DECEMBER STRAGGLERS by Terry Nash

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DECEMBER STRAGGLERS
by Terry Nash

Morning’s pale sun gave way to thick clouds
As we all saddled our mounts.
Ridin’ from camp, our mission today
Is needin’ to fill the count.

Three hundred ten was gathered last month,
The tally was sixteen shy.
We rode the breaks and benches for sign;
No tellin’ how they’d got by.

Two solid weeks we searched the JU,
Combin’ the brush for eight pair,
With little to show for our ridin’
‘Cept that the stragglers weren’t there.

Those cattle were nowhere on our range;
They’d maybe returned to Hell’s Hole;
High country grass they’d grazed since July,
Till fall’s storms started to roll.

We’d gathered three pair and one hunter
A-hoofin’ it into town,
But we’re still ten head out today and
The next big storm’s blowin’ down.

We’re buckin’ a head-wind this morning,
Five riders watchin’ for sign.
The Lasalles are fadin’ from our view;
The wind’s beginnin’ to whine.

We wallered deep drifts t’ward the 2V
Followin’ Old Raley’s hunch:
“This new storm’ll bring ‘em down,” he said,
“We’ll likely find the whole bunch.”

Gates were left open all through the range
So stragglers could pass on through.
Veteran cows will know to move down
When winter dictates they do.

The clouds were hangin’ level and dark,
Raley was settin’ the pace.
We topped out above Luster Basin,
The first flakes hittin’ my face.

Jackson pulled up his horse and pointed
At our stragglers, single file,
Tails to the wind and stringin’ our way
Down the draw a quarter mile.

Wild old Snort was a-leadin’ the bunch.
We split and got out of sight.
We’ll swing in behind and then flank ‘em
Providin’ our timing’s right.

The cattle filed past and we stepped out
Snort threw her head flingin’ snot.
Jess was ready when she quit the trail;
He turned her back at a trot.

The old rip knew where she’s goin’.
She and the rest reached the pines,
She led ‘em through and out on the road
With us just ridin’ behind.

The storm at our backs now, we’re ridin’;
Wet heavy flakes flyin’ past.
Sllckers drippin’, our horses are soaked,
We’re hopin’ our luck will last.

Past Mountain Island, down off Black Hill,
She struck the trail to the north
Where the Beiser corrals stood waitin’.
Two flank riders sashayed forth

To get in position to turn ‘em,
But Ol’ Snort just walked on in.
We backed in the trucks and trailered ‘em
Just as the light’s gettin’ thin.

It’s usually never that easy,
You mostly earn what you bring.
We got lucky – our stragglers found us
In winter’s cold icy sting.

© 2012, Terry Nash, used with permission

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash told us, “We summer our cattle on private ground, pooling them with several other herds at Glade Park and Pinon Mesa, high country situated a few miles west of Grand Junction, in Western Colorado. We throw the cattle on the mountain in early June and usually gather and bring ’em back to the valley in November, when the weather dictates we do. It usually takes three or four ‘sweeps’ a-horseback to clean the 6000 acre pasture, and there’s always a few stragglers reluctant to leave. Riding the pasture looking for those last few head isn’t always in the best of weather…”

Terry shared this photo and commented, “This is a ride we made in December 2011. We had all the cow-calf pairs off the mountain before the weather turned, but couldn’t find three bulls despite riding for two weeks. Hearing of sightings by neighbors, we’d ridden in after storms and found no trace, except once we picked up a Hereford bull belonging to a man who ranges a good distance to the west of where we found him. We had a lot of cold riding with no real results. Finally one of the landowners flew over his range and spotted the three bulls. They were holed up in a low spot, just over the ridge from water, out of the wind. We rode in next morning, packing in a little feed, and pushed them to the Beiser corrals, 3 miles away. The road was drifted shut and the only way in was horseback. ‘December Stragglers’ came as a composite of several winter rides.

“December Stragglers” is the title poem of Terry’s 2013 CD. His latest CD is A Good Ride. Recently Terry was named Male Poet of the Year by the International Western Music Association and A Good Ride was named Cowboy Poetry CD of the Year.

Find more about Terry at terrynashcowboypoet.com.

