A blog about Cowboy Music, Western Swing and Cowboy Poetry. 2014 WMA Radio DJ/Radio Program of the Year

Archive for October, 2011

Ghost Tale From The Camp Fire – Cowgirl Sass & Savvy by Julie Carter

Phantom horse, phantom rider – the stuff ghost stories are made of.

In J. Frank Dobie’s “Coronado’s Children.,” a tale from cow camp relates the story of a cowboy murdered along the Loma Escondida road. Carrying gold coins in his saddle bags to buy a herd of cattle, he rode out on his cream-colored dun stallion with the black stripe down his back –what the Mexicans called a bayo coyote.

After his second night out, he rose, saddled the lineback dun and went to receive the herd he was purchasing.

A couple hours later, the sheriff came along on his way to inspect the herd for stray brands. He found both the cowboy and his horse dead. The saddle bags were gone.

The sheriff gathered a posse, followed the tracks and caught up with the murderers late in the afternoon. Although both the murderers readily admitted to the killing the cowboy, nothing could persuade them to divulge where they had hidden the saddle bags full of gold coins. They were hung for their crime and with that, carried the secret to their graves.

Over the years, many tried unsuccessfully to find the hidden treasure. There was only a short stretch of road between where the murder took place and where the criminals were overtaken, but nothing was found.

Years later, another cowboy was sent from a cow camp to the headquarters of the ranch to fetch coffee. He left camp after dark and was trotting along the same road where the murder had happened, when up ahead he spotted two figures in the moonlight.

Coming closer, the cowboy could see what he believed to be a man and a horse. The man mounted the horse and loped off. The curious cowboy set out to catch up, thinking it would be nice to have company on his night ride.

As he narrowed the distance between himself and the rider ahead, he could see that the horse was a lineback dun. He continued following the rider and the dun up a steep brush-covered hill.

At the top, the rider got a burst of speed and as he was passing by a dead mesquite tree, he totally disappeared. The cowboy thought the rider had simply slipped away into the brush in the dark of night. Without more thought, he continued his coffee-fetching errand.

He reached the ranch, twisted the coffee up in one end of a flour sack and began his return to cow camp. There at the same place as before,  he again saw the rider on the dun horse.

Putting a spur to his side, he kicked his horse off into a high lope with every intention of catching up with the mysterious rider. However, he never could quite close the gap between them,  even though the moonlight kept them silhouetted against the night.

Once again as before, the rider and bayo coyote stallion seemed to disappear into that same mesquite tree.

The cowboy dismounted, tied his horse and began to carefully explore the ground surrounding the tree. He could find no tracks.

Perplexed, he leaned on the trunk and felt a long, deep gash that appeared to be a very old axe mark. Stumbling over a large rock, he saw something gleaming on the ground. Striking a match to see in the dark, he picked up the $20 gold piece.

Familiar with the lost treasure story, he knew he’d likely found the spot where the fabled gold had been hidden. Turning over more rocks, he found the partially rotted saddle bags.

The cowboy returned to the cow camp, presented the coffee to the cocinero, all the while keeping the other end of his flour sack carefully closed.

Over the years, people would still come to hunt for the treasure, but now they hunted on the ranch belonging to the coffee-fetching cowboy. No one has ever again reported seeing the rider on the dun horse.

The tradition of campfire stories carries a tone of gospel truth to them and belief is fed more than it is refuted.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com.

Congratulations R.W. Hampton!

  

CONTACT:
Brian Ferriman – Savannah Music (USA) Inc.
(615) 369-0810 – brian@savannahmusic.net

R.W. Hampton and Vaughn Monroe Honored with 2011
Western Music Association Hall of Fame Recognition!

(NASHVILLE, TN – October 21, 2011) The Western Music Association has announced its 2011 Hall of Fame inductees, R.W. Hampton and Vaughn Monroe. The 2011 WMA Hall of Fame induction ceremony will be held on Saturday, November 19, during the WMA Awards Show at the Historic KiMo Theater in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

R. W. Hampton is one of the leading Western Entertainers in America today. Blessed with a rich baritone voice, Hampton has a quality of genuineness about him that resonates when he’s on stage, in person or just through the words of his songs. For Hampton has lived what he sings about, and the world of early mornings, hard work, rough horses, maverick cattle and new ranges fits him.

Hampton has thirteen albums to his credit. His peers in the Western entertainment industry have honored Hampton’s performing and songwriting fourteen times, most recently with a 2011 Wrangler Award from the National Cowboy Museum and Western Heritage Center in the Outstanding Original Western Composition category for his song, Shortgrass, from his most recent CD, Austin To Boston. Hampton is also a talented actor, having made over a dozen film and television appearances, and an acclaimed playwright, winning a National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Wrangler Award for the soundtrack of his one man play, The Last Cowboy – His Journey.

“The West – its culture and especially its music – is known the world over as being distinctly and uniquely American. When I think of the Western Music Association’s Hall of Fame and the long list of greats that have gone before me, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude and humility to be included in their shadow,” said Hampton of his upcoming induction.

