MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon

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photo of Bruce Kiskaddon licensed from the Aultman Collection, History Colorado

“These CDs are historic collections that will be appreciated for generations to come.” Charley Engel, “Chuckaroo the Buckaroo” of Calling All Cowboys radio

Praise for previous CDs from CowboyPoetry.com:

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

“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.

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Our thirteenth CD (following ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup and two MASTERS volumes) is MASTERS: VOLUME THREE, the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon (April 2019).

MASTERS: VOLUME THREE has over 60 tracks in a multi-disc CD of the poetry of Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950). Voices from the past and from today’s top reciters and poets celebrate cowboy poetry’s popular classic poet. Bill Siems, whose monumental work, Open Range, collects almost all of Kiskaddon’s nearly 500 poems, introduces the CD.

Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)  worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898 in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He published short stories and nearly 500 poems. His poems are among the most admired and the most recited in the “classic” cowboy poetry canon.

Find more about Kiskaddon at CowboyPoetry.com.

The MASTERS CD is dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.

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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.

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Order information

The MASTERS CD  is available for $35 postpaid. Order with a credit card at Paypal or by mail:  CowboyPoetry.com, Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450.

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Below:

Track list and description
Acknowledgements

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The over 60 tracks on three CDs begin with an biographical introduction to Bruce Kiskaddon by Bill Siems, whose monumental work, Open Range, collects almost all of Kiskaddon’s nearly 500 poems.

The poetry begins with some of the best known of Kiskaddon’s reflective poems, with a look backward to “when cattle were plenty and men were few.” Then poems that follow are, somewhat in this order: about cowboys and men; work; cattle; horses (and one mule); heavenly concerns; times gone by; quirky characters; gear; a ghost tale; and a few Christmas poems. Musician and top sound engineer Butch Hause offers a colorful radio PSA for the Center and Cowboy Poetry Week.

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DISC ONE

1. ABOUT BRUCE KISKADDON Bill Siems
2. from LOOKING BACKWARD Randy Rieman
3. WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL Randy Rieman
4. THE BRONCHO TWISTER’S PRAYER Jay Snider
5. THE TIME TO DECIDE Andy Hedges
6. THE CREAK OF THE LEATHER Gary McMahan
7. ALONE Trey Allen (1971-2016)
8. AFTER THE FALL ROUNDUP Floyd Beard
9. BETWEEN THE LINES Jay Snider
10. THE DRIFTER Ol’ Jim Cathey
11. HE DIDN’T BELONG Rod Miller
12. IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN ME OR IT MIGHT HAVE BEEN YOU Ken Cook
13. THE LONG EARED BULL Ross Knox
14. THE OLD NIGHT HAWK Chris Isaacs
15. THE NEW MEXICO STRAY Dennis Russell
16. MICROBES Jerry Brooks
17. STARTIN’ OUT Gail Steiger
18. COW SENSE Deanna Dickinson McCall
19. THE COW AND THE CALF Amy Hale Auker
20. NOT SO SLOW Jessica Hedges
21. SHOVELING THE ICE OUT OF THE TROUGH Robert Dennis
22. THE LONG HORN SPEAKS Valerie Beard

DISC TWO

1. INTRODUCTORY Ken Cook
2. EARLY WORM Keith Ward
3. RIDIN’ FENCE Gail Steiger
4. FEEDIN’ TIME John Reedy
5. THEY CAN TAKE IT Baxter Black
6. THAT LITTLE BLUE ROAN J.B. Allen (1938-2005)
7. THE BELL MARE Brigid Reedy
8. FORGOTTEN Jesse Smith
9. WHEN YOU’RE THROWED Randy Rieman
10. WHEN HE COLD JAWS Duane Nelson
11. CAUGHT NAPPIN’ Keith Ward
12. PULLIN’ LEATHER Gary McMahan
13. ON FOOT Kathy Moss
14. HER COLT Susie Knight
15. THE ARMY MULE Kay Kelley Nowell
16. THE GENTLE HOSS Tom Swearingen
17. THE OLD COW PONY Dick Morton
18. WHEN CONNORS RODE REP FOR THE LORD Ross Knox
19. JUDGMENT DAY DW Groethe
20. THE COW BOY’S DREAM Waddie Mitchell

