THE GOOD OLD COWBOY DAYS by Luther A. Lawhon (1861-1922)



by Luther A. Lawhon (1861-1922)

My fancy drifts as often, through the murky, misty maze
Of the past—to other seasons—to the good old cowboy days,
When the grass wuz green an’ wavin’ an’ the skies wuz soft and blue,
And the men were brave an’ loyal, and the women fair an’ true!
The old-time cowboy—here’s to him, from hired hand to boss!
His soul wuz free from envy and his heart wuz free from dross,
An’ deep within his nature, which wuz rugged, high and bold,
There ran a vein uv metal, and the metal, men, wuz, gold!

He’d stand up—drunk or sober—’gin a thousand fer his rights;
He’d sometimes close an argument by shootin’ out the lights;
An’ when there was a killin’, by the quickest on the draw,
He wern’t disposed to quibble ’bout the majesty uv law,
But a thief—a low down villain—why, he had no use for him
An’ wuz mighty apt to leave ‘im danglin’ from a handy limb.
He wuz heeled and allers ready—quick with pistol or with knife,
But he never shirked a danger or a duty in his life!

An’ at a tale uv sorrow or uv innocence beguiled
His heart wuz just as tender as the heart uv any child.
An’ woman—aye, her honor wuz a sacred thing; and hence
He threw his arms around her—in a figurative sense.
His home wuz yours, where’er it wuz, an’ open stood the door,
Whose hinges never closed upon the needy or the poor;
An’ high or low—it mattered not—the time, if night or day,
The stranger found a welcome just as long as he would stay.

Wuz honest to the marrow, and his bond wuz in his word.
He paid for every critter that he cut into his herd;
An’ take your note because he loaned a friend a little pelf?
No, sir, indeed! He thought you wuz as worthy as himself.
An’ when you came and paid it back, as proper wuz an’ meet,
You trod upon forbidden ground to ask for a receipt.
In former case you paid the debt (there weren’t no intres’ due),
An’ in the latter—chances wuz he’d put a hole through you!

The old-time cowboy had ‘is faults; ’tis true, as has been said,
He’d look upon the licker when the licker, men, wuz red;
His language weren’t allers spoke accordin’ to the rule;
Nor wuz it sech as ye’d expect to hear at Sunday school.
But when he went to meetin’, men, he didn’t yawn or doze,
Nor set there takin’ notice of the congregation’s clothes.
He listened to the preacher with respect, an’ all o’ that,
An’ he never failed to ante when they passed aroun’ the hat!

I call to mind the tournament, an’ then the ball at night;
Of how old Porter drawed the bow and sawed with all his might;
Of how they’d dance—the boys an’ girls; an’ how that one wuz there
With rosy cheeks, an’ hazel eyes, an’ golden, curly hair;
An’ I—but here I’m techin’ on a mighty tender spot;
That boyhood love, at this late day, had better be forgot;
But still at times my heart goes back agin’ and fondly strays
Amidst those dear remembered scenes—the good old cowboy days!

The old-time cowboy wuz a man all over! Hear me, men!
I somehow kinder figger we’ll not see his like agin.
The few that’s left are older now; their hair is mostly white;
Their forms are not so active, and their eyes are not so bright
As when the grass wuz wavin’ green, the skies wuz soft an’ blue,
An’ men were brave, an’ loyal, and the women fair an’ true,
An’ the land wuz filled with plenty, an the range wuz free to graze,
An’ all rode as brothers—in the good old cowboy days.

…by Luther A. Lawhon from “The Trail Drivers of Texas”

Those fortunate enough to have have heard Oklahoma rancher and poet Jay Snider’s ( recitation of “The Good Old Cowboy Days” on his CD, The Old Tried and True or at the National Cowboy Poetry Rodeo or the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering or the Westernfolklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering or other events have experienced a fine performance of a little-heard poem. Jay Snider brought the poem to our attention, and he recites on The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Three and it is included on Volume Ten “best-of-the-best” double CD.

