Events: September 2016

• September 1-5, 2016
58th Annual Wagon Days  Sun Valley, Idaho

• September 2-3, 2016
Fifth annual Stanley-Sawtooth Cowboy Gathering  Stanley, Idaho

• September 2-4, 2016
Celebrate Bandera  Bandera, Texas

• September 2-4, 2016
Tumbleweed Music Festival  Richland, Washington

• September 2-5, 2016
North Thompson Fall Fair and Rodeo  Barriere, British Columbia

• September 7-10, 2016
69th Annual Tri-State Rodeo Fort Madison, Iowa

• September 9-10, 2016
4th Annual Great Basin Buckaroo Gathering Ogden, Utah

• September 9-10, 2016
San Angelo Cowboy Gathering  San Angelo, Texas

• September 9-10, 2016
September 22-23, 2017
19th Annual Badger Clark Hometown Cowboy Poetry and Music Gathering  Hot Springs, South Dakota

• September 9-11, 2016
Banning Stagecoach Days  Banning, California

• September 9-11, 2016
28th Annual National Cowboy Symposium & Celebration  Lubbock, Texas

• September 9-11, 2016
36th Annual Hells Canyon Mule Days  Enterprise, Oregon

• September 9-11, 2016
National Folk Festival  Greensboro, North Carolina

• • •

• September 10, 2016
2nd Annual Napa Valley Cowboy Music and Poetry Gathering Yountville, California
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Visit our Sponsor supporters: Western Folklife Center

• • •

• September 14-17, 2016
105th Annual Pendleton Round-up  Pendleton, Oregon

• September 14-October 29, 2016
National Harvest & Cowboy Festival  Silver Dollar City, Missouri

• September 16-18, 2016
27th Annual Maple Creek Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Maple Creek, Saskatchewan

• September 16-18, 2016
Fifth Annual Dakota Western Heritage Festival  Pierre, South Dakota

• September 16-18, 2016
7th Annual Lost n Lava Cowboy Poetry Gathering  Shoshone, Idaho

• September 23-24, 2016
12th Annual Globalquerque Music Festival  Albuquerque, New Mexico

• September 23-24, 2016
Western Days Festival  Lewisville, Texas

• September 23-25, 2016
102nd Annual Fruita Fall Festival Fruita, Colorado

• September 24, 2016
Not Just Cowboy Poetry Willits, California

• September 24, 2016
Pikes Peak Cowboy Gathering  Cripple Creek, Colorado

• September 25, 2016
Ranching Truth benefit concert Alamogordo, New Mexico

• September 25-26, 2016
Ranch Rodeo Finals and Cowboy Heritage Festival  Kissimmee, Florida

• September 29-October 2, 2016
27th Annual Durango Cowboy Gathering  Durango, Colorado

• September 29-October 2, 2016
65th Annual Rex Allen Days  Willcox, Arizona

• September 30-October 2, 2016
Trail’s End Gathering  High River, Alberta

 

 

THE “D2” HORSE WRANGLER by D.J. O’Malley (1867-1943)

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THE “D2” HORSE WRANGLER
by D.J. O’Malley (1867-1943)

One day I thought I’d have some fun,
And see how punching cows was done;
So, when the roundup had begun,
I tackled a cattle king.
Says he: “My foreman is in town,
He’s at the MacQueen, his name is Brown,
Go over, and I think he’ll take you down.”
Says I: “That’s just the thing.”

We started for the ranch next day,
Brown talked to me ‘most all the way;
He said cowpunching was only fun,
It was no work at all;
That all I had to do was ride,
It was just like drifting with the tide,
Geemany chimany, how he lied;
He surely had his gall.

He put me in charge of a cavvy-yard
And told me not to work too hard,
That all I had to do was guard
The horses from getting away.
I had one hundred and sixty head,
And oft’ times wished that I were dead,
When one got away Brown got red,
Now this is the truth, I say.

