Folk singer and songwriter Jane Bowers has exquisitely captured the last 180 days of the soldiers who fought in the Battle of the Alamo in her penned tune “Remember the Alamo.” Her masterpiece showcases the relentless efforts of the Texans against the Mexicans in pursuit of independence. In the song, Bowers recognized a few famous names whose contributions in the battle can never be discounted. These figures include Texans Jim Bowie, William Barrett Travis, and Davy Crockett, and Mexican General Santa Anna.
“Remember the Alamo” was a favorite among the members of the Western Writers of America. The song’s appeal to the members has led to its inclusion to the Top 100 Western Songs of all time. That’s despite the song’s failure to make a significant impact on the folk community, initially. In addition, it became a favorite cover among many music artists, including the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson.
Country music singer and actor Tex Ritter was the first to release a cover of the song in 1955. The song also gave him his first ever release for Vidor Publications, a music company that he co-owned with fellow country artist Johnny Bond. In 1956, director Harold D. Schuster used Ritter’s recording for his film Down Liberty Road.
The Kingston Trio
Playing shows in Austin, Texas gave Jan Bowers the chance to meet the Kingston Trio in the late 1950s. What happened next was a string of recording of Bowers’ song by the trio. One of those records was the folk tune “Remember the Alamo” which was released on their At Large album. Their cover dropped in 1959 and used a slightly altered lyrics. The album was highly successful, topping the U.S. Billboard pop album chart.
When it was his turn to record a version of the song, The Man in Black used the original lyrics of Tex Ritter. Also, he tried to make his cover different from that of the Kingston Trio’s by incorporating different musical instruments. What Cash did is add a military drumbeat and lush backing vocals making it more appealing to the ears. Cash’s version appeared on his 1963 album Ring of Fire: The Best of Johnny Cash. Similar to the Kingston Trio, his album also a chart-topper in the U.S.
The outlaw country singer was inspired to make a cover of the song similar to the version of Cash. Inspired by his idea, Nelson has apparently duplicated the rendition made by Cash. His record was included on his concept album Texas In My Soul which materialized in 1968.
Covers, Johnny Cash, Remember the Alamo, Tex Ritter, The Kingston Trio, Willie Nelson
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