DISC THREE

1. AN OLD WESTERN TOWN Randy Rieman
2. THE MEDICINE SHOW Andy Hedges
3. THEN AND NOW Andy Nelson
4. PROGRESS Dale Page
5. THE BRANDIN’ CORRAL Almeda Bradshaw
6. AUGERIN’ Smoke Wade
7. THE MAN ON THE FENCE Bill Siems
8. A COWBOY’S BRAINS Sunny Hancock (1931-2003)
9. DRINKIN’ WATER Jarle Kvale
10. WET BOOTS Johnny Reedy
11. ALKALI IKE’S ZIPPERS Rusty McCall (1986-2013)
12. WORKIN’ IT OVER David McCall
13. THE LOST FLANNINS Terry Nash
14. HER MAN Susie Knight
15. GHOST CANYON TRAIL Rex Rideout

CHRISTMAS POEMS
16. CHRISTMAS AT THE HOME RANCH Keith Ward
17. THE OLD TIME CHRISTMAS Linda Kirkpatrick
18. MERRY CHRISTMAS (1933) Gail Steiger

19. CENTER FOR WESTERN AND COWBOY POETRY RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA) Butch Hause

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Thanks to the poets, reciters, and families and to Bill Siems, Andy Hedges, Margaret Allen, Jeffrey Hancock, the McCall family, the Western Folklife Center, the Cowboy Crossroads podcast, History Colorado, Andy Nelson and Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio, Totsie Slover and The Real West from the Old West radio, 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., the Margaret T. Morris Foundation, and our community’s all-important sustaining donors.

Photograph of Bruce Kiskaddon licensed from the Aultman Collection, History Colorado.

Rick Huff’s “Best of the West Reviews,” Spring, 2019

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.

Rick Huff
P.O. Box 8442
Albuquerque, NM 87198-8442

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

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Selections from “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews,” Spring, 2019, below:

•  A. K. Moss The Truth
  Tom Swearingen Language of the Land

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THE TRUTH
A.K. Moss

Beyond her convincing delivery and thoughtful verse, cowboy and poet A.K. Moss and producer Brenn Hill have obviously given a good deal of thought to production values for Moss’s release called The Truth. They frequently use (with permission) applicable clips and excerpts from other Western artists’ songs and verse, providing interesting atmospheric ushering. And acoustic guitarist Wes Aaasnes pops in periodically to finish weaving the sound tapestry.

Moss’s empowering “Wink Nod & Sigh” owes some of its inspiration to Georgie Sicking, and it features the voice of the late lady cowboy and poet in an excerpt from her own piece “Be Yourself.” Same goes for Joel Nelson, whose classic “Breaker In The Pen” is excerpted and serves a setting for Moss’s own “Soft Spoken Man.” In a gift from the effects department, an eerie wind speaks prescient volumes to the attuned in “The Mighty MC.” And a story extension worthy of O Henry stems from Tyson’s “Navajo Rug” in Moss’s work “The KT Diner.” Another CD pick (among the many—this one’s chock-full of ‘em) would have to be “He’ll Never Ride Again” that uses Brenn Hill’s “Into The Wind.”

If you haven’t yet done so, give a listen to A. K. (Kathy) Moss. From her own cowboy life experiences, in well-chosen and well-presented words, she does indeed speak “The Truth.”

Ten tracks. Highly recommended.

CD: available through akmossbooks.com

© 2019, Rick Huff

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LANGUAGE OF THE LAND
Tom Swearingen

Captured here for your enjoyment is another of the live performances from the Oregon cowboy poet Tom Swearingen.  In his latest release, Swearingen again shows his preference for gettin’ in and out quickly in verse, as most of the works make it in under the two-minute buzzer!  Present also is Swearingen’s believable, authentic style of presentation.

