Introducing: Cowboy Songs

One of my longer-known friends (notice I didn't say 'OLD') challenged me recently to blog about Old School Country Music. He had a specific artist in mind. This particular artist is one that I have enjoyed listening to in my much much younger days. (I think we wore out the record) But before I can write about this specific artist, I need to go back even further in Country Music, back to a time when it was simply called "Western Music" or "Cowboy Songs" So, apologies to my dear friend, Arnold, but please indulge me while I take us back in time before I talk about you know who ;)

1949 My Dad and Grandfather @ Fort Owen Ranch, Stevensville, Montana
1949 My Dad and Grandfather
Fort Owen Ranch, Stevensville, Montana

You know how some songs just take you to a favorite memory? Well, I was listening to some tunes from the 'mystery' artist referred to in the above paragraph, and I was transported to a place in time. Life was so much simpler when I was younger.

We weren't really farmers, per se. But my parents grew up on a ranch, and my dad worked closely with farmers in his profession as District Soil Conservationist. My dad loved to go for car rides to 'wherever'. We'd just get in the car and go. No real destination in mind. My dad also loved to sing. Sometimes we'd listen to the 8-track tape (now I'm making myself sound old) and sometimes, he would just sing. And he would encourage us to sing along.

So, this week I'll be taking you down my own memory lane talking about some of the Cowboy songs my dad taught me to learn and love.

The Old Chisholm Trail
"The Old Chisholm Trail" is a cowboy song that dates back to the 1870s, when it was among the most popular songs sung by cowboys during that era. Based on an English lyrical song that dates back to 1640, "The Old Chisholm Trail" was modified by the cowboy idiom. It has been recorded by the world's most popular Western singers, including Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, Bing Crosby, Randy Travis, and Michael Martin Murphey. Yodeling Slim Clark recorded a yodeling version in 1957 for his album Cowboy Songs. The song was partially covered in the now-defunct Disneyland attraction "America Sings".

In 2001, author Rosalyn Shanzer wrote a children's book based on the song. It follows the adventures of some cowboys and their cattle as they travel the Old Chisholm Trail from Texas to Kansas.

Slim Clark's version

Intruducing: Cowboy Songs
 "Git Along, Little Dogies" is a traditional cowboy ballad, also performed under the title "Whoopie Ti Yi Yo". The melody and lyrics were collected and published in Carl Sandburg's 1927 American Songbag. Artists who have played the song include Roy Rogers, the Sons of the Pioneers, The Kingston Trio, Charlie Daniels, David Bromberg, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Holly Golightly, and Nickel Creek. It was adapted in the cartoon Animaniacs as "The Ballad of Magellan".

Many people think the song's lyrics are doggies (i.e. puppies) but a dogie actually refers to a motherless calf.


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