I grew up in the late 50s and 60s listening to the country music of that era. I stuck with country music through the 70s. I made it into the 80s but, by the late 80s, country music as I knew and loved was headed in a direction that, with a few exceptions, I wasn’t interested going. So I didn’t. (Get off my lawn.)
The old west gunfighter and trail ballads, drinking songs, and revenge songs had an influence on me that was, and still is, every bit as strong as the impact Louis L’Amour’s books left with me. My lifelong interest, perhaps fascination bordering on obsession, with everything old west—truth, legends, and myths alike—have roots in those old cowboy and country songs.
I’m inviting you to read along with me this year as I post one or two nostalgic-for-me country ballads on the first Wednesday of each month. I will share a snippet of trivia about each song along with a YouTube video.
January – Marty Robbins – El Paso and Feleena
This month’s tragic lost love ballad is by Faron Young – The Yellow Bandana.
|Faron Young, publicity photo
By Mercury Records - Billboard, page 1, 7 November 1964, Public Domain,
The song was ranked #18 and peaked at #4 on the Billboard Top Country Singles chart of 1963.
The song has a pleasant, upbeat, catchy tune with ¾ time,
which is deceivingly happy for as sad as the lyrics are. A cavalry soldier falls in
love with Roseanna. He gives her his yellow bandana to wear as a memento until
he returns. He returns and discovers the yellow bandana…
If the video doesn't show on your device, this is the URL to Faron Young singing The Yellow Bandana - https://youtu.be/HIxvvFnq4fQ
As an aside, a yellow bandana as part of a cavalry soldier’s uniform likely came out of Hollywood in the John Wayne / John Ford westerns era. Soldiers did wear handkerchiefs, neckerchiefs, scarves, sashes, etc., but generally speaking, other colors than yellow, and these items weren’t necessarily standard military issue.
Until next time,
Writing through history one romance upon a time