Sometimes a horse would make a break
Across the prairies he would take
As though he were running for a stake,
For him it was only play.
Sometimes I couldn’t head him at all
And again my saddle horse would fall
And I’d speed on like a cannon ball
Till the earth came in my way.

They led me out an old gray hack
With a great big set fast on his back,
They padded him up with gunny sacks
And used my bedding all.
When I got on he left the ground,
Jumped up in the air and turned around,
I busted the earth as I came down,
It was a terrible fall.

They picked me up and carried me in
And rubbed me down with a rolling pin;
“That’s the way they all begin,
You are doing well,” says Brown,
“And tomorrow morning, if you don’t die,
I’ll give you another horse to try.”
“Oh! won’t you let me walk?” says I,
“Yes,” says he, “into town.”

I’ve traveled up and I’ve traveled down,
I’ve traveled this country all around,
I’ve lived in city, I’ve lived in town,
And I have this much to say:
Before you try it go kiss your wife,
Get a heavy insurance on your life,
Then shoot yourself with a butcher knife,—
It’s far the easiest way.

…by D.J. O’Malley, 1894

“The D-2 Horse Wrangler was” first published in 1894 in the Miles City Stock Grower’s Journal.

D. J. O’Malley was born in San Angelo, Texas, in 1868, and put in nearly a score of years on the open range. He started cowboying in Montana in 1884.

His career as a cowboy poet began in 1889 when he penned “To the Memory of Wiley Collins” about a chuck wagon cook who was killed by lightning. Over the next half century, he wrote many poems and stories about the men and the work he knew, often using the pen name “N Bar N Kid White.”

In a 1967 article in the Journal of American Folkore, John I. White writes:

The most persistent contributor of original verses to the Journal was Dominick J. O’Malley ( 1867-1943), who, at the age of fifteen, following the disappearance of his soldier-stepfather from Fort Keogh adjacent to Miles City, had gone to work as a horse wrangler for the Home Land & Cattle Company, operated by the Niedringhaus Brothers. In a very short time the young wrangler with a flair for versifying had become proficient at the cowpuncher’s unique and often dangerous trade, which he followed for nearly twenty years. Three trips up the trail with Texas cattle bound for northern ranges, the last in 1891, were among his unusual experiences.

Read more at CowboyPoetry.com.

Top reciter Ross Knox includes “The D-2 Horse Wrangler” on his CD, Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day, and that recording is included on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three from CowboyPoetry.com:

This photograph of D.J. O’Malley is from the Montana Historical Society, used with permission.

Photo credit:  Montana Historical Society Research Center Photograph Archives, Helena, MT: 944-212 D.J. O’Malley (Kid White) taken in Forsyth, Montana 1897, photographer unknown. Catalog # 944-212.

(Please respect copyright. You can use this poem and photograph with this post, but permission is required from the Montana Historical Society for this image. The poem is in the public domain.)

HELP WANTED by Andy Nelson

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HELP WANTED
by Andy Nelson

The title of a poster caught my eye,
At the old hometown feed and seed;
“Would you like to give a new job a try?”
I commenced to give it a read.

The qualifications are quite easy,
We need a young male in his prime;
A caretaker will feed him and sees he
stays on the ranch most of the time.

The neighbors don’t care much for visitors,
You’ll have to stay within our bounds;
They’ve even shot at some inquisitors,
So don’t be making any rounds.

You will be expected to be present,
When we call to come on the run;
Your nature does not have to be pleasant,
As long as you get your work done.

You must always be willing and eager,
And in the best shape to perform;
You must deliver like a big leaguer,
Even when it’s not very warm.

You can roughhouse with the other fellers,
Just don’t hurt them so they can’t work;
Don’t be mean to the other ranch dwellers,
All in all, just don’t be a jerk.

Really it is pretty simple duty,
Just work a few months of the year;
The ladies don’t care if you are snooty,
And the guys will mostly stay clear.

