The 40’s and 50’s were times when Western Ballads and Trail Songs enjoyed popularity as they spoke about iconic themes of the ever present need to act with courage, honor and integrity, else the persistence of evil ways would lead to tragic consequences.
With that courage, Marty Robbins “Arizona Ranger with the Big Iron on His Hip,” dispatched the notorious outlaw “Texas Red” and brought justice to the mythical town of “Aqua Fina”
In a different scenario, like an ancient morality play, Burl Ives gave voice and song to the chilling ballad “Ghost Riders in the Sky” that warned an errant cowboy to “change your ways” else he too would would join the awful band of riders forever “chasing the Devil’s herd across the endless skies”
These ballads were meant to entertain but nevertheless they carried the powerful message that evil ways must change or the consequences would indeed be graphic and forever.
So what, one wonders, would the future generations, the likes of Burl Ives and Marty Robbins, make of today’s evil ways that must be changed? Will they give words and song to the tragic tearing of children away from parents whose only crime was trying to seek a better and safer way of life? Or what about the stifling pollution and change of climate of the planet by forces driven by their economic greed? Will they sing of the massacres of school children, worshippers and those who are just going about their ordinary lives because “the right to bear arms” is more precious than human life? And there is the blatant racism and the hatred spewed towards those who have a different gender orientation and the sexual exploitation of young girls and women of all ages. Will these be the ballads sung around a campfire of the future that tell of the need to change such evil ways or else generations yet to come may also end up chasing the Devil’s herd across those dark and endless skies?
What should be known however is that humanity cannot thrive , or even survive ,where the message is hate and the actions are destructive and where leaders of nations are concerned only with themselves and not the people they are called to serve. Perhaps they should heed the warnings of those “Ghost Riders in the Sky” else they too will ride forever the consequences of their own destruction.