Wednesday, April 5, 2023

Classic Country Ballads of Lost Love – San Angelo #westernfictioneers #countryballads #classiccountrymusic

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.

Each month, I will include a link back to the previous month’s article as reference to those songs. The common thread that runs among the songs I’ve chosen for this musical memory lane excursion is tragic lost love.

 January – Marty Robbins – El Paso and Feleena

 February – Faron Young – TheYellow Bandana

 March – Willie Nelson and Ray Charles – Seven Spanish Angels

 This month’s song is San Angelo by Marty Robbins.

 San Angelo was written and recorded by Marty and released in September 1960. San Angelo’s story of the outlaw riding into town to be reunited with his lover, Secora, because she’s sent him a message to meet him there. Unbeknownst to him, Rangers have somehow intercepted her message, and they are laying in wait for his arrival with intent to kill him.

 When Secora sees the outlaw, she breaks free of her Ranger-captivity and runs onto the street to warn her man to get out of town before the Rangers kill him. But it’s too late. A Ranger shoots her, and she dies in her man’s arms. Grief, rage, and vengeance consume the outlaw, and he makes his last stand—

 The ranger that killed her is standing there waiting for me
I rise to meet him, my one thought it beat him
He deserves death and I swear that this ranger will die
I beat his draw and I shot him six times

 This song has a theme similar to that in Seven Spanish Angels. The couples in both songs make their final fight against the authorities, and they die together with confidence in their hearts and minds that they will be reunited in the hereafter.

Until next time,
Kaye Spencer
Writing through history one romance upon a time



  1. Awesome, of course! Can't go wrong with Marty Robbins. I stand in awe of any songwriter who is able to tell an entire story in a few verses and put it with a melody that will withstand the test of time. You know I'm a fan of Marty Robbins and have been my entire life. I am loving these posts of yours, Kaye!

    1. Ahh... Marty... 'sigh' Marty will show up three more times by the end of this series. ;-)

  2. As I was reading the synopsis you wrote of the song I thought of poem "The Highwayman" by Alfred Noyes. It had a similar theme.

    I am enjoying this series. Thanks for sharing and taking the time to dig up all the information. Doris

    1. Ooh... I hadn't made that connection. I like that a lot. :-)