Just do as you wish both winter and spring,
But work in the summer and fall;
Eat all you that want and live like a king,
And don’t be too orn’ry to haul.

We’ll suffer your antics, as will each cow,
Even if you are a handful;
You may have already guessed it by now;
We’re in need of a new herd bull.

© 2016, Andy Nelson, used with permission

Second-generation farrier Andy Nelson is a popular cowboy poet, emcee, humorist, rodeo announcer, and co-host (with his brother Jim) of the syndicated Clear Out West (C.O.W.) radio show.

Andy appears at events and gatherings across the West, and he will be at the Heber Valley Music & Cowboy Gathering in Heber City, Utah, October 26-30, 2016.

In Heber City, he’ll join other poets: Waddie Mitchell, Doris Daley, Jeff Carson, DW Groethe, Jo Lynne Kirkwood, Ross Knox, and Walt “Bimbo” Cheney; and musicians Michael Martin Murphey, Suzy Bogguss, Bar J Wranglers, The Highwaymen Live Tribute Band, Dave Stamey, Wylie & The Wild West, The Haunted Windchimes, Joni Harms, Belinda Gail, New West, Trinity Seely, John Wayne Schulz, Heifer Belles, Molly in the
Mineshaft, Olivia Harms, Miss Devon and The Outlaw, Dansie Family Band, Kenny Hall, Ken Stevens & Jerye Lee, and the Heber Valley Orchestra.

Andy Nelson’s latest CD is “I Won,” and it features a wide range of poetic moods, from nonsense to reverence, that show the breadth of his talents. He is accompanied by friend and top songwriter Brenn Hill—who produced the album—on several tracks. The great-looking package sports a cover by noted cowboy cartoonist Ben Crane.

Find more about Andy Nelson at CowboyPoetry.com; at his web site, cowpokepoet.com; and at the Clear Out West (C.O.W.) website and the show’s Facebook page.

This 1941 photo, “Bull’s head. Cruzen Ranch, Valley County, Idaho,” is by Russell Lee, (1903-1986) and is from The Library of Congress. Find more about it here.

Find a feature about noted photographer Russell Lee and a gallery of photographs at the University of Texas at Austin.

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

RIDING TO CAMP IN FALL by Amy Hale Auker

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RIDING TO CAMP IN FALL
by Amy Hale Auker

I am riding to camp in the evening,
The sun resting low in the day
The date marks the start of the season
When the wind gets cool, starts to play.

These horses are shiny and soft
With bellies full of monsoon grass
I wish they’d save their energy
But these fool notions will soon pass.

We don’t ride with a big crew on this outfit
Just me and you most of the time
But we’re lovers so it suits us
And the work’s getting done just fine.

You’re coming behind in the old brown truck
With food and our camp and our gear,
Pulling that rattle-y green trailer
full of alfalfa so rich and so dear.

This little bay mare is full of herself,
Kicking at the horse trailing behind,
There’s a big job ahead, little sister,
Better settle into a pace you like.

We’ve reached the creek and the clover is high.
These ponies are winding a bear.
Maybe the one whose tracks we’ve been seeing.
I wonder if he’ll winter ‘round here.

I’m sure looking forward to cow works this fall
To moving these girls down the way.
To long slow drives with gentle cows,
And a toddy at the end of the day.

I’m climbing the hill, almost to camp
A place of water and work and real.
I’ll hobble these mares and wait for you
To build a fire, pour a drink, make a meal.

For a few days we’ll gather into this trap,
Drink coffee from that old blue pot,
Strip saddles from the backs of sweating mounts
And talk about each cow we got.

I’m not sure which stars burn above
But I bet I’ll know by dawn.
I’ll lie in our bed with their swing overhead
And me held snug in your arms.

Tomorrow we start this cow and bull hunt
It’s catch and release every year,
But you couldn’t pay me to stay at home
When most of what I love is out here.