Listen to Jay Snider recite the poem on YouTube.

The poem was written by Luther A. Lawhon and is included in The Trail Drivers of Texas, a book best described by its subtitle, “Interesting Sketches of Early Cowboys and Their Experiences on the Range and on the Trail during the Days that Tried Men’s Souls—True Narratives Related by Real Cowpunchers and Men Who Fathered the Cattle Industry in Texas.”

Lawhon worked in newspapers and was involved in local politics, as a congressional candidate.

The book, with over a thousand pages, was originally published by the Old Time Trail Driver’s Association, where Lawhon served as Secretary. An article by Lawhon, “The Men Who Made the Trail,” is also included in the book.

There were at least four editions of the book published before a 1925 edition that was reprinted in 1992 by the University of Texas Press and includes an introduction by B. Byron Price and a full index. The early editions of the book are rare, as are copies of Lawhon’s other collections, which include Songs and Satires (1901) and Cactus Blossoms (1905).

Read more about the University of Texas edition of The Trail Drivers of Texas, and read B. Byron Price’s introduction and view the table of contents at the university’s site.

This 1939 photo by Russell Lee 1903-1986 is titled, “Old-time trail driver in front of kitchen cabinet. Crystal City, Texas.” It is from The Library of Congress Prints & Photographs Division. Find more about it here. There are other photos of the same man, and the captions note that he lives “…alone in quarters furnished by the town. He also receives sustenance from town. He is an old-time trail driver.”

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



photo by Karen Gilbride, Captured By Karen

by Dale Page

It’s a half day’s ride to this cabin door
Where I spent my eighteenth year.
There are spur marks there on the old wood floor,
But the crew’s no longer here.

So it’s silent now, where a noisy gang
Gathered round to lie and spar
Or to ponder life while some waddy sang
To his battered old guitar.

All the bunk bed slats have been long since burned
By the hungry cast iron stove.
In the corner there lies a chair, upturned,
With the leather seat I wove.

There an old grass rope and a horsehair rein
Hang forgotten on the wall.
That old Frazier rig won’t be rode again.
Whose it was, I can’t recall.

Through the flyspecked, broken out window there
Stands an empty pine pole pen.
All the broncs are gone, but I don’t know where.
And what’s worse, I don’t know when.

And the boys who rode for their meager wage,
Which was thrown away each week,
Were a part of a wild and woolly age
Which gave way to mild and meek.

I can see them there, ‘round the coosie’s fire
When the herd was bedded down.
We would swear our oaths we would not retire
To a lesser life in town.

We would toast our lives with a strong black brew
While we dined on beef and beans.
We looked down on the suit and necktie crew
Who don’t know what living means.

For we ruled the world from our leather thrones,
Cinched atop a half-broke mount.
And we spent our youth as if kings, not drones.
We were rich in things that count.

When we tally dreams that can still come true
We will find our herds are short.
But we won’t regret what we didn’t do
When we stand that final sort.

For a few short years we were pleased to live
As the luckiest of men.
We enjoyed the best that this life can give
Because we were cowboys then.

© 2007, Dale E. Page
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission

Dale Page tells about the poem’s inspiration:

The location in this poem is the Sangre de Cristo Mountains near Cimarron, New Mexico, where I spent the summer after graduating high school. The barn where our bunkroom was located is 10 miles off paved road at an elevation of about 8,000 feet. We had 50 horses up there and that many pack burros. I had only one day off the entire summer, but I wouldn’t trade that time for anything.

After 40 years, I returned to the camp and found it pretty much the same. I have to admit it showed a little less wear than I. Standing there brought back a lot of memories of good horses and good friends. In my mind, I could still see the palomino paint at the corral gate, waiting for me to go jingle up the rest of the horses. It was a great place and a great time of my life. That summer changed me from a city boy to a pretty decent rider and a lover of New Mexico.

