Recently, Mark Bittman described California’s Central Valley as a “land of oil derricks, lowriders and truck stops with Punjabi food.”

That lower “oil derrick” stratum is built out of Okies, Texans & Arkies. They came to work in agriculture and the oilfields and some stayed to make music. Homer Joy (1945-2012) wrote the song “Streets or Bakersfield” in 1972 for Buck Owens, who nailed the “Bakersfield Sound” in the 60s. Dwight Yoakum covered the tune in 1988 as a duet with Buck and added Norteño accordion player Flaco Jiménez. Probably needs a new version with added Hmong Đàn môi (jews harp) and Punjabi rebab or harmonium.


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