Hampton lives with his wife and their family on their Clearview Ranch at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains south of Cimarron, New Mexico. When he’s not headlining cowboy concerts and western music events across the nation, Hampton spends most of his time at the ranch doing the work he loves. His life is guided by his faith, his love for his family, and his desire to share cowboy life with his audiences.

Vaughn Monroe was a baritone singer, band leader and actor who recorded the best-selling version of Stan Jones’ cowboy classic, “Riders in the Sky,” in 1949.

Founded in 1989, the Western Music Association is an organization that encourages and supports the preservation, performance and composition of historic, traditional and contemporary music of The American West. The WMA Hall of Fame was established in 1989 to honor those individuals or groups of individuals who have made significant contributions in the area of Western Music composition, performance and history.

More can be learned about R.W. Hampton at his website. For preapproved images, bio, music, a selection of reviews and articles, and further material about R.W. Hampton, Austin To Boston, his eleven other albums and his fourteen music industry awards, please visit Hampton’s online electronic press kit.

# # #

205 Powell Place, Brentwood, TN 37027 • Tel: (615) 369-0810 • Fax: (615) 376-9483
cimarronsounds@savannahmusic.net

Twelve Mile Road – Dave Stamey

What a way to relax on a Friday night after a long work week!  Put on something comfortable…like “Comfortable Shoes!”  Pour a nice glass of wine, turn on the CD player with Dave’s Stamey’s “Twelve Mile Road” and just kick back and listen!!!  What a treat!  All 12 tracts are Dave’s originals and start with a beautiful song dedicated to his father, the title song, “Twelve Mile Road.”  Along with those you will hear: “Blackjack Was a Mule,” “Buckskin Horse,” “All I Need Is You,” “Song for Jake,” “If I Had Money,” “Never Gonna Rain,” ” Sage In Her Hair,” “Bubba and the Goat,” ” Wild Sierra” and “Sweet Grass County Line.”

Dave’s great musicians are: Dorian Michael on lead acoustic guitar, Ken Hustad on bass, Bill Severance on percussion and Annie Lydon doing harmony vocals.  What else is there to say except that it is pure Dave Stamey style!  You’ll love it.  To get your copy go to www.davestamey.com.  Check out the rest of the site while you’re there, it’s loaded with information!  Great job Dave!

Tenderfoot at the Roots by Julie Carter

Tenderfoot at the roots
Cowgirl Sass & Savvy By Julie Carter

The old cowboy shrugged on his jacket, pulling it up tight around his neck, tucking in his neck scarf while he fished to match buttons to buttonholes to close out the sharp cold of the fall morning.

Pulling worn gloves over his gnarled leathery hands, he tugged his hat down tight against the wind that had blown in before daylight. He headed out to begin another day.

Small dust devils swirled through the distant corrals where the saddle horses stood, tails to the wind, munching on the last of the hay tossed to them the night before.

Not so many years ago, his stride became a long shuffle and he felt every cold day of his life in his knees and hips. Nowhere in his countenance remained even the slightest trace of the tenderfoot he had once been.

Tenderfoot: a boy who has not yet had the wonder rubbed off him.

For a moment, he recalled that greenhorn lad he’d been, orphaned when he was a teen and taken in to be raised by grandparents he barely knew. Sullen, angry and determined, he told himself he would never be part of their life on that “god-forsaken ranch” so remote from the city existence he’d lived.

One day at a time and with great patience his grandfather put the pieces of his heart back together. It started with a horse to call his own and a Border Collie puppy that licked his face every chance he got and followed in his footsteps all day long.

It followed with the long days of cattle work in the spring and witnessing the rebirth of everything living –new baby calves, the brown of winter turning to green followed by the bloom of summer.

Lazy summers were a myth that dissipated into rolling waves of grasses standing in hay fields waiting for harvest. Every fall arrived with the colors of turning leaves, boiling dust as cattle trucks left  loaded with another year’s calf crop and the first snows blanketing everything with a seasonal quiet.

Year after year, layer upon layer, the love of the land, love of the life seeped into his soul until he knew no other except in faint glimmer of yesterday. 

Referencing old cowboys, Wallace Stegner wrote in Wolf Willow: A History, a Story, and a Memory of the Last Plains Frontier. “They do not tell their stories in Technicolor; they would not want to seem to adorn a tale or brag themselves up. The callouses of a life of hardship blunt their sensibilities to their own experience.”

Calloused memories. Within each of us is that tenderfoot who began with the wonder of life intact. Whether we chose to peel back the layers and stay in touch with the Technicolor, or forge ahead to new rainbows, our roots remain in innocence.

At the close of the day, the old cowboy will dust off his hat and britches much like he dusts off his memories. Both are old, worn and with a lot of character. It’s not a bad place to be when near the end of the road.

