Sunday, December 23, 2007


When Pet Shop Boys hit the Top 10 with "Always On My Mind" in 1987, I figured there was some inexplicable connection between country music and homos that had finally, thankfully, reached beyond the aesthetic appeal of tight jeans and cowboy hats.

After all, the Willie Nelson version of the song had been a #1 hit on the Billboard country music chart five years earlier, but Pet Shop Boys weren't even a twinkle in anyone's eye at that time.
But when PSB recorded the song, it became clear that a song known for twang and drawl could easily be re-interpreted with keyboards and drum machines and pack the dance floors of gay clubs from Down Under to the Great White North.

In 2005, when Willie Nelsons' song "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other" was included on the Brokeback Mountain soundtrack, I figured the connection between queers and country music was now very clear and no longer required a British pop duo to bridge the gap.

While Willie might come across as a big 'ol friend of Dorothy, I doubt he really is one (despite the long hair and earrings). None of that matters though because his supportive and charitable nature has reared its lovely head once again. It has happened in Vancouver - not the Vancouver I live in (Canada), but another, smaller Vancouver in the state of Washington.

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Willie Nelson hasn't forgotten the town that knew him before he was famous. The 74-year old country singer has donated $40,000 to Vancouver, the southwestern Washington city where he sold some of his first records a half-century ago. Nelson performed at The Amphitheater near Vancouver on June 30. He promised to share some of the proceeds with the city and area charities. In the late 1950s, Nelson worked as a disc jockey for Vancouver station KVAN.
He financed and recorded the single "No Place for Me" and sold it to some of his listeners. Nelson soon moved back to his native Texas and then on to Nashville, Tenn., and fame. Vancouver received the $40,000 cheque three weeks ago. On Wednesday, the city gave $15,000 to the Humane Society of Washington and $15,000 to the Boys and Girls Club, the remaining $10,000 would be used for efforts to make city government and the community more ecologically friendly.

Life without Willie would be like Kool-Aid without sugar, so... Gimme More!

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