Paint Your Wagon was the rare Broadway flop for late desert resident Frederick Loewe and his partner Alan Jay Lerner (it lasted 289 performances), but one tune in the score paid off bigly: the lonesome-cowboy ditty “They Call the Wind Maria.” A wide range of recording artists covered it — from the Baja Marimba Band and Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers to The Kingston Trio and Jim Nabors. (Clint Eastwood probably hopes you’ve forgotten his ingenue rendition in the 1969 Paramount production.)

But with all props to lyricist Lerner, a-way out here in the Coachella Valley, we have names for the winds, too. There are, for example, the “gusties,” those idiot winds (get the Bob Dylan reference?) that swoop across our landscape, selecting targets at random and cavalierly propelling poolside umbrellas and restaurant tablecloths aloft…”

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