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.

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

2018_MastersCD_Cover_700X700 (2)

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

bwseparator

V The Gypsy Cowbelle - Tribal Pilgrim

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

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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

 

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

2018_MastersCD_Cover_700X700 (2)

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.

2018_MastersCD_Cover_700X700 (2)

Our twelfth CD (following ten volumes of The BAR-D Roundup and the first MASTERS volume) is MASTERS: VOLUME TWO (April 2018).

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.

barkerhorserifle© Estate of S. Omar Barker; request permission for reproduction

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

CPW_Cameron_Poster_2019_R1

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.

bwseparator

Below:

Track list and sources
Acknowledgements
Order information

buynow

 

__________

Track list and sources

Tracks were recorded for MASTERS: VOLUME TWO except where noted.

DISC 1

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

DISC 2

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

HOLIDAY POEMS

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

Acknowledgements

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.

 

bwseparator

Order information

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.

buynow

bwseparator

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.

I’LL RIDE THRU IT CD by Deanna Dickinson McCALL

img418

includes:

5 O’Clock Somewhere
America’s Stockman
Cake
Cowgirl’s Pride
He and I
His Queen
I Twisted the Wire
I’ll Ride Thru It
Last Horse in Dad’s String
McGregor
Mrs. Thomas
Rough Country
The Good Years
True Stories

There are few better representatives of the people of today’s real working West than Deanna Dickinson McCall, a fifth-generation rancher, writer, and poet who currently ranches with her husband Dave McCall on their remote New Mexico ranch.

In recent years, Deanna Dickinson McCall’s artistic output has been a
bountiful force of creativity. She has released recordings, books of stories and poems, and a book with artist JaNeil Anderson that pairs poems and paintings. She’s been recognized by organizations and her peers with awards, including the Georgie Sicking Award and the Will Rogers Medallion Award. Earlier this month, she was honored for her life and work with the Heritage Award from the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering, where she is often a featured poet.

Her latest release is I’ll Ride Thru It, a CD with fourteen strong tracks of  cattle, horses, humor, romance, history, and rough country. The poems are fresh, written and presented in in her unique style, authentic, and informed by a life rich with challenges and rewards.

The lead poem is “It’s 5 O’Clock Somewhere,” which first appeared in Split Reins, with a painting by JaNeil Anderson. “Last Horse in Dad’s String” comes through with moving sentiment, strong and real. “Cake” starts with wild cattle and ends on a note of humor and good advice. “The Good Years,” which deals with drought, goes beyond nostalgia with a message of faith and gratitude, a way of thinking that has no doubt guided the writer through many hard times. A phrase from “His Queen,” a poem both gentle and powerful, says something about women like Deanna McCall and would delight the late female cowboy icon Georgie Sicking, “…always tender but tough when times are rough.” “I’ll Ride Thru It” is a proud philosophy of true grit:


When dust sticks to my sweat
Heat bouncing off the ground
Horse’s shoulders dripping wet
No breeze is to be found

I’ll ride thru it…”

“True Stories” sparkles with humor, an affectionate view of cowboys and their tales. And there’s more.

The widely varied poems are presented with a steady continuity. The flow is further complemented by a particular bonus: the musical accompaniment throughout by Jim Jones and Randy Huston. It is an art to pair music with poetry, an art that is rarely accomplished well. But in this case, the bond among these three artists and friends comes through with a perfect harmony. Jones and Huston create a true soundtrack, filled with imaginative tunes and moods and creative riffs that enhance—but never distract from—the poetry.

“I’ll Ride Thru It” comes together with grace. At the heart of this CD is the story of survival: of the spirit, of people, of horses and cattle, and of a way of life. Deanna Dickinson McCall’s poetry shines in this satisfying and original project.

Find the CD and more about Deanna McCall at deannadickinsonmccall.com and on Facebook and at CowboyPoetry.com.

 

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.

bwseparator

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 

 

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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

bwseparator

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.

 

UNSETTLED  by Terry Nash

tnkg1.jpg

photo by Captured by Karen Photography

 

UNSETTLED
by Terry Nash

I’m unsettled these days.
Just slightly off-track.
It’s almost been a year
Since I was horseback.

I daydream now and then,
And think about past years
When I viewed summer range
Between two pointed ears.

I long for the small things
That come with the life,
Like saddlin’ a mount
At morning’s first light,

And the sound of the nickers
When the trailer’d pull in.
The handshakes and howdys
Of old pards brought a grin.

Then ridin’ with good friends
Lookin’ for cattle.
Checkin’ ‘em all meant
A full day a’straddle.

I pine for that thick smell
From a workin’ day’s sweat
When I’d strip my kack
And the blanket was wet,

And the soft quiet sound
Of a horse chewin’ hay
While I leaned on the rail
At the end of the day.

In mountains or desert
Just follerin’ cows,
My mind would rest easy
If I’s back there right now.

©2015, Terry Nash
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Colorado rancher, reciter, and poet Terry Nash includes this poem on his new CD, A Good Ride. Find the track list below.

