Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls

Academic journal article Southern Cultures

Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls

Article excerpt

Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls Rounder, 1999 CD 1512, $15.00

While collecting Texas cowboy songs in 1942 the folklorist John Lomax asked one old cowpoke if he thought it was bad luck to be born somewhere other than Texas. "Not bad luck, but misfortune," came the response. These two CDS of historic Texas material provide a glimpse at what non-natives have been missing.

Though it does include some Alabamians, Black Texicans focuses attention on a broad range of east Texas talent. The selections include a spectrum of material, including "eephing," work songs, cattle calls, play party songs, blues, square dance calls, and rags. Recorded in the field by John and Alan Lomax during the 1930s, the twenty-nine cuts include numerous memorable performances, many of them in the state's prisons where the work song tradition was still strong. The liner notes provide informative commentary on each of the performers.

Hollywood's "singing cowboys" have left us a pleasant musical legacy, but one almost wholly divorced from the music sung in the cowboys' heyday. …

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