Rick Huff’s Best of the West review:
The MASTERS of cowboy poetry series from CowboyPoetry.com showcases both the masters of writing Western poetic words and masters of delivering those words. It just doesn’t get any better than that.
MASTERS: VOLUME TWO brings us the poetry of S. Omar Barker (1894-1985) on two jam-packed CDs. Included are the most famous of his works and plenty that may well become more famous now. As for the caliber of the reciters, the attuned who read this will only need last names of most: Hedges, Rieman, McMahan, Morton, Steiger, Nelson, Black, Beard, Swearingen, Zarzyski, Isaacs, Groethe, Snider, Hollenbeck and the list goes wonderfully on.
With a total of sixty tracks here to amuse and educate, this collection makes me, born and bred New Mexican, particularly proud to recall that Mr. Barker was one as well. Highly recommended. Lovers of content should be very contented!
© 2018, Rick Huff
Praise for previous CD volumes:
“This album [MASTERS (2017)] represents four of the finest poets to ever come out of cowboy culture. We are not likely to see their kind again and the world should be grateful to Cowboypoetry.com for preserving their voices.” Andy Hedges, songster and host of COWBOY CROSSROADS
“…The annual anthology takes listeners on an oral excursion to places throughout the West, introducing them to colorful cowboy characters, explaining their connection to the land, and telling their tales of tough times and the rewards they receive from living the Western lifestyle…” Jennifer Denison, Senior Editor, Western Horseman
“The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry’s annual anthologies are creating a valuable, high quality and thoroughly enjoyable resource for everyone…” Steve Green, Archivist, Western Folklife Center
“…without peer…intelligently produced… I equate them to one of those Ken Burns specials, like his Civil War, Jazz, or Baseball….the best of the best.” Rick Huff, Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews
“For those of us who love cowboy poetry, this is perhaps the best anthology we’ve yet heard.” Cowboy Magazine
The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry produces compilation CDs of classic and contemporary poetry recitations. The CDs are offered to libraries in the Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week Rural Library project, given as premiums to the Center’s supporters, and available to the public.
MASTERS: VOLUME TWO has over 60 tracks in a double CD of the poetry of S. Omar Barker. Many of today’s top reciters and poets—including individuals, siblings, couples, parents and their offspring—bring forth Barker’s humor and humanity.
Andy Hedges introduces the CD and it includes the voices of J.B. Allen, Amy Hale Auker, Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Baxter Black, Almeda Bradshaw, Jerry A. Brooks, Marleen Bussma, Jim Cathey, Ken Cook, Geff Dawson, Sam DeLeeuw, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Jessica Hedges, Maggie Rose Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Chris Isaacs, Linda Kirkpatrick, Susie Knight, Ross Knox, Jarle Kvale, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Rusty McCall, Gary McMahan, Rod Miller, Waddie Mitchell, Dick Morton, Terry Nash, Andy Nelson, Jim Nelson, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Kay Kelley Nowell, Kent Reeves, Rex Rideout, Randy Rieman, Kent Rollins, Sandy Seaton Sallee, Jay Snider, Red Steagall, Gail Steiger, Tom Swearingen, Smoke Wade, Keith Ward, and Paul Zarzyski.
S. Omar Barker (1894-1985) wrote some 2,000 poems in his long career. He was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman.
It’s told that Barker enjoyed signing his name with his brand, created from his initials and laid sideways for “Lazy SOB,” but, that’s not a completely accurate story. In an article written by Barker for Hoofs and Horns magazine, Barker introduces himself, “This S.O.B. (my initials, not my ancestry) has never claimed to qualify as a sure ‘nough cowboy.” Later in the article, he comments, “Incidentally, when I applied for (Lazy S O B) for our cattle brand, they wrote back that some other S O B already had it. So we had to be satisfied with (Lazy S B).”
The photo below of S. Omar Barker and his horse, which appears inside MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, is courtesy of the S. Omar Barker Estate. Find more about Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.
© Estate of S. Omar Barker; request permission for reproduction
The MASTERS CD is dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.
The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—takes place each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster (by Shawn Cameron in 2019) have been offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Program. The outreach program is part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.
The annual CD is a premium for our supporters and also available for purchase. Find information about past years’ CDs here.
We need your support to continue and expand these programs. Join us and be a part of it all.
Track list and sources
Track list and sources
Tracks were recorded for MASTERS: VOLUME TWO except where noted.
1. INTO THE WEST by S. Omar Barker; Andy Hedges
from Cowboy Songster Vol. 2 (2016)
2. ABOUT S. OMAR BARKER Andy Hedges
3. “PURT NEAR!” by S. Omar Barker; Randy Rieman
from Old Favorites (2003)
