Typical of my songs… I don’t allow the truth to get in the way of a good story. I wrote a song called Grady that’s a compilation of three different guys in my hometown of Portales. It’s mostly about a man named George but when I was writing it, Grady worked much better for me lyrically. There were aspects of each that I wanted in the song. They were George, Burt, and Grady, but in the song, they’re just one guy. Grady lived two or three miles out of town and he didn’t own a car, so he walked into town just about every day. He wore an old worn out, John Deere baseball cap …. and he wore it backwards. Sure… everybody wears their baseball cap backwards these days, but in 1950 that was considered really weird. That wasn’t the only thing that made him “different”… he also had an almost comical way of walking that was an endless delight to me and the other kids who followed him around town like he was the Pied Piper. In the 50’s people often made fun of that slow, eccentric guy. Looking back, it was often mean, and unthinking. And a lot of the time, it was us kids who could be the most cruel.
Grady was a delight to us as we all ran to greet him… begging for his song. If you gave him a penny or a nickel or a dime, he would sing Woody Guthrie’s song “Oklahoma Hills”. He also had a dance that was the most incomprehensible jumble of gyrations, kicks and random movements that seemed to come out of nowhere, and were in no way connected to the rhythm of the song. It was wonderful and amazing. He would finish with an elaborate flourish… leaving us kids pleading for more. And here’s the thing…. if we gave him another penny or nickel …. he’d do the same song again …it was the only one he knew… ( the dance was always different, though). It was an incredible dance. Sometimes we’d have him do it two or three times.
Anyway, that was the genesis of the song…. it’s on my album
“Songs with Repercussions” if you’d like to hear it.
- Grady Ronny Cox 4:01