Did you know that the yodeling queen, Patsy Montana gave Waylon Jennings one of his first breaks? When Patsy Montana was remaking “I Want To Be a Cowboy’s Sweetheart” in 1964, she did not turn to film stars for their help. Instead she hired a then-unknown guitarist who respected and appreciated cowboy heroes, Waylon Jennings.
Montana wrote the song in 1934 when she was feeling lonely and missing her boyfriend. It was recorded a year later when producer Art Satherly, of ARC Records, needed one more song at a Prairie Ramblers recording session. Montana was the group’s soloist at the time. Her song is based on Stuart Hamblen’s western song Texas Plains, he is therefore credited as a cowriter. Patsy Montana embellished the simpler musical pattern of the original, especially with her yodeling. Patsy also used a lot of the original words, the song is somewhat of a feminine answer to its precursor.
The original 1935 version of the song was a hit and the first million selling country song recorded by a female artist. Montana longed more than just a suitor despite the song’s deceptive title. She wanted to be equal with singing cowboys, to ride and to wrangle. It was a bold musical statement that paved the way for every female country artist who was since challenged the status quo, from Kitty Wells to Kacey Musgraves.
Montana ended semi-retirement with “At the Matador Room.” The album featured a modernized take on early country and western music. Montana’s legendary solos were made better by Jennings’ impressive guitar work. Post-World War II musical developments as rockabilly and Bakersfield sound was reflected in the updated version in 1964.
Montana and Jennings are both Hall of Famers. Without their brief collaboration, both still had Country Music Hall of Fame careers. The 1964 version of Montana’s greatest song, “Cowboy’s Sweetheart,” proved to be a timeless trail anthem, years after paved highways led country music from east to Nashville.