He adds, in liner notes to his 2014 Once We Were Kings CD, “…It’s about times to which we can’t go back, but times we don’t want to forget.”

Listen to Dale Page recite his poem on the most recent Back at the Ranch Radio show from Jarle Kvale.

Dale Page is also included in the lineup at the Fourth Annual Cimarron Cowboy Music & Poetry Gathering, August 25-27, 2017 at New Mexico’s Philmont Scout Ranch, just south of Cimarron. Other performers include Floyd Beard, Valerie Beard, Broken Chair Band, Dale Burson, Janice Deardorff, Doug Figgs, Purly Gates, Danner Hampton, Randy Huston, Washtub Jerry, Jill Jones, Jim Jones, Deanna Dickinson McCall, Peggy Malone, Terry Nash, Claudia Nygaard, Dale Page, Ramblin’ Rangers, Sandy Reay, Dennis Russell, Mark Smith, Rocky Sullivan, Rod Taylor, and Jim Wilson.

The event continues to grow, and this year there is a great-looking chuck wagon. Find more about that and the event on Facebook,  and at   Find more poetry and more about Dale Page at, and at his web site,

This photograph of Dale Page, which he calls “Colorado Sunset,” is by Karen Gilbride of Grand Junction, Captured By Karen.



authorship uncertain

Backward, turn backward, oh, Time with your wheels,
Aeroplanes, wagons and automobiles
Dress me once more in sombrero that flaps,
Spurs, and a flannel shirt, slicker and chaps
Put a six-shooter or two in my hand.
Show me a yearling to rope and to brand
Out where the sage brush is dusty and gray,
Make me a cowboy again for a day.

Give me a broncho that knows how to dance,
Buckskin of color and wicked of glance,
New to the feeling of bridles and bits
Give me a quirt that will sting where it hits,
Strap on the poncho behind in a roll,
Pass me the lariat, dear to my soul,
Over the trail let me gallop away.
Make me a cowboy again for a day.

Thunder of hoofs on the range as you ride
Hissing of iron and the smoking of hide,
Bellow of cattle, and snort of cayuse
Shorthorns from Texas as wild as the deuce;
Midnight stampede, and the milling of herds
Yells of the cowmen too angry for words
Right in the thick of it all I would stay.
Make me a cowboy again for a day.

Under the star-studded canopy vast
Campfire and coffee and comfort at last.
(Bacon that sizzles and crisps in the pan
After the roundup smells good to a man.)
Stories of ranchers and rustlers retold
Over the pipes as the embers grow cold—
These are the tunes that old memories play,
Make me a cowboy again for a day.

…as in Leslie’s Weekly, 1910

Our great American troubadour Don Edwards includes “Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day” in his Saddle Songs—A Cowboy Songbag, an invaluable reference book. See his version at

The poem is not recited much and the song is not heard or recorded frequently these days. In Saddle Songs, Don Edwards writes, “I always used to love to hear my friend Dick Farnsworth sing this old song…Dick sang it to the tune of ‘One Morning in May.’ It is also interchangeable with ‘Wild Rippling Water.’ Dick was a real good and cherished friend and I miss him a lot. Kind of like these old songs if folks quit singin’ ’em…they’ll be gone someday and won’t be comin’ back.” The same page in the book includes a quote from Richard Farnsworth, “I sing a little better than a crow but not as good as a canary.”

Don Edwards sings “Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day” on his Wrangler Award-winning album, Saddle Songs II Last of the Troubadours.” You can hear it on YouTube.

“Make Me a Cowboy Again for a Day” is included in Songs Texas Sings (1936), a small songbook created for the Texas centennial for schools, which has an introduction by John Lomax. No author is given.

In a search for the earliest printing of the poem or song, we found the above version in Leslie’s Weekly, the October 6, 1910 edition. The author was given as “Rorodore Theovelt,” which looks like an awkward re-arrangement of Theodore Roosevelt. Earlier in 1910, Roosevelt’s secretary, William Loeb, Jr. became a member of Leslie’s board. Perhaps it was meant as a spoof.

