DONATIN’ RODEO STYLE by Baxter Black

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DONATIN’ RODEO STYLE
by Baxter Black

There’s a piece of little finger on a fence out in Cheyenne
They had a wild horse race and I thought I’d lend a hand

I gave a bite of ear lobe to a bronc in Calgary
A souvenir, I reckon, so he’d remember me

A hank of hair is clingin’ to a light pole in Raton
Where we both went up together but I come down all alone

In Omaha, Nebraska I left a chunk of chin
I tried to find it later but I forgot where all I’d been

I left bone chips down in Tucson with a doctor and his nurse
Gave blood in Oklahoma just to help me reimburse

My pardners I was owin’ for the gas to Angelo
Where I’d grudgingly donated a percentage of my toe

An Oakdale corriente took the tip off of my thumb
And this cast I got in Denver is a little cumbersome

A doggin’ steer in Billings took a bit of this eyebrow
When he thought he thought he’d do some farmin’ and used me for a plow

A bull in Garden City took interest in my nose
And peeled the top off of it, for his scrapbook, I suppose

I’ve got shrapnel in my body from arenas far and near
From Bismarck, Cedar City, Winnemucca and Pierre

Pendleton, Ellensburg, Shreveport and Dubuque
When I start to think about it, it makes me kinda spook

Though I’ve made quite a collection, I only think it’s fair
’cause pieces of my body I left scattered everywhere

Enough hide to make a riggin’, enough hair to braid a rein
Enough teeth to make a necklace, enough to build a brain

I’ve left a trail of things I’ve lost like heart and soul and mind
But them that went before me left some of theirs behind

So I borrowed ’em and used ’em like they meant for me to do
And I’ll leave ’em for the next guy and if that next guy’s you

When you run short of courage or losin’ gets you down
Remember them before you left somethin’ in the ground

And in the chute or ropin’ box or floatin’ in the air
It’s the ghost of every cowboy who ever entered there

Every ridin’, ropin’ outlaw left you some will to win
Just look around ya, pardner.
You’ll find a piece of skin.

© Baxter Black, used with permission, from A Commotion of Rhyme (2018)

There’s no time like now to celebrate rodeo.

This is just one of the poems in Baxter Black’s brand new book of poems, prose, and plenty of cowboy philosophy, A Commotion in Rhyme. He introduces the poem, “This poem, as well as ‘Legacy of a Rodeo Man,’ was used in the move 8 Seconds. “Legacy’ was later used often, including being the inspiration for the RAM truck ad campaign ‘Guts and Glory.'”

The book is chock full of entertainment and overflowing humor, including laugh-out-loud multiple choice Ag Trivia Quizzes; pieces such as “Women Who Love Cowboys” and “The Potato Salad Principle”‘ and poems as varied as this one and “Why Cowboy Poetry is Funny.” The attractive 250-page hardcover includes drawings by top illustrators.

In the Introduction, Baxter Black reflects on his career from Vet school to the stage and considers “luck” a large percent of his success. He offers a lot of luck-backed reasons and closes with, “I can live with those reasons, but I do know this: without you, the countless thousands, millions who have climbed on my entertainment wagon and kept it going, I’d be a country vet somewhere takin’ care of your cows. And…I guess that wouldn’t be so bad either.”

Just in time for Christmas, find more at baxterblack.com.

A reminder about Baxter’s policies of use for his poetry, from his office: Baxter is busy with many media projects; he has retired from live performances. Since Baxter Black is no longer doing live performances, there are inquiries about others using his material in their performances. His policy is that anyone is welcome use his material in appropriate occasions, including non-profit or paid-for performances. He requests that the poems or stories be performed the way they are written, allowing for editing of length if needed. Please give the author credit.

His office adds that no one, for any reason, has permission to include his work “on cds, books, or dvds…or to try to sell it in any manner, including online.”

 

SEASONS by Rodney Nelson

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SEASONS
by Rodney Nelson

They claim we have four seasons,
Summer, Winter, Fall and Spring,
But I guess it’s just a theory
And doesn’t mean a thing.

The frost never really leaves us
‘Cause it’s always in our minds.
The ground is barely warming up
When we crawl off our behinds

To begin the yearly ritual
Like the grooming of the fields,
For any moment wasted
Affects the average yields.

