I like a lot of songs about or from Oklahoma. Here are a few:
- Woody Guthrie's "So Long, It's Been Good to Know You," a vivid take on the Dust Bowl striking a small community.
- "Okie from Muskogee" by Merle Haggard, son of Dust Bowl Okies who moved to California.
- "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," which was written in 1862 by a Choctaw freedman in what was then the Indian Territory.
- I prefer Don Williams' "Tulsa Time" to Eric Clapton's fine cover version.
- Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys -- "Take Me Back To Tulsa" is a good example of Western Swing. And check out Wills' stogie as he intros the tune.
- Oklahoma seems to turn out a lot of great guitarists: here is the electric pioneer, Charlie Christian.
These half dozen songs represent Oklahoma well - they are earthy, direct, and of the people. But the song I want to highlight is from a different genre entirely. It's the title song of the most important musical in American theatrical history, "Oklahoma." This, the first collaboration between Rodgers and Hammerstein, ushered in the Golden Age of Broadway due to its record breaking success as it pioneered using songs to advance plot and deepen character. It's a hell of a rousing tune. And it turns out it's Oklahoma's official state song.
This raises an interesting question - what is Minnesota's official state song? Here it is:
My 7 songs barely scratch the surface of good music from the Sooner State. Please share your favorites as well as any suggestions for what you think should be Minnesota's state song.