THE MIGHTY MC, by A.K. Moss

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THE MIGHTY MC
by A.K. Moss

Within the wind a whisper. Can you hear the cattle bawl?
Can you hear the cavvy coming? The cowboys’ yips and call?
Of history in the desert, a million acre spread.
Nineteen thousand head of cattle with one iron, it’s been said
They were hands of twisted fate, in lonesome company.
They have stood here at the gate of the mighty MC.

Cowboys rode her country, the gunsel and buckaroo,
The vaquero, the misfits, and the top hands in the crew,
Such as Cahill, Betsinger, Hill, Gooch and Black,
Names now forgotten, empty saddles on the rack.
Ole Dixon, Nicol, Gunderson, Rupp, and Read,
The last who tell the stories of the hide and tallow breed.
Of the vastness, the hardship, of boys turned to men,
Of the ghosts and legends, stories told without a pen.
They rode on big boned broncs and snorty horses on the bit,
Pulling leather, horn and rawhide, all made of desert grit.

I feel the sand bite as it whips across my face,
I hear them riding in as they quietly take their place.
I stand within its boundaries, where cattle came to drink,
The skeleton of ribbed rails makes me stop and think,
While in the distance I hear the haunting cattle bawl.
I hear the cavvy coming, the cowboys yips and call
As they gather in my heart, no place I’d rather be.
I bear witness in the corrals at the mighty MC.

Most carried a snaffle or bosal, others finished in the spade,
Big circles that they traveled, no tougher horse made.
From a hand, the twist of the wrist, with the silence of a stocker
They cast a Houlihan, the Scoop Trap, or they toss a Johnny Blocker,
A school house of tradition, where no walls or books explain
The art of feel and timing, beyond singed hair, hoof and mane.

In Oregon history, in the sea of sage and sand,
No trace just mystery, no scars upon the land,
Of characters who rode before, just stories now told,
Of the horses and the legacy all prior to being sold.

Within the wind a whisper. Can you hear the cattle bawl?
Can you hear the cavvy coming? The cowboys’ yips and call?
Of history in the desert, a million acres spread.
Nineteen thousand head of cattle with one iron, it’s been said.
They were hands of twisted fate, in lonesome company.
They have stood here at the gate of the mighty MC.

© 2018, A.K. Moss
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

Go right to the impressive YouTube collection of photographs of the MC Ranch and its buckaroos and cowboys that Oregon’s Kathy Moss created along with her recitation of this poem.

Oregon’s Kathy Moss comments:

“The Mighty MC” was written about the famous MC Ranch and corrals out of Adel, Oregon, which many know from the song by Ian Tyson, “MC Horses.”

In 2004 we liquidated 83 head of horses from an old friend who passed away. We sold them out of the old MC Corrals. Billie Flick, wife of Leon Flick, had spearheaded the sale. It had been overcast all day with a storm silently brewing into the evening. When we had finished loading the last horse, a silence, a stillness, seemed to have stopped time.

In that stillness I started to think of the history those old corrals had held, the cattle, the cavvy and the boys who rode those raw-boned horses of the desert. The rails, brittle from hard winters and desert sun, told a silent story that only a mystic imagination could picture.

In the dark, a lone cricket lost in the weigh shack started to chirp its evening tune. Billie and I were the last ones to stand in the silence, only for a moment of a very long day, when in that stillness came a sudden gust of wind that blew ghosts through the rails. I could almost hear the place come alive with all that had been.

As varied as her own background—horsewoman, cowboy, poet, novelist, and more—Kathy Moss’s unique recent 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.

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Listen to a clips from the album at CDBaby. Find more about the CD here on this blog, where you can also find Rick Huff’s “Best of the West” review. Visit A.K. Moss Books on Facebook and her site, akmossbooks.com.

Find Kathy Moss this coming weekend at Colorado’s 31st annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, October 3rd – 7th, 2019. Evening performers include Trinity Seely, Ross Knox, Brooke Turner, Margaret Wilhelm, Greg Hager, Bill Lowman, and Mary Kaye. Daytime performers include Jarle Kvale, Kathy Moss, Paul Larson, Almeda Bradshaw, Tom Swearingen, Thatch Elmer, Ol’ Jim Cathey, Nolan King, Emelia Knaphus, Chris Isaacs, Two Bit Pete, Allora Leonard, Carol Markstrom, Dan McCorison, Slim McWilliams, Dave Munsick, Sam Noble, Jonathan Odermann, Don Schauda, The Sawyer Family, Lindy Simmons, Kacey and Jenna Thunborg, Cora Rose Wood, and Laurie Wood. Find more at durangocowboypoetrygathering.org.

Kathy Moss has been nominated as top female poet by the International Western Music Association. Follow her on Facebook for her upcoming events and more, facebook.com/kathy.moss.585.

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2019 National Day of the Cowboy in Prairie City Oregon, from  left , Billie Flick, Brenn Hill, Joni Harms, A.K. Moss, Andy Nelson

The photo at the top of the page of Don Hill at the MC at sunrise is courtesy of John Langmore.

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

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.)