Deep in the heart of Texas rings true in summer
By Robin Scott
There’s no time like summertime for the words of the old standard, “Deep in the Heart of Texas” to ring true. The song, lyrics by June Hershey and music by Don Swander, was written in 1941. It was first recorded by Perry Como with Ted Weems and his Orchestra for Decca Record, Los Angelos, California. It was a side B song to “Ollie Ollie Out’s in Free” and spent five weeks at the top of “Your Hit Parade” in 1942.
The words begin, “The stars at night, are big and bright, (clap, clap, clap, clap) deep in the heart of Texas.” Bright, shining stars may still be seen in the night’s sky in the panhandle of Texas and a few other places that haven’t developed like the Dallas/Fort Worth area, Austin, San Antonio or Houston. In the summer sky one can see the “Summer Triangle,” which consists of Altair, Deneb and Vega. The Summer Triangle isn’t actually a constellation, but it is a familiar large asterism in the summer sky.
The song continues, “The prairie sky is wide and high, deep in the heart of Texas.” People south of the panhandle have probably heard about the Texas prairie, but they’d have to travel north to witness it. Wide and high is an understatament. The panhandle is one of the only places in Texas where one can see the horizon and have a sense of the earth curving. When leaving Hartley driving toward Dumas, the windmills just south of Dumas begin to appear on the horizon, more than twenty miles ahead!
“The sage in bloom is like perfume, deep in the heart of Texas,” and blooms in mid to late summer. Although the fourth line, “Reminds me of, the one I love, deep in the heart of Texas” could be said of anyone in Texas, people who live in the panhandle get a daily reminder of the wide and high prairie sky and nightly reminder of stars that are big, deep and bright, a romantic scene by any standard.
The fifth line boasts, “The coyotes wail, along the trail, deep in the heart of Texas,” and anyone living near Rita Blanca Canyon can attest to its truth. There is likely no other place like the Texas panhandle where, “The rabbits rush around the brush, deep in the heart of Texas.” The song ends with “The cowboys cry, ‘Ki-yip-pee-yi,’ deep in the heart of Texas, The dogies bawl, and bawl and bawl, deep in the heart of Texas.” What other song warrants applause (clap, clap, clap, clap) while it’s being sung?
As summer days grow long, the winds grow strong and the prairie grows dry, keep the words close to the heart, because there’s no other place in the world like, “Deep in the Heart of Texas.”