When The Cowboy Sings / YouTube
While he was a prominent figure for country and honky-tonk music during the 1950s, Lefty Frizzell is one of those country artists you don’t hear about as often. But when his music does play, we are reminded of where country music really started.
The roots of country music come from many different influences. Born in Corsicana, Texas, Frizzell was born with music is in veins. From a young age he played guitar, and by the age of 12, he was a regular on a country music radio station. He also entered talent competitions, which what really sparked his breakthrough into the mainstream.
“Long Black Veil” was recorded by Frizzell in 1959, and became the most popular song of his career. Reaching number 6 on the Billboard Country charts, the ballad describes a woman mourning the loss of her husband who was wrongfully executed. Not a song for the light of heart!
“Ten years ago, on a cold dark night, There was someone killed ‘neath the town hall light. There were few at the scene, but they all agreed, that the slayer who ran looked a lot like me.”
Frizzell continues, “The judge said, “Son what is your alibi? If you were somewhere else then you won’t have to die. I spoke not a word though it meant my life. For I had been in the arms of my best friend’s wife.”
Frizzell was an inspiration to many country artists, including Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson, George Jones, and Keith Whitley. Just to name a few! Many artists covered his famous song, including Johnny Cash.
To take a walk down country music’s past, listen to Lefty Frizzell’s “Long Black Veil” below.