About The Song

Conway Twitty – a name synonymous with rich baritone vocals and a career that traversed the evolving landscape of country music for over four decades. But beneath the ten-gallon hat and the smooth drawl resided a complex artist, one who defied easy categorization. This becomes abundantly clear when we delve into his 1985 hit, Don’t Call Him A Cowboy.

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Released as the title track for his 49th studio album, the song marked a pivotal moment in Twitty’s trajectory. Country music, particularly in the mid-80s, was undergoing a significant shift. The era of the rhinestone cowboy, characterized by a polished, pop-influenced sound, was starting to wane. A new wave of artists, often labeled “neotraditionalists,” were emerging, seeking to recapture the rawness and authenticity of country music’s roots.

Don’t Call Him A Cowboy sits at this fascinating crossroads. On the surface, it possesses the familiar elements of a classic country song – a catchy melody, a relatable story, and of course, Twitty’s unmistakable voice. However, a closer listen reveals a subtle subversion of the traditional cowboy archetype.

The song’s protagonist isn’t a rugged frontiersman roaming the open range. The lyrics paint a picture of a blue-collar worker, someone who toils in the steel mills or the oil fields. He might wear a Stetson hat and a pair of boots, but his days are filled with hard labor, not cattle drives. Lines like “He ain’t got no fancy saddle, ain’t got no brandin’ iron” and “He works long hours for a little pay” establish this distinction between the romanticized cowboy and the working-class reality the song portrays.

This shift in perspective resonates with the changing landscape of country music itself. The neotraditionalist movement was a reaction to the perceived artificiality of the “Urban Cowboy” phase. Songs like Don’t Call Him A Cowboy brought the genre back to its core audience – the everyday men and women who identified with the struggles and aspirations depicted in the lyrics.

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There’s also a touch of defiance woven into the narrative. The title itself serves as a gentle rebuke to those who might hold onto outdated notions of masculinity or the country lifestyle. This man, though far removed from the romanticized cowboy of folklore, possesses a quiet strength and dignity that deserves respect on its own terms.

Don’t Call Him A Cowboy stands as a testament to Conway Twitty’s ability to navigate the changing tides of country music. It’s a song that speaks not just to the evolution of a genre, but also to the enduring appeal of relatable storytelling and the power of challenging stereotypes. So, as the first notes of the song begin, prepare to be transported not to a dusty cattle trail, but to the heart of a working-class life, a world where the soundtrack to everyday struggles is a healthy dose of steel guitar and Conway Twitty’s unwavering voice.

Video

Lyrics

“Don’t Call Him A Cowboy”

So you came from New York city
And you want to see the sights
You’ve heard all about those cowboys
And those crazy Texas nights

I see you’ve got your eye on something
Leaning on the bar
But the toughest ride he’s ever had
Was in his foreign car

So don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride
‘Cause a Stetson hat and those fancy boots
Don’t tell ya what’s inside no
And if he ain’t good in the saddle
Lord, you won’t be satisfied
So don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride

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He’s the Hollywood idea
Of the wild andd wooly west
In his french designer blue jeans
And his custom tailored vest
You think he’s the real thing
But I think you oughta know
He can’t even make it through
A one night rodeo. No.

So don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride
‘Cause a Stetson hat and those fancy boots
Don’t tell ya what’s inside. No.
And if he ain’t good in the saddle
Lord, you won’t be satisfied
So don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride

Don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride
‘Cause a Stetson hat and those fancy boots
Don’t tell ya what’s inside. no.
And if he ain’t good in the saddle
Lord, you won’t be satisfied
So don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride

Don’t call him a cowboy
Until you’ve seen him ride…