The Urban Cowboy Soundtrack Holds Up Pretty Well
Have you watched Urban Cowboy lately? It's actually on Netflix right now if you never have. But the movie that in many ways put Houston on the map in the world's eyes -- how come nobody ever brings up Terms of Endearment, though? -- frankly hasn't aged all that well.
"Do you like Joe Walsh?"
Pulpish B-movie fare to begin with, the plot largely centers on dim-bulb John Travolta putting Debra Winger through some Grade-A pouting, in the process all but squandering fine character acting by Barry Corbin, Scott Glenn and of course that scene-stealing Gilley's mechanical bull. Winger's steamy dance on top of that bull about halfway through the film will never get old, of course, but overall Urban Cowboy is about as outdated as the Houston skyline (beautiful as it is) in that tracking shot down Memorial Drive during the opening credits.
That's why, because two of its main stars are bringing their "Urban Cowboy Reunion" tour to Stafford Centre this evening, we were pleasantly surprised that the soundtrack by and large holds up pretty well. Somehow the producers resisted the urge to toss in some disco, but otherwise the 18-song album is prime late-'70s mainstream pop, balanced with enough redneck rock to still play in Pasadena. Just don't mistake it for country music until the very, very end.
"Hello Texas," Jimmy Buffett
The Parrothead In Chief kicks things off in style with this outlaw-country romp that's a long way from Margaritaville.
"Times Like These," Dan Fogelberg
The smooth "Same Auld Lang Syne" singer-songwriter comes on more like prime REO Speedwagon on this soaring, angsty pop-rocker.
"Nine Tonight," Bob Seger & the Silver Bullet Band
Underestimated then and now, the Motor City legend knows how to show a girl a good time -- with plenty of Memphis soul.
"Stand By Me," Mickey Gilley
Gilley logged plenty of stage time at his namesake honky-tonk in the film, including on this Ben E. King standard that wisely shuns schmaltz in favor of last-call melancholy.
"Cherokee Fiddle," Johnny Lee
Arguably the most country song here, Lee's shuffle disguises a sad song about a dying breed of musician with twin rails of fiddle and steel and the universal refrain "good whiskey never let him lose his place."
"Can I Have This Dance," Anne Murray
Inconsequential but sweet, there is no more perfect first-dance tune for a Pasadena wedding reception in 1980.
"Lyin' Eyes," the Eagles
Knowing and warmly forgiving, Glenn Frey's easygoing trip to the cheatin' side of town spells out the '70s in six long minutes.
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