SOUTH OF THE BORDER

Ringo Starr said he had no particular interest in music until he heard, around the age of seven, Gene Autry singing this song in a movie.  It left him with a lifelong love of Country and Western music, and he called Autry the most significant musical force in his life.

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The clip at the head of this post is probably the scene he was referring to, from South Of the Border, 1939, though Ringo would have to have seen a reissue of it sometime after WWII.  Discussing it in 1976, he misremembered its details — he thought Autry had slung his leg over the horn of his saddle when singing the song — but he described it as his “first musical experience”, one that had stuck in his brain ever since.

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He added that his bedroom was covered with Gene Autry posters.

A NEW REVIEW

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Well, new to me, at any rate — it was actually published a year ago at Buddies In the Saddle, the blog of Western enthusiast and scholar Ron Scheer, who has recently published the first volume in his study of Western literature How the West Was Written.

It’s a thoughtful and, to me, perceptive review, that gets to the heart of my ambitions for the stories.  Here’s part of it:

This is one of those books that came over the transom at BITS. Written by screenwriter and novelist Lloyd Fonvielle, it’s a self-published collection of stories that seem not to have seen the light of day until now. Springing from obscurity, they bear the marks of an inspired imagination, well informed by western movies.

A caveat at the outset, for readers of the traditional western. There’s both a dark and raunchy edge to some of these stories. If they were movies themselves, they would challenge the MPAA reviewers given the job of labeling them with suitable parental warnings. One or two would be candidates for an NC-17 rating.

Themes. The stories take place in a world of shootings, killings, and various frontier atrocities, but the recurring interest in them has to do with relations between men and women. Typically a man of some character finds himself dealing with a woman of equal nerve and grit.

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Exploring relations between men and women on the Western frontier in franker and more complex ways strikes me as the great new horizon for writers of Western fiction, and it has certainly been a central concern of my own Western fiction.

For the full review, and to check out Scheer’s valuable site, go here:

Fourteen Western Stories review

Click on the images to enlarge.