HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU lyrics by Joel Nelson, music by Don Edwards

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photo © 1993, Kent Reeves, used with permission

HERE’S LOOKING AT YOU
lyrics by Joel Nelson, music by Don Edwards

You rode the Goodnight-Loving
Went up the Chisholm too
You trailed three thousand to Kansas City
And you wintered with Teddy Blue
Here’s looking at you
Here’s looking at you

You rode with Ranger Goodnight
You helped him tame the land
You learned the Llano Estacado
Just as well as the back of your hand
When you rode for the brand
You rode for the brand

You’ve been three times to Sedalia
With a cook and six-man crew
You came dang near losing the herd and your hair
To a passel of renegade Sioux
But you saw it through
You saw it through

And you courted the dancehall beauties
‘Till they picked your pockets clean
If it happened once you let it happen twice
Up in Dodge and Abilene
And places between
Every place in between

From a heat wave in Palo Pinto
To the frostbite on Raton Pass
You looseherded cattle through a Southwestern drought
In the quest for water and grass
Alack and alas
Huntin’ water and grass

Then you trailed home the fittest survivors
When the word came of late summer rain
And you reveled in respite for weary riders
And three pounds a day in gain
The respite of rain
And three pounds of gain

You drove ‘em up to Montana
Over rivers swollen outta the bank
You started out helping the wrangler’s helper
But you rise right up through the rank
Through the dark and the dank
You rose through the rank

It was a poor way to make a living
And you threatened to quit—but then
When the herd bedded down at the shank of evenin’
You knew you’d do it over ag’in
Through the thick and the thin
You’d do it ag’in

Now a half-dozen generations
Have mourned your passin’ on
But you were just startin’ what still isn’t over
And your spirit saddles up in the dawn
For you are not gone
No you are not gone

We see you in the Steeldust
In the spark flyin’ offfa the show
Maybe we are here livin’ what you never dreamed of
But you lived what we never know
Here’s looking at you
Here’s looking at you

Here’s looking at you—Cowboy
Here’s looking at you.

© Copyright 2001, Joel Nelson, Night Horse Songs, BMI
These lyrics should not be reposted or reprinted without permission

This outstanding cowboy song (listen here) is the result of a collaboration between two of today’s most respected people in the cowboy poetry and music world: Joel Nelson and Don Edwards.

Here’s Looking at You” came from the pen of Joel Nelson, emerging as a song, not a poem. Don Edwards told of his friendly skepticism when Joel Nelson told him he had written a song that he wanted Don to hear. Don admitted he was thinking “A song? Joel’s a poet,” and before he knew it, there was another surprise: Joel pulled out his guitar. Don said at the time, “I’ve known Joel for twenty-five years, and I didn’t know he played the guitar.” His expectations weren’t high. But he went from skeptic to believer quickly.

What followed was what Don describes as a song of “marvelous purity, akin to the works of Don Hedgpeth, JB Allen, Badger Clark, Bruce Kiskaddon,” writers able to make words with “a hundred years wrapped into now.” Don said that he couldn’t get the song out of his mind, and he soon was in touch with Joel to talk about working with the song, saying that he didn’t want to do anything to take away from the near-perfect words. Don’s skillful arrangement makes it impossible to imagine any other tune working with the inspired lyrics.

“Here’s Looking at You” was recorded by Don Edwards on his Saddle Songs II, Last of the Troubadours album. You can listen to it here.  It was also featured last week on Jim and Andy Nelson’s Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show and is available in part 4 of the October 15, 2018 archive.

This collaboration was featured in 2008 in a column from CowboyPoetry.com, “Before the Song,” which appeared in the International Western Music Association’s magazine, The Western Way. Find much more about the song and the collaboration in the article here.

Find more about Joel Nelson at CowboyPoetry.com and visit donedwardsmusic.com for more about Don Edwards.