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

WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

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WHEN THEY’VE FINISHED SHIPPING CATTLE IN THE FALL
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

Though you’re not exactly blue,
Yet you don’t feel like you do
In the winter, or the long hot summer days.
For your feelin’s and the weather
Seem to sort of go together,
And you’re quiet in the dreamy autumn haze.
When the last big steer is goaded
Down the chute, and safely loaded;
And the summer crew has ceased to hit the ball;
When a fellow starts to draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shipping cattle in the fall.

Only two men left a standin’
On the job for winter brandin’,
And your pardner, he’s a loafing by your side.
With a bran-new saddle creakin’,
But you never hear him speakin’,
And you feel it’s goin’ to be a quiet ride.
But you savvy one another
For you know him like a brother—
He is friendly but he’s quiet, that is all;
For he’s thinkin’ while he’s draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the saddle hosses stringin’
At an easy walk a swingin’
In behind the old chuck wagon movin’ slow.
They are weary gaunt and jaded
With the mud and brush they’ve waded,
And they settled down to business long ago.
Not a hoss is feelin’ sporty,
Not a hoss is actin’ snorty;
In the spring the brutes was full of buck and bawl;
But they’re gentle, when they’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And the cook leads the retreat
Perched high upon his wagon seat,
With his hat pulled ‘way down furr’wd on his head.
Used to make that old team hustle,
Now he hardly moves a muscle,
And a feller might imagine he was dead,
‘Cept his old cob pipe is smokin’
As he lets his team go pokin’,
Hittin’ all the humps and hollers in the road.
No, the cook has not been drinkin’—
He’s just settin’ there and thinkin’
‘Bout the places and the people that he knowed
And you watch the dust a trailin’
And two little clouds a sailin’,
And a big mirage like lakes and timber tall.
And you’re lonesome when you’re draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

When you make the camp that night,
Though the fire is burnin’ bright,
Yet nobody seems to have a lot to say,
In the spring you sung and hollered,
Now you git your supper swallered
And you crawl into your blankets right away.
Then you watch the stars a shinin’
Up there in the soft blue linin’
And you sniff the frosty night air clear and cool.
You can hear the night hoss shiftin’
As your memory starts driftin’
To the little village where you went to school.
With its narrow gravel streets
And the kids you used to meet,
And the common where you used to play baseball.
Now you’re far away and draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon
For they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

And your school-boy sweetheart too,
With her eyes of honest blue—
Best performer in the old home talent show.
You were nothin’ but a kid
But you liked her, sure you did—
Lord! And that was over thirty years ago.
Then your memory starts to roam
From Old Mexico to Nome.
From the Rio Grande to the Powder River,
Of the things you seen and done—
Some of them was lots of fun
And a lot of other things they make you shiver.
‘Bout that boy by name of Reid
That was killed in a stampede—
‘Twas away up north, you helped ’em dig his grave,
And your old friend Jim the boss
That got tangled with a hoss,
And the fellers couldn’t reach in time to save.

You was there when Ed got his’n—
Boy that killed him’s still in prison,
And old Lucky George, he’s rich and livin’ high.
Poor old Tom, he come off worst,
Got his leg broke, died of thirst
Lord but that must be an awful way to die.

Then them winters at the ranches,
And the old time country dances—
Everybody there was sociable and gay.
Used to lead ’em down the middle
Jest a prancin’ to the fiddle—
Never thought of goin’ home till the break of day.
No! there ain’t no chance for sleepin’,
For the memories come a creepin’,
And sometimes you think you hear the voices call;
When a feller starts a draggin’
To the home ranch with the wagon—
When they’ve finished shippin’ cattle in the fall.

…from Kiskaddon’s 1924 version in Rhymes of the Ranges

Bruce Kiskaddon’s masterpiece is a well loved classic, in the repertoire of most serious reciters. Hear top poet Waddie Mitchell recite it.

Bruce Kiskaddon drew on his cowboying experiences for his poetry. Find much more about him in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This 2017 photo is by Colorado poet and rancher Terry Nash. He told us, “I took it on the mountain just before we began gathering cattle to ship.”

