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50 Greatest City, State, And Town Songs – #47: “Saginaw, Michigan” by Lefty Frizzell

April 7, 2008

Saginaw, Michigan

Greatest City, State, And Town Songs: #47

“Saginaw, Michigan” by Lefty Frizzell

Album: “Saginaw Michigan”, “Lefty Frizzell: 16 Biggest Hits”

Chart Peak: #1

City, State, or Town: Saginaw, Michigan

The man who became an icon to today’s icons, Lefty Frizzell, scored a #1 country hit in the 60s based on the northern state of Michigan. Although Lefty never lived in Michigan, his experience preceded him by proving, as he had done before, that he could use his easy and relaxed voice to tell an effective and entertaining story. Lefty puts himself in the position of a man from Michigan who is put down due to his lifestyle by the father of the woman he loves.

The neat feature of this song is that is also brings Alaska briefly into the twist. Alaska was a popular area for gold hunters at the time of the song. To set the scene the character portrayed by Lefty is the son of a Michigan fisherman, a label that his girl’s father sees unfitting for his daughter to wed. In an attempt to relieve himself of that label the man travels to Alaska and falsely spreads the news that he will be returning home to Michigan after realing in the big catch in the gold rush. His lover’s stuck up father immediately changes his tune and decides to buy his new son-in-law’s Klondike claim, the Klondike being the river and area that the gold rush was named after.

In the end the father is played for a fool and ends up with nothing while the fisherman’s song is left to marry his daughter in Michigan. The father ends up so ashamed and embarrassed he refuses to return to Saginaw again. No one can tell a story quite like Left Frizzell. It’s easy to follow and by the end of the song you’re playing it over and over again because the scheme of things never gets old. It should also be credited that lefty took a stereotypically non-country state and incorporated it into the genre quite well as well as touching on historical events that are now imprinted in music forever. Although he may never have lived in Michigan, Lefty sang it like he was that fisherman’s son and understood the life of a Saginaw native.

Location of Saginaw within Saginaw County, Michigan

One Comment leave one →
  1. October 16, 2011 9:20 am

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