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Cold War Music from the Golden Age of Homeland Security

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Relax And Take It Easy: Tommy Duncan [1951]

After so many panicky and fearful atomic songs, this one acts as a bit of a refreshing antidote. Was this tune a calculated counter-reaction all the previous 'fearful' Bomb songs (not to mention the country’s obsession with civil defense)? Who knows? But the attitude of the lyrics probably made a lot of listeners at the time smile. The inclusion of a verse advising a cuckolded husband to keep his cool is the kind of out of left field thematic maneuver that could only be found in a country Bomb song.

Thomas Elmer Duncan was born in 1911 in Hillsboro, Texas. In the '30s Duncan began his long association with Bob Wills, joining his band after an audition in which Wills overlooked Duncan's background in blues. In 1940 Bob Wills and The Texas Playboys would record one of their best known songs, San Antonio Rose (they had recorded it as an instrumental in 1938, but this time Duncan added his distinctive voice). In 1941, Duncan and the band appeared in the movie 'Go West Young Lady.' Duncan enlisted in the army during World War II and afterwards returned to the band where he remained until 1948 at which point he decided to put his own band together. Duncan's new outfit was called The Western All-Stars and they recorded and performed for a couple of years through 1949. The group had one hit on Capitol with the Jimmie Rodgers song Gamblin' Polka Dot Blues. During the next ten years Duncan recorded solo and with The Miller Brothers Band on the Intro label and as a solo artist for Coral. In the mid-to-late '50s he recorded occasionally for Cheyenne, Award, and Fire. In 1960 Duncan rejoined Wills on the Liberty label. Duncan's last solo single was for Smash in 1966: I Brought It On Myself/Let Me Take You Out. Duncan died of a heart attack in 1967.

LYRICS/TRANSCRIPTION:
Relax And Take It Easy: Tommy Duncan [1951]

We read in all the papers of the things that may come
Someone may get mean enough to drop an atom bomb
If one by chance should fall nearby while you’re sailin’ through the sky
Just sit back, enjoy the ride, and bid the world goodbye.

Refrain: Relax and take it easy
You know what I mean
Don’t be nervous, don’t get excited
It may all turn out to be just a dream

If you should come home late some night and find a stranger there
Visiting your little wife, let on that you don’t care
Don’t blow your top and rant and rave as a jealous husband would
She will say that you are wrong, that you misunderstood.

Refrain

If you should wake up late some night and find your garage on fire
There’s no reason you should try to save the family car
Just walk, don’t run, and telephone to the fire insurance man
Ease your conscience, pray for rain, stand back and warm your hands.

Refrain

Tommy Duncan [1951]
Relax And Take It Easy
(Whitey Simpson)
Intro 6037

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