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: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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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 current and past reviews published in The Western Way at the Western Music Association site.
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
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
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
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
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.