Willie Nelson has a new song out. Normally, this wouldn’t be something that I’d take much notice of — while I don’t have anything against country music (and even have a little in my collection), it’s not my main forte.

This one, however…isn’t your typical country song.

Willie Nelson’s crooned cowboy songs before, from the signature “Mammas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” to “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”

But never like this: On “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other,” the Texas country icon sings about love among men on the range. Available exclusively at iTunes today, the song aims to show Mr. Nelson’s support for gays, particularly to conservative country-music fans.

“The song’s been in the closet for 20 years,” Mr. Nelson said in a prepared statement. It was written in 1981 by Lubbock-born singer-songwriter Ned Sublette.

…[Brokeback Mountain] may have provided the perfect opportunity to release this new song. But Mr. Nelson also has a personal connection to the tune.

Two years ago, David Anderson, Mr. Nelson’s friend and tour manager of three decades, told his boss he’s gay. Last March, while Mr. Nelson recorded a batch of previously unreleased songs for iTunes, he discovered the song in a stack of demos he had tossed into a drawer.

Singing “Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly Fond of Each Other” was Mr. Nelson’s way of telling a longtime pal everything was OK, says Mr. Anderson.

The song’s currently only available through the iTunes Music Store. Lyrics are after the cut.

(via Boing Boing)

There’s many a strange impulse out on the plains of West Texas;
There’s many a young boy who feels things he can’t comprehend.
Well a small town don’t like it when somebody falls between sexes,
No, small town don’t like it when a cowboy has feelings for men.

Well I believe in my soul that inside every man there’s the feminine,
And inside every lady there’s a deep manly voice loud and clear.
Well, a cowboy may brag about things that he’s done with his women,
But the ones who brag loudest are the ones that are most likely queer.

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other,
Say, what do you think all them saddles and boots was about?
And there’s many a cowboy who don’t understand
the way that he feels for his brother,
And inside every cowboy there’s a lady that’d love to slip out.

And there’s always somebody who says what the others just whisper,
And mostly that someone’s the first one to get shot down dead.
So when you talk to a cowboy don’t treat him like he was a sister,
You can’t fuck with the lady that’s sleepin’ in each cowboy’s head.

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other,
What did you think all them saddles and boots was about?
And there’s many a cowboy who don’t understand
the way that he feels for his brother,
Inside every lady there’s a cowboy that wants to slip out.
And inside every cowboy there’s a lady that’d love to slip out.

The following lyrics (one verse and two versions of the chorus) aren’t included in Willie’s version, but are apparently in a version of this song that was recorded by the punk band Pansy Division.

Ten men for each woman was the rule way back when on the prairie,
And somehow those cowboys must have kept themselves warm late at night.
Cowboys are famous for getting riled up about fairies,
But I’ll tell you the reason a big strong man gets so uptight:

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other,
That’s why they wear leather, and Levi’s and belts buckled tight.
There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand
the way that he feels towards his brother,
There’s many a cowboy who’s more like a lady at night.

Cowboys are frequently secretly fond of each other,
Even though they take speed and drive pickups and shoot their big guns.
There’s many a cowboy who don’t understand
the way that he feels for his brother;
There’s many a cowboy who keeps quiet about things he’s done.

iTunesCowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other) (iTunes Originals Version)” by Nelson, Willie from the album Cowboys Are Frequently Secretly (Fond of Each Other) (2006, 3:33).

6 thoughts on “Frequently Secretly

  1. Willie’s always had a big heart. When he went bankrupt a decade ago it wasn’t drugs and parties or even theft that left him broke but rather he gave away so much of his money he had none left to pay the bills.

    I don’t care much for his music but I’ve always admired the man.

  2. Thanks for the lyrics. I don’t like country music but I think it speaks volumes that a) it’s one of the first genres to speak of gay men in another light other than negatively and b) a man of his generation is that open-minded

  3. I have been a fan of Willie’s since he first appeared on “Austin City Limits”. “Red Headed Stranger” still rings in my ears today. Regardless of what Willie has ever done he will always be my hero. The Bible says homosexuality is a sin but half of the songs on the radio are about some sort of sin today. Willie will always be my hero.

  4. I thought Wille Nelson was an idiot and his lyrics were trash long before this. I threw all my country and pop music records in the trash years ago, who cares about that rubbish?

  5. I think Mr. Nelson doesn´t matter about sexual behaviors. This music is so beaultiful and sad to listen to that´s less important the lyrics. Try to play it in a guitar in a language you don´t understand. The sound will continue be wonderful. Thank you.

  6. Pansy Division Rocked when they recorded this song on their Pile – up CD and Willie Rocks for rerecording it!!!

    It is one of my favorite songs by Pansy Division!!!
    And Now by Willie

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