesson, there are scads more on Youtube — guitarists seriously love this song. I do, too.

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  1. Alby says:

    If you just want the solos on the instructional video, they start at 2:26 and 4:40.

  2. jason330 says:

    Great song from a woefully underrated band.