Terry Nash can be found at events across the West, including the upcoming 2nd annual West End Cowboy Gathering in Nucla, Colorado, October 31, 2018 along with Dale Burson, Valerie Beard, Floyd Beard, and Peggy Malone. Next month, he is also a part of the Western Slope Cowboy Gathering, November 2-3, 2018 in Grand Junction, Colorado. He’ll join Trinity Seely, Al Albrethsen, Floyd Beard, Dale Burson, Jerry Brooks, Nona Kelley Carver, The Great Western Heritage Show (Rick Cosby and Gary Mansfield), Dale Page, Rod Taylor, Rocky Sullivan, Peggy Malone, and the Ramblin’ Rangers (Bonnie Jo and Brad Exton).

Terry’s recent CD is A Good Ride.” Find more about him at CowboyPoetry.com  and visit his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com.
(Please respect copyright. You can share this poem and photo with this post, but any other use of the photo requires permission. The poem is in the public domain.)

COW SENSE, by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

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COW SENSE
by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

You have heard people a sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”
Well they ain’t seen much cattle I’ll tell you right now.
A cow she knows more than some people by half;
She’s the only thing livin’ that savvys a calf.
A cow don’t know nothin? Well, how do you think
They suckle young calves and walk miles fer a drink?

You have watched an old cow; or I reckon you did,
If she’s got a young calf why she keeps it well hid.
She has planted it out where it jest caint be found,
And she won’t go near there if there’s anything ’round.
You just make that calf give a jump or a beller
And that old cow is there to charge into a feller.

If there’s several young calves in a bunch, you will find,
When their Ma’s go to drink they leave one cow behind.
And when they git full and come back to the bunch
She goes to git her a drink and some lunch.
You kin talk of day nurseries. I reckon as how,
They was fustly invented and used by a cow.

Perhaps you have noticed some times on a drive
With cows, men and hosses more dead than alive,
When you got near the water, as soon as they smelt,
Them old cows went fer it jest Hellity belt.
Then the drags was all calves but they didn’t furgit ’em;
When they drunk they come back and they shore didn’t quit ’em.

They let their calves suck and kept out of the rush,
So them calves didn’t git in the mud and the crush.
I’m telling you people without any jokes,
Cows make better parents than plenty of folks.
If folk thought the thing over, I reckon as how,
They wouldn’t be sayin’ “As dumb as a cow.”

…by Bruce Kiskaddon

How about a Kiskaddon doubleheader. This poem is from Bruce Kiskaddon’s 1935 book, Western Poems; it also appeared in the Western Livestock Journal.

Wheaton Hall Brewer wrote, in his introduction to Western Poems:

…As the years roll on and history appreciates the folk-lore of the plains and ranges, these poems by a real cowboy will take on a deeper significance and mightier stature. When Bruce turns his pony into the Last Corral—long years from now, we all hope—he need feel no surprise if he hears his songs sung by the celestial cowboys as their tireless ponies thunder over the heavenly ranges, bringing in the dogies for branding at the Eternal Corrals. For poetry will never die.

Find many more poems and more about Kiskaddon in features at CowboyPoetry.com.

This recent “family portrait” is by Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash. He comments, “This was two days before we shipped to the mountain. The cattle know when it’s time. They get a little restless at times, and vocal, waiting for cool mountain pastures. I call it their season of discontent.”

Terry’s most recent CD is A Good Ride. He is also featured on the new MASTERS: VOLUME TWO, the poetry of S. Omar Barker from CowboyPoetry.com.

Learn more about Terry Nash at CowboyPoetry.com,  and find him on Facebook while his site, terrynashcowboypoet.com, is being overhauled.

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

 

 

ODE TO THE CALF CRADLE by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

nashmcwhorterphoto courtesy of  Terry Nash

ODE TO THE CALF CRADLE
by Larry McWhorter (1957-2003)

Modern day ranchers are doohickied up
But some gadgets do come in handy.
To have a truck and a trailer with you
On the back side at sundown is dandy.

Them feeders you see on flatbeds now
Sure beat them hundred pound sacks,
Round bales are moved with tractor and winch,
These all save on cowboys’ backs.

The makers of these should see paradise,
St. Pete, let them in if you’re able.
But the fires of Hell won’t be hot enough
For the man who made the calf table.

That heavy, clangin’, foul lookin’ trap
That eats cowboys’ fingers for lunch,
I think it’s alive, for I’ve seen it grin
When my hand it got its chance to crunch.