Glenn Ohrlin notes that George B. German, in the 1932 Cowboy Campfire Ballads credits the song to an 1890s creation by Joe and Zack Miller of the 101 Ranch Wild West Show. Other references mention that it is similar to the popular-at-its-time “Rock Me to Sleep Mother” (written by Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen in 1866; sometimes attributed to Florence Percy, which was the pen name of Elizabeth Chase Akers Allen, and Ernest Leslie, composer) that begins “Backward, turn backward, Oh Time, in your flight, make me a child again just for tonight.”

Find more about the song and poem, including some alternate lines, at

This 1939 photo by Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985) is from The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, Farm Services Administration (FSA). It is titled, “Custer Forest, Montana.”

Rothstein was a student of Roy Styker, who conceived the documentary photography project for the FSA. Find more about Arthur Rothstein at Wikipedia.

Find more about the photo here.




RAIN lyrics by Daron Little


“Sunrise at Pass Creek” by Daron Little; request permission for use

lyrics by Daron Little

Neighbor shipped his spring calves early today.
It don’t seem to make much sense at all.
But this years been all wrong since I can’t remember when
And it’s got our backs up against the wall.

And it’s hard to pray when the dust devils dance
Nine months of drought leaves little to chance.
And Lord, I ain’t asking you to take the swear and pain,
But we sure could use a little Rain.

Something so simple that means so much
To those that feel the earth’s touch.
Ranchers and wives and Cowboys out on the broken plain
Sure know the meaning of just a little Rain.

And it’s hard to pray when the dust devils dance
Nine months of drought leaves little to chance.
And Lord, I ain’t asking you to take the swear and pain,
But we sure could use a little Rain.

And I don’t know if you can hear me tonight
You know I ain’t scared of a fight
And I’m thankful for this life I’ve been given
And I’ll do what it takes to make it worth livin’

And it’s hard to pray when the dust devils dance
Nine months of drought leaves little to chance.
And Lord, I ain’t asking you to take the swear and pain,
But we sure could use a little Rain.

© Daron Little
These lyrics should not be reprinted or reposted without the author’s permission

In Monday’s post, Ken Cook mentioned respected cowboy and songwriter Daron Little’s song, “Rain.” Ken commented, “My favorite piece about moisture comes from Daron Little’s 307 album. The song is ‘Rain,’ masterfully crafted by Daron. ‘Sure could use a little rain.’ He says it all right there.”

Daron Little cowboys on the TA Ranch north of Saratoga, Wyoming. His bio tells, “His area code is 307, a detail that is close to his heart. In fact, his third album is titled 307, a tribute to the land and the region.” He has performed at the WesternFolklife National Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering,  the Western Heritage Classic Ranch Rodeo, the Grand Encampment Cowboy Gathering, the Durango Cowboy Poetry Gathering, the Heber Valley Music and Cowboy Poetry Gathering, and other events.

Find some of his songs on his YouTube channel. Find more about him at his site,

RAIN by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

waitingoutbo“Waiting Out the Storm,” by Bill Owen (1942-2013) request permission for use.

by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950)

It’s sumpthin’ a feller caint hardly explain
The way that a cowpuncher feels about rain.
It makes the feed grow and it fills up the tanks,
And generally speakin’ he’d orta give thanks.
He wakes up some night when the rain hits his bed
And pull the tarpolian up over his head.
It’s warm when it rains and he gits overhet
And he lays there all night in a miserable sweat.

He wakes up next mornin’, his boots is all soaked
Jest laugh that one off if you think it’s a joke.
He pulls at the lugs and he stomps and he knocks
Till he drives both his feet through the toes of his socks.
He gits his boots on but you know how it feels;
No toes in his socks and them wrinkled up heels.
When he goes to ketch out it ain’t no easy trick
With a rope that is wet and as stiff as a stick.