4. COW COUNTRY SAYING by S. Omar Barker; Brigid Reedy
5. THE MAIN ITEM by S. Omar Barker; Gary McMahan .
6. COWPUNCHER’S CREED by S. Omar Barker; Amy Hale Auker
7. COW WORK WON’T WAIT by S. Omar Barker; Ken Cook
8. COWBOY’S COMPLAINT by S. Omar Barker; Dick Morton
from Cowboy Classics (2006)
9. ROPE MUSIC by S. Omar Barker; Gail Steiger
10. RAIN ON THE RANGE by S. Omar Barker; Joel Nelson courtesy of the Western Folklife Center, recorded at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2015)
11. SNOWED UNDER by S. Omar Barker; Johnny Reedy
12. COWBOY SAYING by S. Omar Barker; Baxter Black
13. CODE OF THE COW COUNTRY by S. Omar Barker; Geff Dawson
14. COWPUNCHER PRAISE by S. Omar Barker; Floyd Beard
15. WELL GROUNDED by S. Omar Barker; Keith Ward
16. COWBOY’S OPINION by S. Omar Barker; Tom Swearingen
17. HOSSES VERSUS HORSES by S. Omar Barker; Paul Zarzyski
from Spurrin’ the Words (2005), Montana 4-H
18. GRAND CANYON COWBOY by S. Omar Barker; Rusty McCall (1986-2013) from an unreleased CD, Contemporary and Classic Cowboy Poetry (2006)
19. SOME HORSES I HAVE RODE by S. Omar Barker; Floyd Beard
20. MEMO ON MULES by S. Omar Barker; Sandy Seaton Sallee
21. YOU KNOW WHAT HAPPENED by S. Omar Barker; Kent Reeves
22. BEAR HUNTERS BOLD by S. Omar Barker; Ross Knox
from Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day (2006)
23. BRUIN WOOIN’ by S. Omar Barker; Andy Hedges
from Cowboy Recitations (2017)
24. BEAR ROPIN’ BUCKAROO by S. Omar Barker; Terry Nash
from December Stragglers (2013)
25. RULE OF THE RANGE by S. Omar Barker; Chris Isaacs
26. RAWHIDE ROOSTER by S. Omar Barker; Smoke Wade
27. THE RINGTAILED WOWSER by S. Omar Barker; Jerry A. Brooks
28. THE BUFFALO by S. Omar Barker; Susie Knight
29. THE COYOTE by S. Omar Barker; Jarle Kvale
30. CRY, COYOTE! by S. Omar Barker; DW Groethe
1. OLD TIME COWBOYS by S. Omar Barker; Jay Snider
2. THE RIDERS by S. Omar Barker; Andy Hedges
from Episode 3 of the Cowboy Crossroads podcast (2017)
3. ONE OR THE OTHER by S. Omar Barker; Rod Miller
4. WHAT’S A BRONCO? by S. Omar Barker; Gary McMahan
5. RULE FOR RIDIN’ by S. Omar Barker; Geff Dawson
6. FOUR FOOTED DYNAMITE by S. Omar Barker; Chris Isaacs
7. MUSTANG MANNERS by S. Omar Barker; Almeda Bradshaw
8. CORRECTION PLEASE by S. Omar Barker; Maggie Rose Hedges
9. NO DIFFERENCE by S. Omar Barker; Jim Nelson
10. USELESS QUESTION by S. Omar Barker; Kay Kelley Nowell
11. TEXAS ZEPHYR by S. Omar Barker; Linda Kirkpatrick
12. THE CHUCKWAGON by S. Omar Barker; DW Groethe
13. BUCKAROO BREW by S. Omar Barker; Kent Rollins
14. CANNED TERMATERS by S. Omar Barker; J.B. Allen (1938-2005)
from Classics (2005)
15. JACK POTTER’S COURTIN’ by S. Omar Barker; Randy Rieman
from Old Favorites (2003)
16. MUSSED MISS by S. Omar Barker; Andy Nelson
17. OPEN AND SHUT CASE by S. Omar Barker; Yvonne Hollenbeck
18. CAREFUL, COWBOY! by S. Omar Barker; Jessica Hedges
19. DOUBLE ATTRACTION by S. Omar Barker; Valerie Beard
20. BEDTIME STORY by S. Omar Barker; Sam DeLeeuw
21. WATCHIN’ EM RIDE by S. Omar Barker; Keith Ward
22. RANCH MOTHER by S. Omar Barker; Deanna Dickinson McCall
23. RANCHMAN’S WIDOW by S. Omar Barker; Almeda Bradshaw
24. TRAIL DUST by S. Omar Barker; Marleen Bussma
25. COAL MINE by S. Omar Barker; Jerry A. Brooks
26. THE WHITE MUSTANG by S. Omar Barker; Rex Rideout
27. THANKSGIVING ARGUMENT by S. Omar Barker; Waddie Mitchell
28. THREE WISE MEN by S. Omar Barker; Red Steagall
29. COWBOY’S CHRISTMAS PRAYER by S. Omar Barker; Ol’ Jim Cathey
30. COWBOY’S NEW YEAR RESOLUTIONS by S. Omar Barker; Jay Snider
31. RANCHMAN’S RESOLUTIONS by S. Omar Barker; Gail Steiger
32. A COWBOY TOAST by S. Omar Barker; Rodney Nelson
33. CENTER FOR WESTERN AND COWBOY POETRY RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA) Andy Hedges
Thanks to the poets, reciters, and families and to the estate of S. Omar Barker, Andy Hedges, Margaret Allen, Montana 4-H, the Western Folklife Center, the Cowboy Crossroads podcast, Andy Nelson and Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio, Totsie Slover and The Real West from the Old West radio, Craig Stuke, and Chris Kirby. Produced by Margo Metegrano and compiled and mastered by Butch Hause at the Ranger Station Studio, Berthoud, Colorado, all with generous funding support from Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield, Jr. and our community’s all-important sustaining donors.
Dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.
The MASTERS: VOLUME TWO CD is available for $25 postpaid. Order with a credit card at Paypal or by mail: CowboyPoetry.com, Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450.
Cowboy poetry records the heartbeat of the working West, a tradition that spans three centuries. Its enduring popularity is celebrated at today’s cowboy poetry gatherings and daily in social media and at CowboyPoetry.com, a program of the non-profit Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc.
The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—takes place each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster (by Clara Smith in 2018) have been offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Program. The outreach program is part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.