A Staff Report from the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board

In the country song "Longhaired Redneck," who's this Rodriguez who stole the goat?

April 28, 2000

Dear Straight Dope:

In David Allen Coe's song "Longhaired Redneck," he says the following: "Johnny Cash helped me get out of prison / Long before Rodriguez stole that goat." Who the heck is Rodriguez and why he did he feel it necessary to steal a goat? I've asked some old-timer country music listeners and none of them know.

The Rodriguez mentioned in that song is country singer Johnny Rodriguez. This from his bio on www.countrymusic.com:

Success came to Rodriguez. He didn't necessarily come to it. Success kind of found him . . .  it found him in jail at age 18. Oddly enough, it was being in jail that gave him his first break. Caught with friends for stealing and barbecuing a goat, Rodriguez says he took the rap for all his buddies. "I'm never going to live that story down," Johnny laughs and shakes his head when reminded of how he had been discovered. Too ashamed to tell his parents where he was, Rodriguez spent nearly four months in jail after Texas Ranger Joaquin Jackson had arrested him. "I was always running off like that. My family figured I'd be home someday," says Johnny. His jailhouse singing enthralled the Texas Ranger who told a "Wild West Town" promoter about Rodriguez. The promoter hired Johnny to perform as a cowboy, to wrangle horses, do gunfight skits, and sing. It was while singing there at the Alamo Village Park that he was heard by country music artists Tom T. Hall and Bobby Bare.

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