Welcome to Music Friday when we bring you classic tunes with jewelry, gemstones or precious metals in the title or lyrics. Today, Hank Williams Jr. tells the story of his 700-mile Southwestern odyssey in a 1975 song called “Clovis, New Mexico.”

Williams recounts how he and his bronc-riding pal, Billy, head out on a very-low-budget adventure that takes them from Bossier City, LA, to Abilene, TX, and finally to Clovis, NM, where Williams is smitten by a black-haired beauty with green eyes — who just happens to be the local purveyor of silver and turquoise jewelry.

He sings, “I needed some strings / Billy wanted a ring / The kind that the Indians made / A voice said hello boys / I’ve got silver and turquoise / And that’s when I saw her face.”

Williams’ trek in an old pickup truck was not scheduled to end up in Clovis, but that's where he falls in love with a gal he calls “Baby.” He describes her as a “born thriller,” who had a talent for writing lines to songs he couldn’t complete.

“Clovis, New Mexico” was the sixth track on the country singer’s critically acclaimed, breakthrough 1975 album, Hank William, Jr. & Friends. Allmusic editor Thom Jurek wrote that Williams’ release was “one of the best country-rock albums ever made and stands with the best of the outlaw recordings of the era.” It was originally released in 1975 and then re-released in 2000.

Critics claim that the album marks a critical period in Williams’ career when his music veers toward country rock and he develops his own style instead of imitating his famous dad, Hank Williams Sr.

Williams is also a talented musician who can play the guitar, bass guitar, upright bass, steel guitar, banjo, dobro, piano, keyboards, harmonica, fiddle and drums. He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2020.

Born in Shreveport, La., Williams was given the nickname Bocephus as an infant by his dad, who died tragically in 1953 at the age of 29. (Grand Ole Opry fans may remember that Bochephus was the name of the ventriloquist's dummy that co-starred with comedian Rod Brasfield.)

The 72-year-old is still actively touring, with engagements scheduled in 14 states from the end of May through the middle of August.

We hope you enjoy the audio track of Williams’ performance of “Clovis, New Mexico.” The lyrics are below if you’d like to sing along…

“Clovis, New Mexico”
Written and performed by Hank Williams, Jr.

Well me and Billy
We left Bossier City
Decided that we’d head out west
Been east and south
But it didn’t workout
We were getting’ nowhere fast
Me with my guitar
And him with his saddle
Tryin’ to out do the rest
I sang my heart out
And he rides them broncs now
And that’s what me and Billy do best.

We took interstate 20
‘Til we ran out of money
In a place just past Abilene
So I sang at a honky-tonk
And he broke the bad bronc
And we bought some gas and some beans.

With a whole lot of luck
And an old pickup truck
We made it to New Mexico
We pulled up in Clovis
And I sure didn’t know this
Was as far as I ever would go.

I needed some strings
Billy wanted a ring
The kind that the Indians made
A voice said hello boys
I’ve got silver and turquoise
And that’s when I saw her face.

That’s when I noticed
That girl down in Clovis
A black haired beauty
She set a fire to me
A green eyed lady
In old jeans that were faded
No I didn’t notice
What happened in Clovis
But I called her baby.

I asked her with care
If she’d like to share
An evening with someone like I
I said I ain’t a winner
Just a hard livin’ singer
She smiled and said meet me at nine
We ate tacos and talked
And then we took a walk
In the clean southwestern air
Then we went back to her house
I took my guitar out
And sang of my joy and despair.

She served me her wine
And she helped me write lines
To songs I could not complete
And her eyes seemed to say
Put that guitar away
That’s somethin’ that both of us need.

What a beautiful site
Was her face in the light
And the candles there on the wall
And we reached the height
Of good love on that night
And I hope we never will part.

And I’m glad I noticed
That girl down in Clovis
Daughter of a driller
She’s a born thriller
A green eyed lady
Kinda wild, kinda lazy
I didn’t notice
What happened in Clovis
But I called her baby.

Credit: Photo by Andrea Klein, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

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