With the calving and the fencing
And the fixing every day,
Before we even know it
We’re a sweating, making hay.

We’ve barely shucked the long johns
When the fireworks report.
The Fourth is now upon us
And the summer’s getting short.

The pace gets ever frantic
With the harvest coming on.
One day you see a school bus
And you know the summer’s gone.

You have to get the work done,
You have to beat the frost.
If you cheat the growing season
You’ll have to bear the cost.

It’s hard to get the hay hauled
‘Cause we’re seeing way less sun.
It’s time to get all winterized
And get the weaning done.

Let’s say you haven’t weakened
And you’ve maintained the pace,
There’s a chance you might be ready
When the snow beats on your face.

So I doubt there are four seasons
There are only two, I fear,
There’s the one we’re getting ready
And the one when winter’s here.

But I’ll say this for winter,
For all its frigid blasts,
It’s the season we’ve been working for
And the only one that lasts!

…Rodney Nelson, used with permission.

North Dakota rancher, poet, columnist, and Senior Pro Rodeo champion Rodney Nelson includes this poem in his new book, Up Sims Creek: The Third Trip. The book includes 100 selections from his popular”Up Sims Creek” column in Farm and Ranch Guide. The columns include poems and prose and are full of vivid, mostly humorous accounts of rural life. He has written 610 columns to date and has now collected the first 300 in three books.

The cover of the new book depicts the store on Sims’ Main Street. It and the book’s illustrations are by North Dakota farmer and rancher Scott Nelson, whose drawings appear in Rodney’s other books, including his heartwarming Wilbur’s Christmas Gift book.

Rodney and Scott are both known for their lack of marketing enthusiasm. Rodney writes in his current column, “A lot of people ask or assume Scott and I are related. We are not related but both of us were blessed with a name we could spell easily by the time we reached third grade.

“Scott and I do share the same marketing skills. If asked what Scott would charge for a painting or a sketch he would likely roll his eyes and ask why anyone would want one…

“I have often left on a book selling trip with high expectations of making lots of sales. After driving considerable distances to some town, I typically look for some place that would be willing to sell them. Usually, after a couple laps around Main Street, I decide I should probably try some other town.”

So to help readers find his books, here’s another quote from the column, “The first 100 trips is $13, the second and third books are $20 each. I still have plenty copies Wilbur’s Christmas Gift available so for $10. All are postpaid to make it easy.” Contact him at 4905 44th St., Almont, ND 58520.

Rodney Nelson returns to the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering January 28 – February 2, 2019. Check out their YouTube channel for performances by Rodney Nelson and much, much more.

The lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, and Paul Zarzyski. Find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

Find more about Rodney Nelson, some of his poetry, and information about his earlier books and CDs at CowboyPoetry.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but please request permission for any additional uses.)

THE LESSON by Sally Harper Bates

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THE LESSON
by Sally Harper Bates

Leathered hands, arthritic and broken
Caressed the strings of the worn old saddle
Nails were split and callouses formed
As he pushed and pulled and pressed and reformed.

“This one’s for you,” was the message he gave
As his great-grandson watched, eyes ablaze
The admiration fair hung in the air
As I watched, and heard what passed twixt the pair

“Why do you do it like that, Grampa?”
“Just watch, and see, use your eyes and your brain.”
Was all the wrinkled old man replied
As he twisted and platted and measured again.

The razor sharp knife split the leather with ease
Then the second string was braided back through
And repeated to form the knot so tight
Then he shifted his weight on the wobbly stool.

The younger grew quiet, his eyes like a hawk
As he worshipped, and watched, and he gleaned
Not a word passed between as the lesson ensued
An old saddle re-made, and then cleaned.

“It’s yours now, young man. Keep it oiled and clean,
As you gather and ride to the cattle
One thing left to say, one thing I will add
Whatever may come, whatever may go,
don’t ever … sell your saddle.”

© 2018, Sally Harper Bates
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without permission

Sally Harper Bates grew up on ranches and worked on them, and the popular poet, storyteller, songwriter, and editor chose women with similar backgrounds for a richly varied new collection, Facing West; Voices of Western Women.

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The poems, stories, and lyrics reflect the vibrant world of the working West. Sally Harper Bates writes in her introduction, “…The lines you will find herein are exemplary of culture, heritage, and traditions. Fears, hopes, dreams, suffering, and joy…I hear the voices of women in our beloved West,telling their stories, singing their songs, and setting their hearts down on paper.”