© 2016, Amy Hale Auker, used with permission
Writer, poet, and working cowboy Amy Steiger (who writes under the name “Amy Hale Auker”) works on Arizona’s Spider ranch. She told us, “…I usually only write a poem that rhymes when I am horseback, so I can remember it when I unsaddle. I wrote this one last fall between headquarters and camp.”

Amy Steiger is the author of three acclaimed books, two novels and an essay collection. Another essay collection, Ordinary Skin, is pending publication.

Find Amy Steiger at the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering (Sept 29-Oct 1). In early 2017 she’s featured at the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (January 30-February 4) and the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering (February 23-24). Find more about Amy Steiger on Facebook; at CowboyPoetry.com; and at AmyHaleAuker.com, where you’ll find more about her books and see more of her writing.

This photograph of Amy and Gail Steiger is by impressive photojournalist Jessica Brandi Lifland and used with her permission.

It is from a series of photographs in her “Cowboy Poets” project. See a blog post and more of the photos here.

Don’t miss the additional series of photographs, of poets Rodney Nelson, Wally McRae, Henry Real Bird, Jack Walther, Bimbo Cheney, Waddie Mitchell, Doris Daley, Jerry Brooks, Elizabeth Ebert, D.W. Groethe, and Bill Lowman posted here.

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

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 without permission

Ranch wife, top poet, and champion quilter Yvonne Hollenbeck and her husband Glen (a champion calf-roper and the subject of many of her poems) raise cattle and quarter horses on their ranch in Clearfield, South Dakota.

Yvonne Hollenbeck designed and created this quilt for the 25th anniversary of Old West Days and the Nebraska Cowboy Poetry Gathering, October 6-9. It includes the 25 commemorative scarves from each year of the gathering. It will be raffled at the event.

Yvonne Hollenbeck joins Bonnie Krogman, Kristyn Harris, R P Smith, Hen and Chicks,Jan Schiferl, Marty Blocker, Marci Broyhill, Gale Patzlaff, Robert Dennis, Susie Knight, Paul Larson, Kristyn Harris, Don Schauda, Rick Buoy, and Plains Folk.

Find more information on Facebook  and at www.oldwestdays.net.

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; visit www.YvonneHollenbeck.com; and follow her on Facebook.

Thanks to Yvonne Hollenbeck for the photo.

Please respect copyright.

TWO BELOW THE HOCKS by Terry Nash

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TWO BELOW THE HOCKS
by Terry Nash

Catch two below the hocks
And then drag ‘em to the fire,
Work ‘em slow and easy,
Lest you stir the bosses’ ire.
The family’s at the fire
With hot irons and vaccination.
Young and old, each has a job
In this time-worn occupation.

Catch two below the hocks,
Then bring ‘em slow and steady,
There ain’t no time to tarry
For the ground crew’s at the ready.
There’s a couple hundred calves to brand;
We’ll have ‘em worked by mid-day.
Turn each one out, mother him up
And know we’ve earned our pay.

It’s a cowman’s rite of spring,
This brandin’ calves traditon;
A western “sport of kings,”
Aand an honored avocation.
So catch two below the hocks boys,
We’ll sing your praises loud-
We’re feedin’ America good red beef!
So set your horses proud!

© 2016, Terry Nash, used with permission

Colorado cowman Terry Nash was inspired by Marcia Molnar’s painting, “Dust n’ Dogies,” which graced the Arizona Cowboy Poets poster this year. The gathering invites poets and musicians to be inspired by its poster art (and that inspired the Art Spur at CowboyPoetry.com).

Terry comments, “I was inspired to write the poem when I saw Marcia’s great painting.It made me think of our spring brandings and family and neighbors coming together to help each other. As a cowman, I also think it’s important to remind people we raise beef to feed the American people.”

You’ll find Terry next at Colorado’s 28th annual Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, September 29-October 2, 2016.