Collection picks this time include the title track “Language Of The Land” (one of the better descriptions of ‘range reading’ I’ve heard), “Ropin’ Mama’s Llama” (a yarn concerning his wife’s four-footed yarn supply), “Keep ‘Em Movin’ Slow Parts 1 & 2” (Part 1 is driving the herd into weather and Part 2 is driving them out…only fair), “Oh No You Don’t” (words of advice to a fleeing calf from his pursuer), “In The Shadow Of The Treeline” (a little cattle what-done-it) “Folks Who Do Know Horses” (why they will snow-roll…the horses, not the folks) and “Cowgirl From Nantucket” (talk about your real ‘me too movement’)!  The album closes with [a bonus track]:  Bruce Kiskaddon’s “The Gentle Hoss.”

Sixteen tracks.  Recommended.

CD:  $15 + s/h through oregoncowboypoet.com and downloads through iTunes, Spotify, CD Baby and others.

© 2019, Rick Huff

SONGS LESS TRAVELED by A.K.(Kathy) Moss

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SONGS LESS TRAVELED
by A.K.(Kathy) Moss

When I was young our dad would sing songs,
Of cowboys, horses and love gone wrong.
He’d take us back in time we would hear,
We rode along as he sang knowing he was near.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to Cowboy Heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roan, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We could hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

When it was time for bed, or I was feeling low,
I would ask my dad to sing a song, a song of long ago
Before he would finish a smile would cross my face,
As we rode off together, another time another place.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to Cowboy Heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roam, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We would hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

Now when I am traveling alone and there is nothing but time,
A tune come drifting in and gathers in my mind.
I hum along as those words are unraveled, then start singing a song, songs less travelled.

And I’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
I’d go to Cowboy Heaven, tie a knot in the devils tail.
Ride that Strawberry Roan, wear that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, see the one they called The Brute.
I’d hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

Now times have changed from the wild west then
There is still a magic and a wonder of how it all had been.
So let those stories live and your imagination bring,
A distant memory as the cowboy sing.

And we’d ride that Bad Brahma Bull, and the Chisholm Trail,
We went to cowboy heaven, tied a knot in the devils tail.
Rode that Strawberry Roan, wore that Continental Suit,
Heard the Jingle Jangle Jingle, saw the one the called The Brute.
We would hear the Coyotes Song and the Cattle Call.
Take Me Back to My Boots and Saddle When the Works All Done This Fall.

So hum along as those words are unraveled,
Then start singing a song, those songs less traveled.

© A.K. Moss
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Oregon’s Kathy moss comments, “This poem brings back memories of my dad when the radio didn’t work in the old ’63 Ford pickup with 6 kids packed in the cab with our mom. He would start singing word-for-word, never missed a beat. Two of his favorites were “Strawberry Roan” and “Say Hey Good Lookin'” by Hank Williams…great memories shared by so many.”

As varied as her own background—horsewoman, cowboy, poet, novelist, and more—Kathy Moss’s unique new CD, The Truth, presents diverse voices and moods in poems that speak of authentic experience and pay tribute to important influences in her life and work.

On half of the tracks, her original poetry is paired with the voices of other poets and singers. The voice of the late Georgie Sicking, an important inspiration, is heard on “Wink, Nod, and Sigh.” On the title poem, written for her friend Billie Flick, singer Joni Harms offers a complementary message to the title poem with her “Long Hard Ride.” A tribute to a another mentor, “Soft Spoken Man,” honors Joel Nelson and carries his voice, with words from his “The Breaker in the Pen” poem. Brenn Hill joins in on her “He’ll Never Ride Again” with his song “What a Man’s Got to Do.” The US Army Rangers and Wes Aasness chime in on “Partners.”

A tale worth hearing, “KT Diner,” carries on the story of Ian Tyson’s “Navajo Rug.” Kathy Moss’s distinctive voice with its storyteller charm infuses all of these poems.

The CD’s attractive package design is by Anita Crane. Find the CD at CDBaby or directly from Kathy Moss at akmoss12@gmail.com. Visit akmossbooks.com for more.

