Each week The United States of Songs tries to find a new song to perfectly describe a state in the union. Sometimes I like to take things in a completely new direction for the place, other times the best song on the table just happens to already be the state song. You're up, Sooner State!
The state: Oklahoma
The song: "Oklahoma!" by Richard Rogers and Oscar Hammerstein II
Come on. How can you NOT like this song? It was the first and only real option to pop into my head when I considered a song for Oklahoma; of course it doesn't hurt that my father-in-law is producing the play of the same name for his local community theatre and I've been hearing my wife and her family sing it off and on for two months. It's been fresh in my mind is all I'm saying.
Confession time: I don't like Oklahoma. Not the musical, the musical's fine. I've not had a good experience in the state, though. I should point out my wife repeatedly reminds me it's not fair to judge a state by the people who live closest to the interstate, and that's a valid point, but yeesh. Feel free to clue me in, Sooners, what ARE the redeeming qualities of your state?
"If you don't like the weather in Oklahoma, wait 10 minutes and you'll be dead anyway."
I mean, the song does a pretty good job of painting it as a rolling prairie, wholesome and rustic in its beauty. But the song's a little outdated, although I know plenty of you guys still wear cowboy hats (what is it with cowboy hats? Not in Oklahoma, I mean in general) I don't think it's quite all ranch hands and hoedowns any more.
Still, you can't argue with a classic show tune. And it's enough to conjure a positive mental image of Oklahoma in my mind as I imagine plodding along on a horse across a dusty, sun-baked ridge towards a farmhouse. I'll take it.
Runner-up: "Dear Okie" by Doye O'Dell
Most Laughable Suggestion: "Beim alten Bill in Oklahoma" by Heino
Want to defend Oklahoma's honor? Got a better idea for a state song? You know what to do!
Flickr photo nssl0054 by NOAA Photo Library used under a Creative Commons License.