We asked about its inspiration and he told us, “I was between horses. My good cow pony was rehabilitating from a foot injury, and the horse that replaced him was a few months down the road. The inspiration for ‘Unsettled’ came when I was standing helping our shoer. Just scratching a good horse’s jaw, and breathing in the smells, well that puts a feller into a poetic mood.”

In coming months, Terry makes a return appearance as as invited poet at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada (January 30-February 4, 2018) and at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas (March 203, 2018).

This photo by Grand Junction photographer Karen Gilbride of Captured by Karen Photography  is the cover of Terry Nash’s A Good Ride.

Find more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com and about his CDs and more at his web site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.

tngoodride

Includes:

“Ridin'” by Charles Badger Clark
“Two Below the Hocks” by Terry Nash
“The Lost Flannins” by Bruce Kiskaddon
“Homesteader” by Terry Nash
“A Cowman’s Lot” by Terry Nash
“Pensioner” by Terry Nash
“Fords (Snake Attack)” by Donnie Wynkoop
“December Stragglers” by Terry Nash
“Skype (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff” by Terry Nash
“Bad Job” by Buck Ramsey
“Unsettled” by Terry Nash
“My Pew” by Terry Nash
“A Good Ride” by Terry Nash

Available for $17 postpaid from:

Terry Nash
1278 N Road
Loma, CO 81524
www.terrynashcowboypoet.com 

 

 

HE ALWAYS RODE GOOD HORSES lyrics by Jay Snider and Jean Prescott

satis

HE ALWAYS RODE GOOD HORSES
lyrics by Jay Snider and Jean Prescott

He always rode good horses
From my memory as a kid
I hoped to have my horses work
The way his always did

But my youthful lack of patience
So often got me throwed
That same old lack of patience
In my horses plainly showed

So I sat down at the drawing board
He’d built throughout the years
His words, though not abrasive
Only reinforced my fears

(Chorus)
Trust ain’t freely given
It’s elusive, slowly earned
A man’s the mirror image of
The things his horses learned

“It’s gentle hands that make a good mount
Not fear nor fight nor dread
Good men ride good horses
That’s all that need be said”

With trust, respect soon follows
Like a wobbly legged foal
They both are most important
If good manners is your goal

His choice of words cut fast and deep
Just like a surgeon’s knife
Yet changed my perspective
And rearranged my life

Do what’s right while you’re still living
Makes no difference when you’re dead
Good men ride good horses
That’s all that need be said

Trust ain’t freely given
It’s elusive, slowly earned
A man’s the mirror image of
The things his horses learned

“It’s gentle hands that make a good mount
Not fear nor fight nor dread
Good men ride good horses
That’s all that need be said

“If he rebels from disrespect
He’s trying hard to say
Let me spur you in the shoulder
And see how long you’ll stay

“But given half of half a chance
He’ll rise up to the task
And die a thousand mournful deaths
Just doing what you ask”

So, ask yourself this question
Of this noble gallant steed
Would you do the very same for him
If asked a fearful deed

Trust ain’t freely given
It’s elusive, slowly earned
A man’s the mirror image of
The things his horses learned

“It’s gentle hands that make a good mount
Not fear nor fight nor dread
Good men ride good horses
That’s all that need be said”

At his service, just this morning
A tear fell as they read
He always rode good horses
That’s all that need be said

© Jean Prescott/Jay Snider, Line Camp Music
These lyrics should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

The collaboration between Jay Snider and Jean Prescott is a standout on the new Satisfied Hearts from Jean and Gary Prescott. Listen to the song  here.

It’s been twenty years since Jean and Gary Prescott recorded together, and they have made up for lost time with their new release. After working offshore for years, Gary has returned to Texas to raise horses and cattle and get back to songwriting and performing. Each are outstanding songwriters and performers in their own right and their talents shine on this new release.

Listen to a recent interview (and tracks from Satisfied Hearts) with Jean Prescott on
Equestrian Legacy Radio, hosted by Gary I. Holt and Bobbie Jean Bell.

Few songwriters collaborate with as many poets as Jean Prescott. She is known particularly for her work with Yvonne Hollenbeck, and this album includes collaborations with Deanna Dickinson McCall, Darrell Arnold, Chris Isaacs, the late Pat Richardson, Jeff Gore, Debra Coppinger Hill and Jay Snider. There are also selections by songwriters Randy Huston, Joyce Woodson, and others. One song is a tribute to the memory of Buck Ramsey and another features the late Ed Stabler’s arrangement of Henry Herbert Knibbs’ classic “Where the Ponies Come to Drink.”

Find Satisfied Hearts” at jeanprescott.com and CDBaby. You can also message Jean on Facebook at Jean Prescott Music to order.

Find more about Jean Prescott at CowboyPoetry.com and at her web site, jeanprescott.com.

Oklahoma rancher, poet, reciter, and songwriter poet Jay Snider wrote his lyrics in 2008 and told us that this song was inspired in part by an introduction Joel Nelson gave him at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, saying that Jay “rode good horses.” Jay comments, “To a horseman that is the ultimate compliment, especially coming from a horseman such as Joel. It stuck with me and looking back on the years, most all the ‘great’ men I’ve known have ridden good horses.”

Find more about Jay Snider at CowboyPoetry.com and at jaysnider.net.