Throughout the 1970s and the early 1980s, HERC spent most Summers with his Texas grandparents - if given the choice. Most of those evenings, he'd ride just outside of town with them as they worked their secondary jobs as managers of the Cow Talk Steak House. HERC would roam the premises - there was a fully functioning auction barn attached with stalls full of horses and cattle as well as the occasional hog - but spent most of his time sitting on a stool at the counter, staring at the frosted coolers full of cans and bottles of beer and soda, nursing a Mr. Frosty root beer in a pull-top can and eating all the french fires he could while listening to the jukebox. "The Happiest Girl In The Whole U.S.A." is the first song he remembers hearing in that ideal environment for an eight year old music lover sometime in the Summer of 1974. The song was an early country pop crossover, peaking at #11 on the Hot 100 in the Summer of 1972. HERC still knows every word by heart and is not ashamed to admit he sings it loud and proud, much to the delight of MRS. HERC.
Lest you get the idea that the Cow Talk jukebox was all the country you could want for a quarter, let HERC assure you it was stocked with major pop, rock and soul hits of the day as well as recurrant oldies. HERC never had the fortune to meet the man who stocked and manitained the jukebox as he usually showed up first thing in the morning but if could, HERC would shake his hand and tell him "thank you" as that jukebox only enhanced and expanded HERC's steady AM radio diet. That jukebox still looms extra large in HERC's musical memory and when he first signed onto Songza a few years back, the very first playlist he curated was based on his memory of it. Listen below.