Contributors include Mary Abbott, Amy Hale Auker, Sally Harper Bates, Valerie Beard, Virginia Bennett, Sequent Bodine, Betty Burlingham, Shawn Cameron, Lola Chiantaretto, Cherie Cloudt, Jiminell Cook, Terry Crowley, Sam DeLeeuw, Daisy Dillard, Jody Drake, Bunny Dryden, Tandy Drye, Susan Gahr, Peggy Godfrey, Audrey Hankins, Jeanie Hankins, Roni Harper, Jessica Hedges, Sandy Heller, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Carole Jarvis, Randi Johnson, Sue Jones, Suzi Killman, Cindy King, Mary Matli, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Billie Jo McFarland, Charlotte Allgood McCoy, Bertha Monroe, Janet Moore, Kay Kelley Nowell, Evelyn Perkins, Karen Perkins, Jean Prescott, Jody Presley, Janet McMillan Rives, Darla Robinson, Perilee Sharp, Shirley Tecklenburg, Heidi Thomas, Frances Vance, Andrea Waitley, Carrol Williams, Jolyn Young, and Kip Calahan Young.

The cover of Facing West is a painting by Marless Fellows and design by Steve Atkinson. Other illustrations in the book are by Mike Capron and Lynn Brown.

Find more at Arizona Cowboy Connection on Facebook.

This photograph, “Detail of cowboy’s saddle. Roundup near Marfa, Texas,” is by Russell Lee (1903-1986) and is from The Library of Congress, part of the Farm Security Administration/Office of War Information collection.

Find a feature about noted photographer and teacher Russell Lee with a gallery of photographs from the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but for other uses, request permission. The photograph is in the public domain.)

WAY OUT WEST: Photographs from the Farm Security Administration 1936-1943 by Charlie Seemann

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These days we are saturated with electronic images: photographs, graphics, and video. Contemplating a print book of photographs can become a meditative escape. In the case of of Charlie Seemann’s recent book, Way Out West: Photographs from the Farm Security Administration 1936-1943, it is also a satisfying journey back in time.

The Farm Security Administration (FSA) was a result of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s “New Deal,” part of a group of federal programs intended to counter the effects of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl. Ranch-raised Roy Stryker headed the FSA’s photographic project and hired some of the country’s most respected photographers, telling them, “I want you take pictures of everything you can find of what’s happening to people.” The project resulted in over 77,500 photographs.

Folklorist Seemann, retired Executive Director of the Western Folklife Center, focuses on the works of several of the photographers, including Dorothea Lange, Russell Lee, Arthur Rothstein, Marion Post Wolcott, John Collier Jr., and John Vachon. Rothstein is quoted about the project, “There was a feeling that you were in on something new and exiting, a missionary sense of dedication to this project, of making the world a better place to live in.”

The book begins with Bruce Kiskaddon’s “Headin’ Fer the New Deal,” a poem dedicated to President Franklin D. Roosevelt:

We’re headin’ fer the NEW DEAL now. We’ve had some awful years.
We recollect them two cent cows, and them there four cent steers.
Besides the calves that got so cheap; the wust I’ve ever seen.
It made their mothers stand and weep the day that they were weaned.
….

Way Out West captures a time of transition in the West, when cars, trucks, electricity, the telephone, and other developments changed forever the remote ranges in places with names like Dead Ox Flat and Pie Town and Spur. The careful selection of photographs  preserves a world at once familiar and also lost to time.

One of the book’s first photographs, Russell Lee’s 1939 image titled, “Mr. Bias, former cowboy, travels around the country in a trailer. Has private income. Weslaco, Texas” is a study in personality, atmosphere, and design. The genius of the photographer pulls you into the eclectic abode, and you can nearly hear the music coming from the well-used fiddle and—though like all of these photos it is black and white—see the bright colors of everything from the wild rag to the Indian blankets to the linoleum pattern and a Kewpie doll.

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Mr. Bias, former cowboy, now travels around the country in a trailer. Has
private income. Weslaco, Texas
Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, 1939 Feb., Library of Congress.