Performers include Wylie and the Wild West; night show poets and musicians Brooke Turner, Bonnie Krogman, Randy Rieman, Mary Kaye, R.P. Smith, Paul Larson, Jerry Brooks, and Miss Devon and the Outlaw; and daytime performers Amy Hale Auker, Floyd Beard, Almeda Terry, Don Cadden, Jeff Carson, Todd Carter and Family, Nona Kelley Carver, Ray Delgado, Mike Dunn, Slim Farnsworth, Rolf Flake, Randy Huston, Jo Lynn Kirkwood, Tim Krebs, Jarle Kvale, Lynn Belle Lewis, Bill May, Slim McWilliams, Terry Nash, Gail Steiger, Caitlyn Taussig, Sam Noble, Lindy Simmons, and Sam DeLeeuw.

Find more about the event on Facebook and at durangocowboypoetrygathering.org.

Marcia Molnar’s bio tells that she “…lives in Prescott, Arizona, with her artist husband George Molnar. Together, they explore and paint Arizona ranch life as well as the Grand Canyon.” See the poem displayed with a larger image at Marcia Molnar’s site and find more about her and her work at the site and on Facebook.

Thanks to Marcia Molnar for permission to use this image.

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

Rick Huff’s “Best of the West Reviews,” Fall, 2016

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, other publications, and at CowboyPoetry.com.

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

__________

Selections from “Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews,” Fall, 2016, below:

Andy Hedges,  Cowboy Songster Vol. 2
Jared Rogerson, Heaven
Floyd Beard,  Short Grass Country
Teresa BurlesonThe Calf Book
Curio Cowboys, Rose Of Old Pawnee
J. J. Steele, Just Passin’ Thru|
Jerry Bell, High Mountain Memory

 

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Andy Hedges,  Cowboy Songster Vol. 2

Although not strictly a Western CD by “definition,” all of the songs and recitations (set to Hedges’ often spellbinding guitar treatments) are authentic ones used by cowcamp entertainers.  Or at least they were songs that coulda-woulda-shoulda been so-used!

It’s interesting to note how easily Bob Dylan’s “Walkin’ Down The Line” slips right into place beside “Ragged But Right” or D. J. O’Malley’s “Charlie Rutledge.”  S. Omar Barker’s “Into The West” is set to music here and works well.  In the notes Don Edwards says these cowcamp entertainers were variously known as “musicianers” or “songsters” and maintained “an intensely pure relationship” with their audiences.  That effect is nicely achieved in the recording of this collection.  Here you will find that simple, wholesome clarity that comes with well thought out voice and guitar work … heart to hand and voice to ear.  To good effect for the recording Hedges used his dad’s vintage Harmony Sovereign h1260 guitar, rebuilt with a “harmony conversion.”

Andy Hedges is onto something fresh with this approach and I applaud it!  Eleven tracks.

CD:  yellowhousemusic.com and  andyhedges.com

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Baxter Black, Tinsel, Mistletoe & Reindeer Bait

The ever-clever Mr. Black is back for the holidays, with a mixed bag of goodies. Broken into two sections labeled (accurately) “Fun” and “Faith,” the book contains a number of fan favorites from both categories.

In one piece Baxter asks the burning question “What’s Christmas To A Cow?”  Who else would envision bovines choosing whether to believe in Santa Claus or Santa Gertrudis?  Or try “How The Angel Got On Top Of The Tree” with its profoundly painful mental picture conjured up of the angel asking “Santy” the wrong thing at the precisely the wrong time.  There’s a nutty “Christmas Gift Exchange on The Farm” that will make you wonder if that desert air Baxter breaths is full of “provocatives!”  The “Fun” section is chock full of Santy tales for the kidder in all of us.  On Christmas Eve, put the wee ones to bed, then pull this out…and try not to wake everybody up giggling and snorting.

In Part Two (the “Faith” part), the content is obvious and specific.