Joel Nelson appears at the Texas Hill Country Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Fredricksburg, Texas, November 8-10, and will be a part of the Western Folklife Center’s 35th Annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering January 28 – February 2, 2019. The lineup includes 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan. Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, Swift Current, and Paul Zarzyski. Find more at
http://www.nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

This c. 1993 photograph of Joel Nelson is by Kent Reeves, Cowboy Conservationist, from the landmark book Between Earth and Sky: Poets of the Cowboy West, by Anne Heath Widmark, with photographs by Kent Reeves.

Kent Reeves writes in the book’s Acknowledgments, “…I owe my work in this book to all the poets who allowed me to interrupt their lives and who took me in for a few days. I do not feel that I ‘took’ these photographs; I believe that each poet gave them to me.” In addition to Joel Nelson, the book includes chapters with Buck Ramsey, Wallace McRae, Rod McQueary, Linda Hussa, John Dofflemyer, Shadd Piehl, Paul Zarzyski, Sue Wallis, Vess Quinlan, Henry Real Bird, and Drummond Hadley.

See a gallery of photos from the book on Facebook.

Find more about Kent Reeves at CowboyPoetry.com and at cowboyconservation.com.

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

OLD EAGLE EYE, by Yvonne Hollenbeck

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OLD EAGLE EYE
by Yvonne Hollenbeck

He can tell if a heifer is starting to calve,
I swear from a mile away,
and see if he needs to go pull the calf
by just simply looking that way.

He can see if a windmill is working or not
from his horse on a faraway hill,
and tell what direction the wind’s coming from
by watching the tail on the mill.

He knows if a coyote or badger is near
by watching the tracks in the sand,
and sees if a staple is loose from a post
on the fence that encircles his land.

He’s got eyes like an eagle for finding new calves
that their mamas have hidden all snug;
so why can’t he see the mud on his boots
that he’s tracking all over my rug?

© 2012, Yvonne Hollenbeck, used with permission.
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted with out the author’s permission

Ranch wife, top poet, and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck and her husband Glen raise cattle and quarter horses on their ranch in Clearfield, South Dakota.

Glen, a champion calf-roper and the subject of many of her poems, is pictured here.

Find Yvonne emceeing at the Dakota Western Heritage Festival in Ft. Pierre, South Dakota, September 14-16, 2018. Poets and musicians include Robert Dennis, Marty Blocker, R.P. Smith, Jake Riley, Colt Blankman, and others. Find more about the event on Facebook.

In October, she’s featured at the Red Steagall Cowboy Gathering, October 26-28, 2018 in Fort Worth, Texas along with Red Steagall, “Straw” Berry, Mikki Daniel, Don Edwards, Bobby Flores, Kristyn Harris, Jake Hooker, Chris Isaacs, Jean Prescott, Dan Roberts, Leon Rausch, Hailey Sandoz, and Jay Snider.

In January, she returns to the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering in Elko, Nevada, January 28 through February 2, 2019. Find more about the event and see the great lineup at nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org.

Yvonne Hollenbeck’s recent book, Rhyming the Range, and CD by the same name, collect her original poems about her life on the ranch. The book includes the most requested poems from her two out-of-print books and all of her newest poetry.

Find more of Yvonne Hollenbeck’s poetry at CowboyPoetry.com and visit YvonneHollenbeck.com.

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

THE OLD DOUBLE DIAMOND, by Gary McMahan

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THE OLD DOUBLE DIAMOND
lyrics by Gary McMahan

The old Double Diamond lay out east of Dubois
in the land of the buffalo
And the auctioneer’s gavel rapped and it rattled,
as I watched the old Double Diamond go.
Won’t you listen to the wind
Mother Nature’s violin.

When I first hired on the old Double Diamond
I was a dammed poor excuse for a man
Never learned how to aim,
well my spirit was tame
couldn’t see all the cards in my hand.
And the wind whipped the granite above me
and blew the tumbleweeds clean through my soul.