He dabs for his hoss and he makes a good snare
But the hoss downs his head and backs right out from there.
Fer a cow pony knows you caint tighten a loop
When you ketch with a rope that’s as stiff as a hoop.
When he gits saddled up he must climb up and ride
And that wets the last dry spot he had on his hide.
The hoss starts to buck but that cow boy is set
Fer a man’s hard to throw when his saddle is wet.

All day he keeps ridin’ the flats and the hills,
A slippin’ and slidin’ and likely he spills.
When he gits into camp he must stand up to eat,
And his clothes is all wet from his head to his feet.
He stands ’round the fire, he cusses and smokes,
Fer he hates to git into a bed that’s all soaked.
But his slicker’s wet through fer it’s old any way,
And there’s mighty few slickers turns water all day.

And while he turns in, and as strange as it seems
He goes off to sleep and he sweats and he steams.
Next mornin’ it’s clear and the wind’s blowin’ sharp
He shivers and crawls out from under his tarp.
By the time he eats breakfast he’s feeling all right
And his bed will dry out by a couple more nights.
But the old saddle blankets are still cold and wet,
And the hoss humps his back and looks wicked you bet.

Old cow boy is tired, he’s stiff and he’s sore,
He’s had lots of trouble, he don’t want no more.
So he takes that old pony and leads him around
Till he gits his back warm and the saddle sets down.
Fer the man that’s been rained on two nights and a day,
Ain’t lookin’ fer trouble; he ain’t built that way.
He wants feed and water but let me explain,
A waddy ain’t comf’tble out in the rain.

…by Bruce Kiskaddon, from Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems, 1947

Kiskaddon worked for ten years as a cowboy, starting in 1898, working in southeastern Colorado’s Picketwire area. He wrote many poems still read and recited today.

Near the end of his life, Bruce Kiskaddon collected many of his previously published poems and one hundred never-before-published poems for his book, Rhymes of the Ranges and Other Poems. This poem is one of those one hundred. Bill Siems writes in his monumental Open Range, which collects nearly 500 of Kiskaddon’s poems, that the 1947 book “…has been the ‘bible’ of Kiskaddon’s poetry since it first appeared…”

Find much more about Kiskaddon: many of his poems; a feature about Bill Siems’ Open Range; Siems’ collection of Kiskaddon’s short stories, Shorty’s Yarns; and more at

This painting, “Waiting Out the Storm,” is by the great Bill Owen (1942-2013).

Bill Owen was a cowboy’s painter. His web site tells, “Bill always felt compelled to record what he believed to be the true endangered species of our time: the contemporary working cowboy. He was extremely passionate about the importance of portraying each and every detail with complete accuracy.His greatest accomplishments and proudest moments were realized when a true cowboy looked at one of his pieces and said, ‘That’s exactly the way it is!’”

We were proud to have Bill Owen’s “Born to This Land” as the image for the official poster for the ninth annual Cowboy Poetry Week, 2010.

Visit for more about Bill Owen; find more about Bill Owen at; at the Cowboy Artists of America site; and see more on Facebook.

Bill Owen’s good work was also in good works: he founded the the Arizona Cowpuncher’s Scholarship Organization to help finance college educations for young people from the Arizona ranching community. The organization is now called the Bill Owen, Cowboy Artist, Memorial Scholarship Fund, Inc.

Thanks to Val Fillhouer​ for her kind permissions.



“Crash of Thunder” by Gary Morton; request permission for use

by Ken Cook

There’s nothin’ forged by mortal man,
Can measure full the gain,

When God swings wide ol’ heaven’s gate,
And sorts a day of rain.

No vessel on a sun-baked ranch,
Not dog dish, gauge or pail,

Can hold the flow and endless worth,
A soaker can unveil.

