Friday, January 27, 2017

Friday Night Videos

Friday Night Videos

No subject has ever made such a popular subject for song as love. As long as humans have been making music, love’s far and away the top choice of lyricists to write about. Writing and discussing Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch, however, got me to thinking. Amid all that blissful romance, the darker flipside beckoned, and prostitution served as the inspiration for more than a few memorable songs. The Greeks and Romans sang about prostitutes, and minstrels in the middle-ages were more than a little bawdy. Cowboys of the American West favored songs so scandalous they could strip the needles from a cactus. It’s no wonder, then, that popular music of the modern era has produced countless songs about prostitution as well.

What follows in the coming weeks is a countdown of the top 10 songs (as compiled by yours truly) about prostitution of the modern era that were not inspired by the infamous Chicken Ranch brothel of La Grange, Texas. Between The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas soundtrack and ZZ Top’s “La Grange” (not to mention works by Willis Alan Ramsey, Billy Joe Shaver, the Austin Lounge Lizards and numerous others), the Chicken Ranch would simply have an unfair advantage.

2. “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp” – O.C. Smith
While many songs take the point of view of the prostitute or customers, very few come from the viewpoint of a child. That’s what makes “The Son of Hickory Holler’s Tramp” such a standout. With a blazing R&B sound, O.C. Smith’s 1968 hit told the back story behind the titular character’s mother, who turned to prostitution to feed and clothe her 14 children after her husband abandoned the family. His mother knowingly sacrifices her pride and dignity to provide for her family, while the neighbors, instead of offering to help, instead turn to gossip. Rather than wallow in shame, the son—now a man—extolls his mother’s selflessness and becomes an anthem against the judgmental. There’s also a country version with Smith and his young son performing the song with the great Johnny Cash:

Previously on Friday Night Videos... Bobbie Gentry.

Inside the Texas Chicken Ranch: The Definitive Account of the Best Little Whorehouse is now available from both and It's also available as an ebook in the following formats: Kindle, Nook, Google Play, iBooks and Kobo.

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