Oh for the days when the brandin’s were pure,
When the dragger and horse were the kings.
The brandin’ pen was a field of honor
Before that nut forged them foul things.

I’m sure that honyock really meant well.
We all have to do things to cope.
But on their best day, there’s no way they’re faster
Than an old gray haired man with a rope.

The years bring on change and the old ways must fall,
“Efficiency” rules now, I guess,
But that man and his cradle are doing away
With the job that the cowboy loves best.

Now, I’m not one to wish bad luck,
I’ve no use for witch doctor’s powers.
But I hope that feller lives a thousand years
With a case of incurable scours.

© Larry McWhorter
This poem should not be reprinted or reposted without with permission

Colorado rancher and poet Terry Nash suggested that this poem would be a good follow-up to Bruce Kiskaddon’s poem,  “The Brandin’ Corral.” Thanks to the generous permission of Andrea Waitley, it is a pleasure to share it. As she commented, it is a poem that working cowboys love.

A much loved and respected cowboy’s cowboy, poet, and musician, Larry McWhorter left behind an impressive collection of poetry.

Larry McWhorter wrote about this poem in his book, Cowboy Poetry: Contemporary Verse by Larry McWhorter (2000):

I remember Dad telling me about a prospective buyer looking over the ranch he now runs. After an extensive tour of the place, the buyer asked where the calf table was. Dad replied, “I loaned it to a neighbor on the condition he never bring it back!

I am of the opinion that the only people who don’t enjoy branding calves by dragging them to the fire are a) people who have never been where it was done right or b) people who are not good at it.

I realize circumstances dictate a lot of situations. However, I would almost prefer to be fencing or pulling a windmill to working a calf table. It’s about the same thing to me.

The works of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens are featured in the first MASTERS CD (2017) from CowboyPoetry.com. They recite their poetry in recorded poems, “live” performances, and also recite other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs). Jay Snider introduces the CD.

Larry McWhorter’s friend, Texas singer and songwriter Jean Prescott  produced an impressive double-CD album of his work in 2010, with his recitations and also recordings by some of his friends reciting his work, including Oscar Auker, Red Steagall, Waddie Mitchell, Andy Hedges, and others. Find more about that project at CowboyPoetry.com.

Find more poetry and more about Larry McWhorter at CowboyPoetry.com.

This photo comes from Terry Nash; it’s his current Facebook cover photo. Find more about Terry at CowboyPoetry.com and at his site,terrynashcowboypoet.com.

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

SKYPE (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff) by Terry Nash

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photo by Amy Hale Auker; request permission for use

 

SKYPE (#don’tgetthispoundsignstuff)
by Terry Nash

Never thought I’d ever twitter
Nor considered that I’d tweet.
I’ve kept my hashtags to myself
And my sentences complete.

I used to think that Facebook
just happened when in bed
And you’d drifted off mid-paragraph
And yer novel hit yer head.

But, now I have this smart phone
With touch screen and some apps,
And I’m feelin’ sorta trendy
And I figure, just perhaps,

I’ll polish up my ‘tech’-nique;
Succumb to the latest hype,
Clean my hat, brush my ‘stache
And call someone and skype!

I figured just this mornin’
I’d be sure to catch Ol’ Claude.
When he see’s my grinnin’ face
There’s no doubt he’ll be awed!

So I called a little early
To catch him still at home…
Hadn’t ever seen him hatless,
But the glare off his ol’ dome

Plumb blinded me at first!
And when he started into talkin’
He hadn’t stuck his teeth in yet;
It was sorta like he’s squawkin’!

Claude didn’t know we’s skypin’-
Held the phone up just to listen
And I swear I seed plum through him
Confirmin’ my suspicion;

Some cowboys got dang little
‘Twixt their left ear and their right
Next time I skype ol’ Claude
It’ll be in the dark of night!

© 2015, Terry Nash, used with permission
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 complete playlist for A Good Ride here.