Readers have likely seen some of these iconic photos before (they are often used to accompany poems at CowboyPoetry.com). Charlie Seemann puts them in context, with brief but incisive biographies of the photographers and enlightening short descriptive pieces that include cowboys music, boots, chuck wagons, bunkhouses, washing machines, rodeo, water witching, and beyond.

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Cowhand shaving. Quarter Circle ‘U’ Ranch, Montana
Rothstein, Arthur, 1915-1985, 1939 June. Library of Congress.

In one of those pieces, “The Arrival of the Automobile,” Seemann writes about the importance of the coming of the automobile to isolated ranches and notes that, “Many ranches had automobiles before they they had indoor plumbing. One ranch wife, when asked why she wanted a car before indoor plumbing, reportedly replied, ‘You can’t go to town in a bathtub.'”

The reach of the photographs is wide: saddle shops, stock shows, ranch views, ranch work, cattle, beer parlors, cowboy portraits, gear, cooks, cowboy bands, and more.

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Moreno Valley, Colfax County, New Mexico. John Mutz and George Turner,
ranchers, talking things over
Collier, John, Jr., 1913-1992, 1943 Feb. Library of Congress.

The opportunity to study high quality reproductions in an impressively designed medium-sized format is an irresistible invitation for the imagination.

The informative introduction, solid bibliography and links enhance this volume. It comes close to being the perfect gift, one which will be of interest to anyone who cares about history, photography, and the American West.

Way Out West comes from Twodot, an imprint of Glove Pequot, Rowman & Littlefield. Find more about it at the publisher and other booksellers.

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Quemado, New Mexico. Bronc busting at the rodeo
Lee, Russell, 1903-1986, 1940 June. Library of Congress.

SCRAMBLED WISDOM ALMOST ISN’T IS…IS IT by Baxter Black

11-17-Baxter Black- Scrambled Wisdom [Almost Isn't Is, Is It]

Top poet, writer, and cowboy philosopher Baxter Black dedicates his latest book, Scrambled Wisdom: Almost isn’t is … is it, to the late, much-missed funnyman and cowboy poet Pat Richardson. Baxter describes Pat, “…He was droll, with a monotone delivery and every time you’d take a breath he’d drop a knee-slappin’, dog barkin’, rarin’ back, stomp on the floor till the possum is dead ‘one liner’…that brought the house down!”

There are “Pat stories” sprinkled throughout. Baxter famously once said of Pat’s poetry, “If you boiled cowboy poetry down to what’s worth savin’, this is what the stew would smell like.” These two larger-than-life comic geniuses have inspired so many.

Scrambled Wisdom… lives up to its title. There are pithy observations on life, some with “afterthoughts” (“A cowboy without a horse is like a bird without wings. A cowboy without wings is like a bow-legged ostrich!”); aphorisms; quotations; jokes; asides; life lessons, advice (“If you can’t be kind, at least be vague”); and more. Always known for loyalty to his friends, there are mentions of and derived wisdom from many familiar names, such as Dave Stamey, Les Buffham and Mike Fleming, Elmer Kelton, “Vikki’s Grandpa Bill,” and many others. Shakespeare, the Bible, and Theodore Roosevelt are represented.

The wacky wisdom is served up in one-page commentaries and sprinkle of poems, loosely collected in chapters: “Cowboy Up,” “Cowboy Logic,” “Horses,” “Rodeo,” “Farmers,” “Vets and Dogs,” “Workin’ Cattle,” “Cow Bidness,” “Mumbles,” “Out There,” “Flag and Family,” “Riding Drag,” and even “Seriously, Sort Of” (fear not).

With pieces as varied as “On Cowboy Advice to the Lovelorn,” “On Carpooling the Cowboy Way” and “On Lizard Abuse,” there are definitely more topics than a sane person could imagine. The illustrations (inside by Charlie Marsh and Etienne “A-10” Etcheverry, cover by Bob Black) are also wild and numerous and even the credits are laced with hilarity (“Bob lives in Arizona with his beautiful life and sneezes for a living.”).

Don’t look for political correctness and there is plenty that would make a librarian clutch her pearls. Most would say that is what they value in Baxter Black’s humor.

The small-format hardcover is chock full of fun, and a perfect gift. Visit baxterblack.com for order info and special holiday deals.

 

Rick Huff’s “Best of the West Reviews,” Winter, 2017

 

Rick Huff reviews Western music and cowboy poetry releases in his “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews” column in The Western Way from the Western Music Association and in other publications.