(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem with this post, but for other uses, request permission.)

MASTERS CD Series

 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.

The current CD series is MASTERS.

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MASTERS: VOLUME THREE contains over 60 tracks in a three-disc CD of the poetry of  Bruce Kiskaddon. Voices from the past and from today’s top reciters and poets celebrate cowboy poetry’s popular classic poet.  Kiskaddon expert Bill Siems introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS: VOLUME THREE here.

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MASTERS: VOLUME TWO (April, 2018) contains 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 children—bring forth Barker’s humor and humanity. Andy Hedges introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS: VOLUME TWO here.

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The first CD in the series. MASTERS (2017), includes the works of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens, reciting their poetry in recorded poems, “live” performances, and their recitations of other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs). Jay Snider introduces the CD.

Find more about MASTERS (2017) here.

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Previous to the MASTERS series, the Center produced ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup.

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The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—is held each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster—by Shawn Cameron in 2019; by Clara Smith in 2018; by Jason Rich in 2017; by Gary Morton in 2016; by Don Dane in 2015; by Jason Rich in 2014; Shawn Cameron in 2013; by R.S. Riddick in 2012, Duward Campbell in 2011, Bill Owen in 2010, Bob Coronato in 2009; William Matthews in 2008; Tim Cox in 2007; and Joelle Smith in 2006—are offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Project. The outreach program is a part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

We need your support to continue and expand these programs. Join us and be a part of it all.

 

WHEN DUTCHY PLAYS THE MOUTH HARP by Robert V. Carr 1872-1931

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WHEN DUTCHY PLAYS THE MOUTH HARP
by Robert V. Carr 1872-1931

When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp,
All th’ fellers gather ’round,
An’ help on with th’ music,
By a-stompin’ on th’ ground;
An’ th’ cook he cuts a shuffle,
An’ the night hawk pats his hand,
When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp,
In a way to beat th’ band.

When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp,
An’ we’ve cached our chuck away,
An’ a-feelin’ mighty foxy
An’ a feelin’ mighty gay,
There’s nothin’ we like better
Than to lend a pattin’ hand,
When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp,
In a way to beat th’ band.

When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp—
Plays a cake walk mighty fine—
‘Tis then us ole cowpunchers
Come a-steppin’ down th’ line;
Around th’ fire shuffilin’
An’ a-pattin’ of th’ hand,
When Dutchy plays th’ mouth harp,
In a way to beat th’ band.

by Robert V. Carr

Robert V. Carr wrote poetry and short fiction that was frequently published in Western magazines. His early years were spent in South Dakota. He was a part of Seth Bullock’s Cowboy Brigade and the “official poet” for the band of cowboys who were invited to President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 inaugural parade.

A 1913 article quotes him, “I believe I was about 14 years old when, in addition to an overpowering ambition to be a cowboy, I began to cherish fond hopes of becoming a writer. Possessing a couple of Indian ponies, I drifted from ranch to ranch, from cow outfit to cow outfit, and when I was not annoying the cooks, I was scribbling poetry. Some of those verses I sent to a country editor. He returned them with a note to the effect that they were not worth space. Years later that editor transgressed the law and was sent to jail. That served as an awful warning to me, and later, when I became a country newspaper editor, I always published the poetry sent in.”

Find more at CowboyPoetry.com.

Gary Allegretto gives new life to this old poem, in a great arrangement in the excellent new release, Blues on the Trail.

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Pure entertainment, the album is a gift to the Western music, raising the bar high for quality and professionalism. Drawing on the deep roots of the blues and cowboy music, the traditional and original tunes shine with originality and impressive talent.

Rich with varied musical artistry and inspired lyrics, Blues on the Trail offers humor, adventure, history, matters of the heart, and more. Freedom and life on the road figure largely, and a line from “No Place Like Home” epitomizes the theme in true blues fashion, “There ain’t no place like home, that is why I love the road.”

