September 18, 2023
A Bridge Over Troubled Water.
Hanging out in Greer. Lots of time to do this.
Meanwhile in Issequah, Washington. . .
"Ridin' Down The Canyon" Aftermath
In 1934 a prescient movie producer, Nat Levine of Mascot Films wanted to make musical westerns. He contacted Gene Autry who was a major cowboy singing Star on WLS radio in Chicago. He invited Gene to Hollywood to see about using him in a movie. Gene drove from Chicago in his new Buick with his wife and Smiley Burnette who was a member (played accordion) of Gene’s band. They traveled on Route 66 to Flagstaff then turned south on 89 through Oak Creek Canyon to 60 and Hollywood! Smiley, inspired by Oak Creek Canyon wrote ‘Riding Down the Canyon ‘ before they reached Prescott. They recorded it later that year and it became a popular number for cowboy/western singers everywhere. I know that I, as a member of the Duct Tape Cowboys, sang it regularly. Smiley wrote dozens of songs for Gene and Autry himself was a prolific songwriter. Smiley co-starred in countless Autry movies as well as Roy Rogers films. You might remember him as featured years later on TV in Petticoat Junction. The first time I ever went to Flagstaff from Yuma was maybe 1956. We went to and from via Oak Creek Canyon. Interstate 17 was far off in the future.
—Greg Scott, who also sent the following poem to go with the theme of Uno prancing in the pines.
Big pines far up against the blue
Always hobnobbing against the sky,
Patrician vegetables you.
Your pedigree is old and high-
Or old and deep; for you must know
Of your ancestors’ bones that lie
Deep in the coal dark measures. Oh
Your family is old and proud,
You green aristocrats! You grow
On hills, and talk to star and cloud,
Or guard the white throne of the peak,
While down the darkling gulches crowd
The birches and aspens low and meek,
To elbow for the light and air
And gossip with the prattling creek
Their tribe is yesterday’s affair
Compared with yours. And what is mine?
A mushroom! Saber tooth and bear
Whetted their claws upon a pine
When man, through many a slow relay,
Was yet a-coming. High and fine,
With wind harps in your arms you play
The tunes first crooned when earth was new,
And loaf in your lordly way,
Big pines far up against the blue.