Rick Huff considers Western music books and recordings; cowboy poetry books, chapbooks, and recordings;  and relevant videos for review. For other materials, please query first: bestofthewest@swcp.com.

Please be sure to include complete contact information, price (plus postage) and order address information.

From Rick Huff, February, 2012:

Policy of the Column: It should be understood by artists sending material that it is being done for review consideration. Submitting such material does not ensure that it will be reviewed. Also, predominantly religious material is not accepted for review in the column. If further clarification is needed, contact Rick Huff, PO Box 8442, Albuquerque, NM 87198-8442.

Find other recent reviews here and hundreds of previous reviews on CowboyPoetry.com.

Find current and past reviews published in The Western Way at the Western Music Association site.

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Selections from “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews,” Winter, 2017, below:

•  Baxter Black  SCRAMBLED WISDOM ALMOST ISN’T IS…IS IT
• 
Terry Nash A GOOD RIDE
•  Rod Miller  RAWHIDE ROBINSON RIDES A DROMEDARY
• 
Bob Marshall SCREEN DOOR 

 

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11-17-Baxter Black- Scrambled Wisdom [Almost Isn't Is, Is It]

SCRAMBLED WISDOM ALMOST ISN’T IS…IS IT
by Baxter Black

If the various computer auto-corrects through which it will run actually allow Baxter Black’s title for his latest book to remain unmolested without major reprogramming, it’ll be a miracle!  Or as Black puts at one point in the book: “Anlkadhtlid;s;apoliet eto tpnongljeryrypp (and this applies to typing, too)!”

Here we have a collection of mini-essays and some poems, each with an afterthought (or Baxterthought?)…such as “if life gives you llamas, make llamanade” and “if three out of four people suffer from diarrhea, does that mean one out of five enjoys it” and “(when) Horace Greeley said ‘go west, young man’…three hundred people in San Francisco drowned.”  You get the picture, and boy what a picture.  The book is dedicated to the late Pat Richardson, and some of his pearls are strung in as well.

There’s a good measure of education here on the perils, strangeness, wonder, wackiness and indispensability of the agricultural life.  Therefore, might we say Black’s lives matter?  Occasionally some of it will be best appreciated by his target audience and some of his traditional targets are again in his cross-hairs, but when he pitches haymakers, he’s just feeding the herd.  Recommended, but then when would something from BB not be?

Book (162 pages) – baxterblack.com

©2017, Rick Huff

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11-17-Terry Nash-A Good Ride

A GOOD RIDE
by Terry Nash

First, Terry Nash is, beyond a doubt, one of the best Cowboy Poets writing or delivering today.  I have always found his releases to be worth both your time and investment.

Badger Clark’s “Ridin’” was put to music as a song some years back. For this album, guitarist Ken Dravis helps to create a different but equally suitable mounting for Nash’s enthusiastic take on it.  Beyond the Clark cover, others include works of Kiskaddon (“The Lost Flannins”), Donnie Wynkoop (the hilarious “Fords [Snake Attack]”) and Buck Ramsey (“Bad Job”).  Original picks are “Homesteader,” a fresh version of his wonderful work “A Cowman’s Lot,” an ‘object’ lesson (the object being cow poop) called “Blurred Vision,” “December Stragglers” and what could be called a modern-day “moral of the story” story “Skype (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff).”

I’ve said this in other reviews, but it holds true.  This particular CD is one of those you might consider using when defining or illustrating what cowboy poetry is or should be. Fourteen tracks.  Highly recommended.

CD:  $18 ppd from Terry Nash, 1278 N Road, Loma, CO 81524 or visit terrynashcowboypoet.com

©2017, Rick Huff

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Rawhide Robinson Rides a Dromedary

RAWHIDE ROBINSON RIDES A DROMEDARY
by Rod Miller

Billed as “the true tale of a wild west camel caballero,” it may be best described as a true “tail” of one!  To be sure, many facts of the historic, ill-fated Army camel gambit in the Arizona desert are faithfully relayed through this story…along with plenty about 19th Century sailing on the high seas!  But remember, Rod Miller’s Rawhide Robinson is also part Pecos Bill!