Gary Allegretto’s talent is as generous as he is; for over thirty years his non-profit Harmonikids has offered international outreach to young people in need, from juvenile detention centers to disaster locations. An often-featured performer at Western events, his popular harmonica workshops are usually sold out.

Gary has a long career outside of the Western genre as well, with acclaimed performances and albums and awards. Find more about him and order information for “Blues on the Trail” and his other work at garyallegretto.com.

This poem and photograph are in the public domain.

Rick Huff’s “Best of the West Reviews,” Summer, 2018

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.

Rick Huff
P.O. Box 8442
Albuquerque, NM 87198-8442

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

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Selections from “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews,” Summer, 2018, below:

•  CowboyPoetry.com MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker
•  “V” The Gypsy Cowbelle TRIBAL PILGRIM
  Pegie Douglas & The Badger Sett Band THE MUSIC OF BADGER CLARK, Volume II
  Ron Secoy COWBOY PSALMS
  Chris Mortenson I’LL ROPE YOU IN THE SUNSET 
  Barry Ward COYOTES AND CATTLE

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MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker
CowboyPoetry.com

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!

CD:  2-CD Set $25 ppd through CowboyPoetry.com, PO Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450

 © 2018, Rick Huff

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TRIBAL PILGRIM
“V” The Gypsy Cowbelle 

In the listening and the reading, releases from “V” The Gypsy Cowbelle are always trips to fresh new places, and CD number 5 for her is no exception.  She educates and entertains anew in this spritely collection of originals put together at various locations across the course of four years.

Top musical hands joining her include Ernie Martinez, John Magnie, Johnny Neill, Jon Chandler, saw man Robert Armstrong and “V’s” longtime friend and mentor, the late Liz Masterson, to whom the album is dedicated and who harmonizes on an Amelia Earhart-inspired song “Dawn In The Night.”  Each track has elements to recommend it, but other picks include the saga song “Resolve,” “Long-Legged Cowboy” and the song “East To Go West,” which may become for “V” what “If I Hadn’t Seen The West” has for Joyce Woodson.

It’s encyclopedically annotated in a booklet (and all sides of the cover), so settle back, read and listen.  “V” is a journey— for some still a discovery—well worth making.  Fourteen tracks, and recommended.

CD:  $20 ppd through gypsycowbelle.com, CDbaby or from Gypsy Cowbelle, PO Box 809, Thermopolis, WY 82443 

 © 2018, Rick Huff

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Pegie Douglas & The Badger Sett Band - The Music of Badger Clark Vol 2

THE MUSIC OF BADGER CLARK, Volume II
Pegie Douglas & The Badger Sett Band

In listening to this release, I was particularly struck by the skillfulness with which Clark’s poetry has been set to music.  Creating songs using classic cowboy verse is one of those classic slippery slopes, but Pegie Douglas just artfully skates along it.  The tracks here are perfectly thought through and well executed.  Now there are more successful Badger Clark-based songs from which to choose than just “Spanish Is The Lovin’ Tongue.”  And remember this is “Volume Two,” too!

The poems used here were drawn from the Clark collections Sun & Saddle Leather, Skylines & Woodsmoke and Cowboy Poetry:  Classic Poems & Prose by Badger Clark.  South Dakotan Douglas obviously created these works as a labor of love to fellow South Dakotan Clark who, incidentally, was that state’s first Poet Laureate.  Some are mixes of song and recitation nicely rendered by Ned Westphall.  In addition to him and Ms. Douglas (lead vocals & guitar), other members of the Badger Sett band (they do “sets” of Badger’s music: get it?) are Cheryl Janssens (bass), Marcia Kenobbie (lead/harmony vocals & mandolin) and Katie Lautenschlager (violin).

From inception to performance, this CD is Top Drawer all the way.   Ten tracks.   Highly recommended!

CD:  Contact Pegie Douglas, PO Box 925, Hill City, SD 57745 or visit pegiedouglas.com for information.

