Lyrically Evocative (13)

I have never been a cowboy, and don’t know much about them, other than what I have seen in the films. I am also not a rider of horses, as the only time I tried, the horse went anywhere except in the direction I wanted it to. I find them to be nervy, twitchy animals, and I tend to avoid them.

But back in 1970, I really wanted to see a chestnut mare. I wanted to be riding up on Stony Ridge, to catch sight of that impressive animal, and imagine myself riding it. And all because of a song by The Byrds. Few songs have ever transported my imagination to such an unfamiliar experience in the same way. Some of the lyrics are spoken, but when the music kicks in, the song wonderfully transports me to that ridge, in pursuit of the elusive horse than defies capture.

Here are the lyrics.

“Chestnut Mare”

Always alone never with a herd
Prettiest mare I’ve ever seen
You’ll have to take my word

I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand

Well I was up on Stony Ridge after this chestnut mare
I’d been chasin’ her for weeks now. Oh, I’d catch a little glimpse
Of her every once in a while; she’d be off takin’ her meal, or bathin’;
She was a real fine lady!

This one day I saw her standin’ over there in a clearing,
So I snuck up to her nice and easy. I waited for the wind to blow
Just the right way, and I got my rope out and I flung it in the air!

I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can

Well I got her, and I’m pullin’ on her, she’s pullin’ back
Like a mule tryin’ to climb up a ladder. I take this chance and
I jump up on her. Danged if I don’t land right on top of her the
First time. Well she takes off, runnin’ up on to that ridge, higher
Than I’ve ever been before. We’re runnin’ along just fine, and then
She sees a sidewinder, all coiled up ready to strike. Well that
Spooks her, and she jumps off the edge…me holdin’ on!

Above the clouds higher than eagles were gliding
Suspended in the sky
Over the moon, straight for the sun we were riding
My eyes were filled with light
Behind us black walls, below us a bottomless canyon
Floating with no sound
Gulls far below, seemed to be suddenly rising
Exploding all around

I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can

And we were falling down this crevice, about a mile down there
I’d say! I look down and I see this red thing below us. Turned
Out to be our reflection in a little pool of water, about six
Feet wide, and only one foot deep, and we’re comin’ down at it!
Finally we hit and we splashed that pool dry. Well that’s when
I lost my hold and she got away. But I’m never gonna’ give up,
I’m gonna’ get her again some day!

I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
And when I do I’ll give her my brand
And we’ll be friends for life
She’ll be just like a wife
I’m gonna’ catch that horse
I’m gonna’ catch that horse
I
m gonna’ catch that horse if I can
I’m gonna’ catch that horse if I can

And here is the group, singing the song.

31 thoughts on “Lyrically Evocative (13)

    1. I don’t know that one at all, David. You Tube will no doubt enlighten me.
      I am not a fan of the cowboy song genre, but this song from The Byrds really spoke to me, back in 1970. And for some reason, it still does. ๐Ÿ™‚
      Best wishes, Pete.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Pete, I was given a 4CD box set of The Byrds music: hit singles, album tracks, live performances and rarities…it’ always interesting to dip into it for awhile – it’s a big more “folk country” than I usually like, but put it on for awhile and boy do you get a nice history lesson of late 60’s social country rock!

    Liked by 1 person

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