You’d barter with the devil sure,
If rain ‘gainst soul was bet,

‘Cause on both knees you’ve prayed for months,
With not an answer yet.

More natural than breathin’ air,
See every drop’s a gift,

All creatures livin’ feel the change,
When clouds begin to shift,

And thunderheads show in the west,
The breeze turns damp, not burned.

Your soul might be the devil’s toy,
But for now the sky has turned,

As lightning flashes, thunder screams,
Most cattle bunch to hide.

The horses race the barbed wire south,
They feel it deep inside.

Anticipation, same as you,
Heaven’s gate blows back,

A gully washer’s on its way,
The drought’s under attack.

So fill ’em up to overflowin’,
Each gauge and pail and dish,

The devil may have gained a soul,
But cowboy, you got your wish.

© 2007, Ken Cook
This poem should not be reposted or reprinted without the author’s permission

We’re devoting this week to rain themes.

Third-generation South Dakota cowboy and rancher Ken Cook comments on his poem and the situation in his country:

Sakes alive she’s dry in parts of our country. Got our first good summer rain a week or so ago. Half a dog dish! I measure by the dish. Saves any lengthy discussions pertaining to who got a half, three quarters or ninety five hundredths. Come to think of it, that last one is close enough to an inch to call it an inch right? The dish also keeps me from exaggerating, as long as I beat the dog to the dish.

This poem began on a humorous path but took a turn the longer I traveled with it. It suits me.

My favorite piece about moisture comes from Daron Little’s 307 album. The song is “Rain,” masterfully crafted by Daron. “Sure could use a little rain.” He says it all right there.”

“Fill ‘er Up to Overflowing” is included on Ken Cook’s CD, Cowboys Are Like That.

Find more about Ken Cook and more of his poetry in our feature at

This great image, “Crash of Thunder,” a painting by noted cowboy artist, cowboy, and rancher Gary Morton, was a 2015 National Day of the Cowboy Art Spur at Find other poems inspired by the piece here.

Gary Morton comments on the painting’s inspiration, “Catching horses in the rope corral at the Bell. We were changing horses after making a big drive near the Beef pens. It had been threatening rain all morning. When it started, the thunder and lightning was plentiful. I don’t know a single cowboy that doesn’t get a little nervous when the lightning starts and the thunder crashes!”

Find our feature on Gary Morton at and visit his web site,




“This album represents four of the finest poets to ever come out of cowboy culture. We are not likely to see their kind again and the world should be grateful to for preserving their voices.”   Andy Hedges, songster and host of COWBOY CROSSROADS

“ CDs have always been good, but this one is the best by far!”  Chris Issacs, cowboy, packer, and poet

Praise for previous CD volumes:

“…The annual anthology takes listeners on an oral excursion to places throughout the West, introducing them to colorful cowboy characters, explaining their connection to the land, and telling their tales of tough times and the rewards they receive from living the Western lifestyle…”   Jennifer Denison, Senior Editor, Western Horseman

“The Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry’s annual anthologies are creating a valuable, high quality and thoroughly enjoyable resource for everyone…” Steve Green, Archivist, Western Folklife Center

“…without peer…intelligently produced… I equate them to one of those Ken Burns specials, like his Civil War, Jazz, or Baseball….the best of the best.” Rick Huff, Rick Huff’s Best of the West Reviews

“For those of us who love cowboy poetry, this is perhaps the best anthology we’ve yet heard.”  Cowboy Magazine

           larry-mcwhorter150 jballen150 Sunny Hancock rayowens150
photographs by Kevin Martini-Fuller

The MASTERS CD includes tracks from a “golden age” of Cowboy Poetry. From the introduction, delivered by Jay Snider:

We can look back at the turn of this century and see a golden age for cowboy poetry.  Four outstanding poets of that time who left this world too soon were Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens. They set standards toward which all poets and reciters can strive. Among them were fine cowboys, fine writers, and fine men.  This compilation includes recorded poems, “live” performances, and their recitations of other masters’ works (Buck Ramsey, S. Omar Barker, and Henry Herbert Knibbs). On these tracks, you’ll hear the love of their cowboy life and sometimes you’ll hear their love and respect for each other. To quote Ray Owens, a lifelong student of poetry and the West, all four have left “tracks that won’t blow out.”