I will say with this dromedary lope, Rawhide may have found his stride.  His tall tales are integrated more sparingly than in his first outing and he’s hooked more to historical doings than he was in his second.  Filmmaker Joe Camp (of Benji fame) took a dip into the camel trough in his 1976 comedy Hawmps, coming about as close as Hollywood ever does to relating the real story of something.  In Miller’s version, Rawhide Robinson is officially hornswoggled into sailing over the salty seas to roundup and transport the contrary animals back to Arizona.  Adventure ensues.  Back in America, mule packers claim camels are no match for their charges, resulting in an epic desert test.  What happens in the end?  Hint:  Maybe because Rawhide Robinson wasn’t really there is why the #!*^#ing plan never worked!  Enjoy!

Trade Paperback:  (290 pages) $25.95  www.rawhiderobinson.com

©2017, Rick Huff

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11-17-Bob Marshall-Screen Door

SCREEN DOOR
by Bob Marshall

Bob Marshall’s newest release is an enjoyable, solid mix of Contemporary Western and Country tracks  Ten top Austin-area session people participated, including former WMA artist/now Reckless Kelly leader Cody Braun.  When you’re aiming to secure Texas radio airplay, this is all to the good.  But anyone doing it should know there is an Austin formula sound…and some of it has crept in here.

Picks from among the Marshall creations include the bluesy swinger “Hole In My Rope,” “He Talks To God,” “Rodeo Queen Deluxe” and “It’s Gonna Get Western.”  Add to them Marshall’s fine cover of the Donnie Blanz/Ed Bruce song “You Just Can’t See Him From The Road.”

Bob Marshall is a strong enough performer to garner airplay and fans wherever he can, and he certainly can’t be blamed for looking for both wherever they can be had.  He’s another example of the need to build a commercial base from which serious Western artists can work.  Thirteen tracks.  Recommended.

CD: $20 postpaid, www.bobmarshallband.com.

 

ADVICE by Deanna Dickinson McCall

Beauty-and-Strength

© 2017, JaNeil Anderson, “Beauty and Strength”

ADVICE
by Deanna Dickinson McCall

The corrals were full enough to bust,
And we’d all had our share of dust.
But, we’d got all the pairs in
And the separating was about to begin.

Our new son-in-law was working the gate
Trying hard to discriminate
When an angry mama came charging up
Mad over the hold up.

Hearing the commotion I rode through the dust
And shared some advice he could trust,
“Son, don’t crowd her, whatever you do,
When her head is held high she’ll take the fence or you.”

Better off to just let stand, cool down a bit
She’s not afraid of horse or man, let her have her fit.
It’s Nature’s way to attack or run, fear and anger is part of life.
I know it’s not exactly fun, but, remember she is your wife.”

© Deanna Dickinson McCall
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission.

Fifth-generation rancher and writer Deanna Dickinson McCall never lacks for inspiration for her poetry and writing; her family is a great source. She and husband Dave have given the West new generations of ranchers and cowboy poets and reciters, as well.

Her just-released collection of stories, Rough Patches II, follows the first award-winning volume of Rough Patches. Red Steagall comments on the new release, “…This collection is brilliant.” Western writer Johnny Boggs declares, “Deanna McCall writes without frills or foofaraw–just hard, believable stories of tough, flawed people and strong women in the modern West.” In his foreword, poet and writer Rod Miller writes, “When it comes to women writing about the West, you would be hard-pressed to find one more authentic than Deanna Dickinson McCall.” Find order information here.

Deanna also has a highly praised book of stories and poems, Mustang Spring, and an award-winning CD of her poetry, Riding. Her work appears in many anthologies and magazines and she’s a popular performer at gatherings, often appearing at the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and other events.

Find more about Deanna Dickinson McCall at CowboyPoetry.com; at her web site, deannadickinsonmccall.com; and on Facebook.

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New Mexico artist and rancher JaNeil Anderson’s painting, “Beauty and Strength,” graces the cover of Rough Patches II. She and Deanna have collaborated previously, pairing poems and paintings in Split Reins, an impressive book that received the Will Rogers Medallion Award.

JaNeil Anderson studied under Cowboy Artists of America painters James Reynolds and R.S. Riddick. She and her husband live on their family’s third-generation ranch along the banks of the Gila River in southwest New Mexico. She is represented by Thunder Horse Gallery in Ruidoso.

Find more about JaNeil Anderson at janeilanderson.com and on Facebook.