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) along with a stellar lineup, including poets, musicians, and dancers: Ardi Baltza, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Ryan Bell, Muzzie & Willy & Cody Braun, Adrian Buckaroogirl, Caleb Klauder Country Band, Cowboy Celtic, John Dofflemyer, Carolyn Dufurrena, Maria Lisa Eastman, Elko Ariñak, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow, Jean Flesher & Amerikanuak, Patricia Frolander, Pipp Gillette, Martin Goicoechea, Jesus Goñi, Kristyn Harris, Andy Hedges, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Rita Hosking & Sean Feder, Oihana Iguaran Barandiaran, Ross Knox, Maialen Lujanbio Zugasti, Betty Lynne McCarthy, Carlton McCord Lewis, Wally McRae, Waddie Mitchell, Mercedes Mendive and Melodikoa, Michael Martin Murphey, Terry Nash, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Riders in the Sky, Randy Rieman, The Rifters, Matt Robertson, David Romtvedt & Caitlin Belem Romtvedt, Jack Sammon, Sean Sexton, Sand Sheff, Andy Wilkinson, Wylie & the Wild West, and Paul Zarzyski.

The 34th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering also includes workshops, films, exhibits, dances, and more. Find more at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

Find Terry also at the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Alpine, Texas (March 2-3, 2018).

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

This photo with DW Groethe and Gail Steiger was taken by writer and cowboy Amy Steiger (Amy Hale Auker) in 2016 at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering. Amy is also featured at Elko. Amy Steiger is the author of four acclaimed books: two novels and two essay collections. Find more about her at AmyHaleAuker.com.

 

A COWBOY’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

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A COWBOY’S NEW YEAR’S RESOLUTIONS
by S. Omar Barker (1895-1985)

As one who’s been a cowhand since the wildcats learned to spit,
I’ve made some resolutions for the comin’ year, to wit:
Resolved, to ride a shorter day and sleep a longer night;
To never come to breakfast till the sun is shinin’ bright;
To draw a top-hands wages when they’re due or quit the job
And hunt a wealthy widow or an easy bank to rob.
Resolved, to quit the wagon when the chuck ain’t up to snuff,
To feed no more on bullet beans nor chaw on beef that’s tough.
Resolved, to straddle nothin’ in the line of saddle mount
That ain’t plumb easy-gaited, gentle broke, and some account.

Resolved, that when it blizzards and there’s stock out in the storm,
To let the owner worry while I stay in where it’s warm.
Resolved, that when it comes my turn next spring to ride the bogs,
I’ll don the bib and tucker of my town and Sunday togs,
And tell the boss, by gravies, if he craves to shed some blood,
Just try to make me smear ’em tailin’ moo-cows from the mud.
Resolved, that when a thunderhead comes rollin’ up the sky,
I’ll lope in off my circle to the bunkhouse where it’s dry.

Resolved, to do such ropin’ as a ropin’ cowhand must,
But never when the air ain’t free from cattle-trompled dust.
Resolved to show no hosses, and resolved, to swim no cricks;
Resolved, no dead-cow skinnin’, and resolved, no fence to fix.
Resolved, to swing no pitchfork, no pick, no ax, no spade;
Resolved to wear my whiskers—if I want to—in a braid!
Resolved, to take this New Year plenty easy through-and-through,
Instead of sweatin’ heavy like I’ve always used to do.

As one who’s been a cowhand since before who laid the chunk,
It may sound like I’m loco, or it may sound like I’m drunk
To make such resolutions as you see upon my list,
And others purt near like ’em that my mem’ry may have missed;
But gosh, they sound so pleasant to a son of saddle sweat!
And New Year’s resolutions—well, I never kept one yet!
So why make resolutions that bring furrows to your brow?
Let’s make ’em free and fancy—’cause we’ll bust ’em anyhow!

© 1966, S. Omar Barker, from “Rawhide Rhymes,” reprinted with the permission of the estate of S. Omar Barker

 

Happy New Year, all!

S. Omar Barker  was one of the founders of the Western Writers of America, Inc. and many of his poems were published by Western Horseman. Find more about S. Omar Barker at CowboyPoetry.com.

Jay Snider recites this poem in a forthcoming CD from CowboyPoetry.com.

This photograph is by Colorado rancher Terry Nash, taken in late 2013. Terry has a new CD, A Good Ride. Find more about him at CowboyPoetry.com and at his site, terrynashcowboypoet.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.

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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.