 © 2018, Rick Huff

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Ron Secoy - Cowboy Psalms

COWBOY PSALMS
Ron Secoy

Rather than being a specific statement of content, Cowboy Psalms is actually the title track of the newest release from Oklahoma poet Ron Secoy.  In truth most of these tracks are religious, some less so.  But all are lessons.

Picks here include the title cut “Cowboy Psalms” (equating herding herds and herding words), “Outlaw” (an O. Henry-worthy encounter at a campfire), the barroom braggin’ piece “Tall Tail” (his spelling not mine), “Adam & Eve” as cowfolk,  “Ol’ Bill” and “Mustang,” an unusual healing horse story set to Indian flute accompaniment.

Secoy’s delivery is straightforward, clear and deliberate, as are the points of the stories.  When I received it, I had first thought the CD must be an early release sent ahead of cover art and a tray card being ready.  But in phoning Secoy, I found this was not the case, or rather, I was looking at the complete case!  I fear it will hurt the album gaining radio/online airplay and certainly will knock it out of any award eligibility in the Fall.  But it’s listenable and orderable, and maybe that’s the artist’s main consideration.  Fourteen tracks.

CD:  $15 + $5 s/h from Ron Secoy, 272826 Gatlin, Duncan, OK 73533 and through ronsecoy.com

 © 2018, Rick Huff

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Chris Mortenson - I'll Rope You The Sunset

I’LL ROPE YOU IN THE SUNSET
Chris Mortenson

In a past review I drew a comparison between Chris Mortenson’s vocal styling and that of Neil Young, which Mortenson writes he finds “a bit puzzling.”  Well, puzzle onward!  For me it still holds true.  To my ear on most of the tracks, something in Mortenson’s swoop onto and casual glide over notes still evokes a bit of Neil Young, particularly in Young’s more recent material where he sings closer to Mortenson’s vocal range.  And a certain rock sensitivity on Mortenson’s part is suggested by the presence of the track called “Missing Glenn Frey.”

Basically this release is a mix of ballads and saga songs.  Picks include Bob Parson’s “When His Eyes Are Closed,” Randy Abel’s unusual and compassionate “Sgt. Eli’s Silver Mine,” Mortenson’s own “Shawn Wayne” and his “Eight Second Blues.”  The offering is enhanced significantly by the instrumental support on varying tracks of Ryan Shupe (fiddle), Bob Parson & Josh Ward (electric guitar), Scott Olson (harmonica & guitar), Ernie Sites (mandolin & acoustic lead guitar), Kelin Gibbons (banjo), Karl Gibbons (dobro), Greg Forbush (pedal steel), Tony Messerly (banjitar) and Zan Summers (drums).  Fifteen tracks.

It definitely should please Mortenson fans.

CD:  $15 ppd from Chris Mortenson, PO Box 405, Paradise, UT 84328

© 2018, Rick Huff

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Barry Ward - Coyotes & Cattle

COYOTES AND CATTLE
Barry Ward

The newest from The Bear strikes me as containing more first person reflections and End-of-Life’s-Trail songs than usual.  Am I mistaken, or is he trying to tell us something?  What am I saying.  Barry Ward frequently tries to tell us something!

Seven of the tracks here are Ward originals.  Picks among them include “Ruts Of The Santa Fe Trail,” the wistful title track “Coyotes & Cattle,” “That Old Barn,” “Saddle Up” and the rousing voice and guitar showpiece “Bandito,” even though its religious U-turn ending might otherwise make me veer off.  Among the covers we’ll name as picks are Marvin O’Dell’s “Keep A Candle In The Window,” the Indian-intoned “Wayfaring Stranger,” fellow Kansan Larry Hannon’s 1995 Will Rogers paean “The Man From Coo-Wees-Coo-Wee” and Gordon Mote’s “Wake Up Dancin’.”

Barry Ward is a former WMA Male Performer of the Year and his CD Coyotes & Cattle will still give you a good indication why.  All in all, it’s another solid horse in his string!  Thirteen tracks.  Recommended.

CD:  $15 + $3 s/h from Barry Ward, PO Box 185, Eureka, KS 67045 and through BarryWardMusic.com