Don’t be misled by the German 7-inch soundtrack companion whose A-side bears the dual title, “Midnight Cowboy-Asphalt Cowboy” — Ferrante & Teicher did not, in fact, release an early version of the truck-driving country classic, “Asphalt Cowboy” in 1969.
Sleepy LaBeef, in truth, recorded the first – and greatest – version of “Asphalt Cowboy” in Nashville at summer’s zenith (i.e., July 31) as a new decade (1970) dawned:
“Asphalt Cowboy” Sleepy Labeef 1970
Produced by Shelby Singleton and recorded at Singleton Sound Studio in Nashville with the following musicians: Jerry Shook [guitar]; Chip Young [rhythm guitar]; Stevie Singleton [guitar]; Bob Moore [bass]; Kenneth Buttrey [drums]; & Hargus Robbins [piano].
“Asphalt Cowboy,” co-written by Lawton Williams, who hit the charts back in 1964 with his vocal tune, “Everything’s OK on LBJ,” was also recorded by Rod Hart and used as the B-side for novelty trucker tune, “C.B. Savage.”
I have an album of repackaged material from the Buddah label – a compilation entitled Heavy Mix – that is one of the odder releases from everyone’s favorite reissue label, Pickwick. I love that the cover art has a cement theme:
Even more intriguing than the kitschy cover concept is the cryptic bit of text at the bottom of the label of “Heavy Mix” cement:
First is an unattributed quote that proclaims in classic 1969-speak, “Gettting It Together,” followed by the name of a fictitious business – Hard Rock Cement Co. – that is allegedly located in Cincinnati, Ohio. Not sure I follow, but okay, why not. Now, it is true that The Sacred Mushroom came from Cincinnati, and it would be fair to call them “hard rock” – as this track from 1969 would clearly indicate. Or perhaps Pickwick was making reference to the Ludlow Garage – Cincinnati’s closest approximation to Bill Graham’s famous Fillmore rock venues – whose proprietor in 1969 was Jim Tarbell, the one responsible for bringing in such “hard rock” acts as Neil Young, The Allman Brothers, and The Grateful Dead (and who would later become a Cincinnati City Council Member and hold the title – by mayoral proclamation – “Mr. Cincinnati” for life).
My favorite track on this motley mix is a surprisingly supple cover of the theme from the 1969 Oscar-winning film (Film; Director; Adapted Screenplay) – “Midnight Cowboy” – by John & Yoko’s one-time backing band, Elephant’s Memory:
Midnight Cowboy – Elephant’s Memory
[Pssst: Click on the triangle above to hear “Midnight Cowboy” by Elephant’s Memory.]
There’s a nice little drum break starting around the 1:18 mark where the drumming alternates between speakers – consider using this track in the event you need to test the stereo directionality of your computer’s speakers.