The book is “gleefully illustrated” (the publisher’s words but I concur) by Wally Badgett, Bob Black, Don Gill, Dave Holl, Charlie Marsh, Herb Mignery and Bill Patterson.  Fifty-six pages.  Recommended!

Hardcover Book:  ISBN 978-0-939343-62-1; $21,95 + s/h through baxterblack.com or call 1-800-654-2550.

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Jared Rogerson, Heaven

Rogerson’s fourth CD release continues to justify his slogan “Cowboy Music From The New West,” and he is living proof that our definition of Western Music must hinge on lyric content rather than instrumentation or style.

His “Life’s Too Short Not To Rodeo” is Country Rock musically and it includes the classic Western theme of the city-bound guy opting for the “gentle” bucking arts.  “When it’s Rainin’ Cowboys” describes a tough night at the rodeo.  Tracks that fall squarely into the contemporary Americana category are also present. Most of the songs are Rogerson writes and co-writes, with covers of two songs written by CD co-producer Brenn Hill (“Pictures In The Fire” and “Cowboy Singer Too,” a valid comment on certain Western festivals’ bars for qualifying).  “Why Wyoming” is a wonderfully eerie sung conversation/duet with Devin Rae about a spiritual need to relocate.

Jared Rogerson represents the new “Western.”  Whether you would call his output by that name or not, you need to come to terms with it one way or the other.  Twelve  tracks.  Recommended.

CD:  $18 + $2 s/h through jaredrogerson.com, downloads through most online sources or mail order from Roughstock Records, PO Box 2071, Riverdale, WY  82941.

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Floyd Beard,  Short Grass Country

A fine writer and reciter, Floyd Beard offers us another collection of top-drawer cowboy thoughts and delivery.

“If I’ve got any pull I’ll pray that old bull will throw calves of ‘The Buyer’s Type,’” Beard writes in the poem bearing that title.  With equally apt turns of phrase, (and with considerable bravery…considering…), he brings us “One Size Fits All,” an account of his wife’s, er, adventures getting’ dressed to go dancin’.  With a different kind of “bravery” he engages in Spanish dialect humor in the novelty “Papa Noel.”  I’ll let that one sit with you where it will.  A nice appreciation of the solitary cowboy life can be found in “Ain’t A Hermit” and the flip side of it is illustrated in “A Cowboy’s Life Is The Easy Life” (as in “ya gotta be freakin’ kiddin’ me”)!  Butch Hause also provides sensitive guitar support, making this a well produced package.

Covers of others’ works include Luther Lawhon’s “The Good Old Cowboy Days,” E.A. Brininstool’s “Where The Sagebrush Billows Roll,” Sunny Hancock’s “The Bear Tale” and Banjo Patterson’s “Man From Snowy River.”  Nice collection!  Eighteen tracks.

CD:  $15 + $3 s/h from Short Grass Studios, PO Box 124, Kim, CO  81049; floydbeardcowboy.com.

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Teresa Burleson, The Calf Book

Poet Teresa Burleson is no stranger to either the Western life or to Western audiences.  Her newest release offers more of her views of the former to the latter.

In “Cowgirl Way” she clearly states and demonstrates that strength comes in different dressing, but also she affirms making a hand doesn’t mean she hands off her feminine side.  The title track “The Calf Book” illustrates it all comes out in the wash, and that is the problem, unfotunately!  In “The Message” she arguably equates the shameful Indian betrayal with loss of rights today. And a particular turn of phrase from “Gettin’ Lucky” caught my ear:  “Visions of cowboys two-stepped in their heads.”  Covers include Luke Reed’s “One-Eyed Jack”;  Larry McWhorter’s brief but dead-on “Therapy”; and on Daron Little’s “The Bell Song” the CD engineer happened to record Burleson singing part of the words she intended to only recite and blended singing with recitation together in post.  Good capture!

Some friends help on the album with music intros and outros.  They include Aarom Meador (guitar/mandolin/Native flute), Devon Dawson (drum/Scottish bodran) and Kristyn Harris (fiddle).  Eleven tracks.

