COWBOY BRAG TALK
I was born full growed
with nine rows of jaw teeth
and holes bored for more.
There was spurs on my feet
and a rawhide quirt in my hand,
and when they opens the chute
I come out a-riding a panther
and a-roping the long-horned whales.
I’ve rode everything with hair on it…
and I’ve rode a few things
that was too rough to grow any hair.
I’ve rode bull moose on the prod,
she grizzlies and long bolts of lightning.
Mountain lions are my playmates,
and when I feels cold and lonesome,
I sleeps in a den of rattlesnakes ‘
cause they always makes me nice and warm.
To keep alive
I eat stick dynamite and cactus.
The Grand Canyon
ain’t nothin’ but my bean hole.
When I get thirsty
I drink cyanide cut with alkali.
When I go to sleep
I pillow my head on the Big Horn,
I lay my boots
in Colorada and my hat in Montana.
I can stretch out my arms clean out
from the Crazy Woman Folk plumb over
to the Upper Grey Bull River.
My bed tarp covers half of Texas
and all of old Mexico.
But there’s one thing
for sure and certain,
and if you boys wants to know,
I’ll tell you that
I’m still a long way short
of being the daddy of ’em all…
’cause he’s full growed,
and as any man that really knows can see
—well, boys, I ain’t nothing but a young ‘un.
You may have heard this traditional “cowboy brag” before, but you have never heard a delivery as convincing as that by Andy Hedges, an extraordinary interpreter of cowboy poetry and music. His talents are generously displayed in his brand new album, Cowboy Recitations.
We asked Andy Hedges about his inspiration for the collection, his first poetry album in 15 years, and he told us, “Cowboy Recitations is a project that has been brewing for a long time. Although I’ve been playing music a lot for the last several years, my first love is for the spoken word. The poems on this album are ones that have stuck with me over the years – some classic, some obscure, some old, some new. All are written by people that I admire. It’s a joy to share them.”
In introducing the project, respected reciter Randy Rieman calls Andy Hedges one of the “finest practitioners” of the traditions of cowboy culture, with “an intuitive intelligence for the art form that few possess,” and “authentic voice,” and claims that “none take the stage with more humility and integrity.” Agreed.
The impeccable track list offers particular standouts such as the lesser-heard “The Rodeo Hand” by Peter La Farge; a masterful handling of Larry McWhorter’s “The Red Cow”; and a reverential recitation of Joel Nelson’s “On Finding Someone.” Two selections, Curley Fletcher’s “The Pot Wrassler” and D.J. O’Malley’s “The D-2 Horse Wrangler” are presented in a fine old traditional acapella style. Other familiar classic poets’ works include poems by S. Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskaddon, and Charles Badger Clark. Outstanding poems by modern masters Buck Ramsey and Andy Wilkinson are included. And, there’s more.
Every reciter of cowboy poetry can learn much from this new release, and it belongs in the collection of every fan of the genre.
Find more about Andy Hedges at www.andyhedges.com. Another gift he gives to those who care about cowboy poetry and music traditions is his new “Cowboy Crossroads” podcast, with informative and enlightening interviews with the likes of Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, and Ross Knox, just for starters.
Andy Hedges is headed to the Western Folklife Center’s 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (January 30-February 4, 2017), where he is involved in some of the top events.
The complete lineup includes Amy Hale Auker – Prescott, AZ; Mike Beck – Monterey, CA; Luke Bell – Cody, WY; Jerry Brooks – Sevier, UT; Cowboy Celtic -Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada; Doris Daley – Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada; John Dofflemyer – Lemon Cove, CA; Carolyn Dufurrena – Winnemucca, NV; Maria Lisa Eastman – Hyattville, WY; Don Edwards – Hico, TX; Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – Marshall, CA; Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow – Hillsborough, NC; Patricia Frolander – Sundance, WY; DW Groethe – Bainville, MT; Kristyn Harris – McKinney, TX; Andy Hedges – Lubbock, TX; Brenn Hill – Hooper, UT
Teresa Jordan – Virgin, UT; Ross Knox – Midpines, CA;Jarle Kvale – Dunseith, ND; Daron Little – Encampment, WY; Corb Lund – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada; Doug Moreland & the Flying Armadillos – Manchaca, TX; Joel Nelson – Alpine, TX; Rodney Nelson – Almont, ND; Shadd Piehl – Mandan, ND; Vess Quinlan – Florence, CO; Henry Real Bird – Garryowen, MT; Brigid Reedy – Boulder, MT; Randy Rieman – Dillon, MT; Kent Rollins – Hollis, OK; Jack Sammon – Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia; Martha Scanlan & Jon Neufeld – Birney, MT; Trinity Seely – Cascade, MT; Sean Sexton – Vero Beach, FL; Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong – Paradise, CA; R.P. Smith – Broken Bow, NE; Dave Stamey – Orange Cove, CA; Gail Steiger – Prescott, AZ; Rod Taylor – Cimarron, NM; Ian Tyson – Longview, Alberta, Canada; Keith Ward – Vilas, NC; Andy Wilkinson – Lubbock, TX; and Paul Zarzyski – Great Falls, MT.