The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—takes place each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster (by respected cowboy artist Tyler Crow in 2017) have been offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Program. The outreach program is part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

The MASTERS CD is dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.



The Center’s Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution—is held each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, a compilation CD and the celebration’s poster—by Tyler Crow in 2017; by Gary Morton in 2016; by Don Dane in 2015; by Jason Rich in 2014; Shawn Cameron in 2013; by R.S. Riddick in 2012, Duward Campbell in 2011, Bill Owen in 2010, Bob Coronato in 2009, William Matthews in 2008, Tim Cox in 2007, and Joelle Smith in 2006 —are offered to libraries in the Center’s Rural Library Project. The outreach program is a part of the Center’s commitment to serve rural communities and to preserve and promote our Western heritage.

The annual CD is a premium for our supporters and also available for purchase. Find information about past years’ CDs here at

We need your support to continue and expand these programs. Read here about how you can be a part of it all.



Track list and sources
About the cover and photos 
Order information  buynow


Introduction by Jay Snider


WAITIN’ ON THE DRIVE from The Most Requested Poetry of Larry McWhorter (2001)
BLACK DRAUGHT from The Most Requested Poetry of Larry McWhorter (2001)
THE RED COW from The Poetry of Larry McWhorter (2010)
ADVICE TO THE TRAVELER recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (1993)
WHERE THE PONIES COME TO DRINK by Henry Herbert Knibbs (1874-1945) from The Open Gate (1998)


THE HORSE TRADE recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2001)
A BEAR TALE recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2000)
THE HIGH-STEPPIN’ KIND recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (1997)
THE COWBOY’S HEAVEN by S. Omar Barker (1894-1985) recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2003)

RAY OWENS 1934-2007

COLOR BLIND recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2006)
TRACKS THAT WON’T BLOW OUT recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2006)
THE SADDLE HIS GRANDDADDY RODE recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2006)
A RARE TREAT by J.B. ALLEN (1938-2005), recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2006)

J.B. ALLEN  1938-2005

THE MEDICINE KEEPERS from The Medicine Keepers (1998)
REASONS FOR STAYIN’ from The Medicine Keepers (1998)
KINDRED SPIRITS recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (1996)
ANTHEM by Buck Ramsey (1938-1998) from J.B. Allen Classics (2005)



Special thanks to the Western Folklife Center, which made all of the live recordings possible.

Thanks to Steve Green; David Roche; Jay Snider; Kevin Martini-Fuller; Verna Owens; Margaret Allen; Andrea Waitley; Jeffrey Hancock; Jean Prescott; Bette Ramsey; the estate of S. Omar Barker; Jerry Brooks; Gail Steiger; the Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering; Chris Kirby; and Andy Nelson, engineer and co-producer (with Margo Metegrano).

Produced by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry with generous funding support from Laura and Edmund Wattis Littlefield Jr.; the Margaret T. Morris Foundation; and sustaining donors.


The CD cover image is a design by Chris Kirby from a photograph, “Cowhands singing after day’s work. Quarter Circle ‘U’ Ranch roundup. Big Horn County, Montana,” 1939  by Arthur Rothstein (1915-1985); The Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USF34- 027824-D.

Photographs of Larry McWhorter, J.B. Allen, Sunny Hancock, and Ray Owens are by Kevin Martini-Fuller, who has photographed participants of the Western Folklife Center’s National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for over three decades. Find more at his web site.


The MASTERS CD  is available for $20 postpaid. Order with a credit card at Paypal or by mail:, Box 1107, Lexington, VA 24450.