I fought her winters, busted her horses
I took more than I thought I could stand,
but the battle with the mountains and cattle
seems to bring out the best in a man.
I guess a sailor, he needs an ocean
and a mama, her babies to hold.

And I need the hills of Wyoming
in the land of the buffalo
Now shes sellin’ out, and I’m movin’ on
But I’m leavin’ with more than I came
‘Cause I got this saddle and it ain’t for sale,
and I got this song to sing

I got this a new range to find
and new knots to tie
in a country where cowboys are kings
I turned my tail to the wind,
and the old Double Diamond
disappeared into the sage.

Yay ee o-del o-hoo – dee

© 1975, words and music by Gary McMahan, used with permission
These lyrics should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission

Gary McMahan’s widely loved song has been cited as one of today’s top cowboy songs by Western Horseman. It has been recorded by Chris LeDoux, Ian Tyson, and dozens of other artists. Gary tells about writing the song:

My dad was a cattle trucker and had hauled lots of cattle out of Dubois, Wyoming, for a fella named Ab Cross. Ab owned the grand old Cross Ranch outside of Dubois. Dad and Ab were good friends, and I became a friend of the Crosses as well.

I believe it was 1973 when Dad and I were up there in Dubois on a fishing trip. We stayed with the Crosses, and as we were getting ready to head out, Ab said, “You’re not leaving today, are you? The Double Diamond Ranch is going on the auction block today, and it’s kind of a big deal around these parts.” So Ab talked us into staying an extra day.

We all went to the sale and saw the fine old ranch go. There were a bunch of  cowboys there who had just lost their jobs and were loadin’ up and moving out, all heading to what they hoped would be another cowboyin’ job somewhere. It struck my heart, and I thought this was kind of typical of what was going on in the West.

That next day on the drive back to Colorado, I wrote the basics of the song ‘The Old Double Diamond.’ I was living in Nashville at the time and over the next…I don’t know…nine months or so, I refined the song into the song you hear today.

It’s been cut I don’t know how many times by big names and small alike. I never tried to control who sang the song. I just let it have its head…I rarely meet a cowboy who doesn’t know the words to that song.”

Listen to Gary McMahan’s rendition at his web site  and see a video on Youtube.

Find an Ian Tyson version on YouTube and one by Chris LeDoux here .

Gary McMahan is featured at the Western Folklife Center’s 35th annual National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 28 – February 2, 2019. The lineup has just been announced: 3hattrio, Amy Hale Auker, Mike Beck, Geno Delafose & French Rockin Boogie, John Dofflemyer, Joshua Dugat, Maria Lisa Eastman, Mary Flitner, Jamie Fox & Alex Kusturok, Ryan & Hoss Fritz, Dick Gibford, DW Groethe, Andy Hedges, Brenn Hill, Tish Hinojosa, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Ross Knox, Ned LeDoux, Daron Little, Corb Lund, Carolyn Martin’s Swing Band, Sid Marty, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Gary McMahan, Waddie Mitchell, Michael Martin Murphey, Joel Nelson, Rodney Nelson, Diane Peavey, Shadd Piehl, Vess Quinlan. Halladay & Rob Quist, Henry Real Bird, Brigid Reedy, Randy Rieman, Jake Riley, Matt Robertson, Olivia Romo, Trinity Seely, Sean Sexton, Sourdough Slim, Dave Stamey, Gail Steiger, Colter Wall, Swift Current, and Paul Zarzyski.

The event will include three showings of Everything in the Song is True, Doug Morrione’s award-winning feature-length documentary film “of four iconic western characters”: Gary McMahan, Yvonne Hollenbeck, Brice Chapman, and Greg Nourse. The excellent film is now available for streaming at Amazon. Find more about the film at www.everythinginthesongistrue.com.

This vintage photo is of Gary and his dog, Cutie Pie. Check out “Cutie Pie (the Yodeling Dog)” at his site for audio from the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering with Ranger Doug of the Riders in the Sky, Gary, and Cutie Pie.