CD:  teresaburlesoncowgirlpoet.com

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Curio Cowboys, Rose Of Old Pawnee

This group has a unique and ongoing preservationist mission.  That would be to bring the earliest style of Western Swing forward, with all its quaintly rowdy and somewhat disjointed quirkiness.  So here, straight from what could have been an Edison cylinder or pancake-thick 78 rpm recording, is the newest recording from the Curio Cowboys.

The collection celebrates some of the many early Fred Rose songs, including some from the period he used the pseudonym “Floyd Jenkins.”  Rose became known later to another generation for such standards as “Kaw-liga,” “Roly Poly,” “Take These Chains From My Heart” and “Blue Eyes Cryin’ In The Rain.”  He also was responsible for the now standardized arrangement of “Cattle Call.”

Pick tracks in the style include “Rootie Tootie,” “Low & Lonely,” “I Can’t Go On This Way,” “Home In San Antone,” “Deed I Do,” “Blues In My Mind” and the instrumental “Deep Henderson.”  Jordan Ripley’s vocal on “Deed I Do” is a nice plus and she and husband Byron (from The Tumbleweeds) do the honors on “Texarkana Baby” to its benefit.

When approaching this style, just set your tuning fork aside and relax!  Eighteen tracks.

CD:  $15 from curiocowboys.com.

©2016, Rick Huff

 

 

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J. J. Steele, Just Passin’ Thru

J. Steele is one of those cowpoets the fans want to hear from because he has definitely been-there-done-that. In his introduction, Steele admits “I might just break meter in mid-poem cause that’s the way I tell it best.” But it’s real, and that would be the point of the exercise, right?

Alluding to stages of life, Steele clusters his verse into the categories “Summer Range,” “Winter Stubble” and “Home Pasture.”  From Steele’s poem “Frosty” comes the following vivid description:  “ One day this horse kicked Frosty right smack in the face…and where his nose, it used to be, it left him just a place!” Ouch. And Steele also knows from whence came dinner in another verse:  “When I eat my steak, I knew it came hard” and that means “tippin’ my hat to ‘The Crew In The Yard’.”  His verse “Mr. Bud Pie” is a nice horse tale, and you’ll find others that will speak directly to you, particularly if you are from the horse and cow culture.

The collection isn’t Earth-shattering, nor is it intended to be.  It’s just an honest portrayal of some more pieces of the West of today and of times not long passed.  I guess you could say it deals with “the moments and the momentous.”  Sixty-five  pages.

Trade Paperback – ISBN  978-1-4787-7220-0, US $14.95;  outskirtspress.com and jjsteele.com.

©2016, Rick Huff

 

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Jerry Bell, High Mountain Memory

The newest release from Jerry Bell should again find an appreciative audience, and once again I’m putting in my request for his studio guy to mix Bell’s vocal singing performances more in the forefront.

Bell is a vivid reciter, authentic in tone and content.  Works of Colen Sweeten, Pat Richardson, S. Omar Barker, Sunny Hancock (rather than the “Sony Handcok”  credited here) and Bruce Kiskaddon are always welcome.  Among the songs covered are Tom Russell & Ian Tyson’s “Rose of San Joaquin,” Larry Bastian & Ernest Berghoff’s “Cowboy Bill,” Marty Robbins’ “Old Red,” Ernest & James Schaper and Bill Barwick’s “Don’t Know Much About Waltzin’” and Lucky Whipple’s “Bucking Horse Ballet.”  Two worthy Bell originals round it out (“Ride ‘Em Cowboy” and the title track “High Mountain Memory”).  Fourteen tracks.

I do like Jerry Bell’s style of delivery in both his spoken and singing modes.  Now if we can just get his “mixologist” to let us fully hear him sing…

CD:  $15 + s/h from Jerry Bell, 20 Foxtail Lane, Riverton, WY  82501.

©2016, Rick Huff