Find more about Gary McMahan at CowboyPoetry.com; visit his site, www.singingcowboy.com (where there are full-length versions of all tracks on all of his albums); and find him  on Facebook, http://www.facebook.com/HorseAppleRecords.

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

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Shows and Workshops

 

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From the Western Folklife Center:

33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering Ticketed Show and Workshops Now Online

The Gathering website has a new look and a new address! Bookmark www.nationalcowboypoetrygathering.org and head on over to see the ticketed shows and workshops scheduled for the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, January 30-February 4, 2017, in Elko, Nevada!

Western Folklife Center members can purchase tickets to these shows and workshops starting September 6 at 9:00 am PST. To purchase tickets online during the members’-only period, you must have a password that will be given to current members starting August 20 via email. You can also call or email the membership office after September 20 for the password. When you purchase tickets, you will need to know your membership level benefits. If you are unsure of your member level or your benefits, contact the membership office at at 775-738-7508 ext 222 or membership@ westernfolklife.org.

National Cowboy Poetry Gathering

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From the Western Folklife Center:

The 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering poster features the painting, “Moving the Corrientes” (2010), by award-winning Tucson artist Howard Post. An excerpt from Linda M. Hasselstrom’s poem, “Where the Stories Come From” (Bitter Creek Junction, 2000), borders the painting, in honor of the storytelling theme of the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering.

__________

Announcing the Artist Line-Up for the 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering 

The 33rd National Cowboy Poetry Gathering is January 30 to February 4, 2017, in Elko, Nevada. Tickets are on sale to Western Folklife Center members starting Tuesday, September 6, and to non-members starting Thursday, October 6. We are pleased to welcome the following poets, musicians and storytellers to the Elko stage in 2017!

Amy Hale Auker – Prescott, AZ
Mike Beck – Monterey, CA
Luke Bell – Cody, WY — NEW!
Jerry Brooks
– Sevier, UT
Cowboy Celtic -Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada
Doris Daley – Black Diamond, Alberta, Canada
John Dofflemyer – Lemon Cove, CA
Carolyn Dufurrena – Winnemucca, NV
Maria Lisa Eastman – Hyattville, WY – NEW!
Don Edwards – Hico, TX
Ramblin’ Jack Elliott – Northern California
Dom Flemons & Brian Farrow – Hillsborough, NC
Patricia Frolander – Sundance, WY
DW Groethe – Bainville, MT
Kristyn Harris – McKinney, TX
Andy Hedges – Lubbock, TX
Brenn Hill – Hooper, UT
Teresa Jordan – Virgin, UT
Ross Knox – Midpines, CA
Jarle Kvale – Dunseith, ND – NEW!
Daron Little – Encampment, WY – NEW!
Corb Lund – Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Waddie Mitchell – Twin Bridges, NV
Doug Moreland & the Flying Armadillos – Manchaca, TX – NEW!
Joel Nelson
– Alpine, TX
Rodney Nelson
– Almont, ND
Shadd Piehl – Mandan, ND
Vess Quinlan – Florence, CO
Henry Real Bird – Garryowen, MT
Brigid Reedy – Boulder, MT
Randy Rieman – Dillon, MT
Kent Rollins – Hollis, OK
Jack Sammon – Murwillumbah, New South Wales, Australia – NEW!
Martha Scanlan & Jon Neufeld – Birney, MT
Trinity Seely – Cascade, MT
Sean Sexton – Vero Beach, FL
Sourdough Slim & Robert Armstrong – Paradise, CA
R.P. Smith – Broken Bow, NE
Dave Stamey – Orange Cove, CA
Gail Steiger – Prescott, AZ
Rod Taylor – Cimarron, NM
Ian Tyson – Longview, Alberta, Canada
Keith Ward – Vilas, NC
Andy Wilkinson – Lubbock, TX
Paul Zarzyski – Great Falls, MT

Find the Western Folklife Center on Facebook and at http://www.westernfolklife.org.