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

How The Cowboys Swung The West – The Stardust Cowboys

The liner notes start with “Say howdy to ‘our’ brand of Cowboy Swing!”  I like The Stardust Cowboys’ brand of Cowboy Swing!  They start with an upbeat song, Easier To Know, written by Gary Campbell and they’re off  ‘n runnin’! Blue Mesa was written by Roger Bryant Brown and Luke Reed and Along The Navajo Trail is from the film “Along The Navajo Trail from 1945.  With the exception of those two songs, all the rest were written by either Gary Campbell or Vicki Campbell or a collaboration of both.  You will hear: How The Cowboys Swung The West, When We Dance, Pirate Of The Placers, Picnic Basket, She’s Always On My Mind, Wedding Vow, Change My Heart, Butterflies In Heaven, Go’n North, Tribute To Sal Sage and Last Cattle Call.

Gary and Vicki Campbell are joined on this album by Ronnie Elkan (fiddle, mandolin); Olen Dillingham (fiddle, mandolin; Joe Lev (bass guitar); Duncan Elledge (standup bass, guitar, harmonica); Paul Sutherland (pedal steel); Ryan Goodpastor (drums, percussion); Bob  Woods (electric & baritone guitar0; Conrad Nelson (harmonica) and Ken Nilsson (harmony vocals on Picnic Basket).

It’s a well done CD by lots of talented folks!  You will be happy to have it in your library.  The Stardust Cowboys can be contacted at www.stardustcowboys.com or email them at starcow@ftcnet.net.  You’ll be tickled you did!

I Wrote This…Chuck Cusimano

What a treat it was when the mail man brought Chuck Cusimano’s brand new CD,  “I Wrote This!”  You can dance an hour away…waltzes, two-steps…whatever you want.  It’s there! And Chuck wrote all of the songs except for “Man In The Moon” which he co-wrote with Les Buffham.  Some of the songs are slow and even meloncholy, some are pure love songs and some are fast paced and happy!  You will be entertained from “Man In The Moon” to “San Antonio Blues.”  In between those songs you will hear: That’s All, Time Off For Bad Behavior, All The Love In San Antone, Damned Demons, Gonna Go Davnin’ Tonight, San Antonio Waltz, Honey Money, I Wrote This, Two Steppin’ and Gone For Good.  There are even a couple of Christmas songs; “Won’t Be Christmas” and “Ten Dollar Toy.”

Chuck, playing guitar, is joined on the CD by Junior Knight on Steel Guitar; Jess Meador on Fiddle;  Mark Abbott on Bass; Dixie Hankins on Drums and Eddie Morgan on Piano. Along with Chuck on vocals are by Dixie Hankins, Joetta Morgan and Donny Barrow.  This is a quality CD…great songs, great singer and great music.

I love playing Chuck Cusimano’s music on The Real West from The Old West!  Thanks for sharing your talent, Chuck!

You can reserve you own copy by logging onto Cusimusico.com or email chuck@chuckcusimano.com.

The Cowboy Is Here To Stay by Julie Carter

“I’m not real sure that anyone can define cowboy,” he said. “What I am sure of though is that no man alive today will ever see the last cowboy.”

Nearing 70, the old cattleman recalls a typical day for himself that takes a little more effort than it used to.

“Today I got to the ranch and trolled up some heifers that are going home,” he said. “They belong to a customer and his grazing period is over. Two of them were missing so I penned the ones that I had before I hunted for a hole in the fence. Then I found the hole in the fence. Next I drove my pickup through the pastures to my neighbors where I found his cows and my customer’s heifers.

“I called the neighbors cows to his lot and penned a few cows and the heifers I wanted. Problem solved? Nope! His gate is locked and I lost my key. I called his mama to get his cell phone number. It was noon. At 4 p.m., he returned my call and made arrangements to open the gate. In the intervening time, I loaded out 39 of the 41 heifers and sent them home.”

 “Is that the work of a cowboy? I don’t know,” he pondered. “What I do know is that as long as we eat beef, somebody has got to do this kind of work.”

 

It likely isn’t the version of “cowboy” that haunts the minds of those that spend their lives in other occupations but always believing they would have loved to be a cowboy.

 

While the West does not own the cowboy, it is the cowboy that epitomizes the West in the minds of those that seek him. Some men were born to ride and some men were born to sit in traffic.

 

Some come to live in the West as it is now with a more modern version of the cowboy wearing sponsorship tags on his shirt and making a few hundred thousand dollars a year riding bulls or roping calves in the rodeos.

 

It is a West where cattle are still king and four door pickups and aluminum trailers ferry the cowboy crew miles across ranches, counties and states — a West where ranchers hang on to an ever-changing way of life necessitating better practices in order to stay on the land that holds their souls.

 

A study of Western culture revealed three out of five men and nearly half of women would like to be cowboys for at least a day. Many have opted for complete lifestyle changes.

 

In droves, they have packed up their lives and moved to the West, finding a place in the open spaces much like the homesteaders did a hundred years ago.

 

Not everybody can be a cowboy, but  to that end these transplants will take on the trappings of the trade, buy a 40-acre ranchette, and put a rocking chair on the wrap-around porch to watch the sun set over a small barn that houses two horses, a 4-wheeler and a couple of llamas.

 

It is a new West and it is clearly an amalgamation of the many phases of an evolving way of life.

The old timer laughed at the vision of himself. “On top of all of this, my Little Satan has foundered on the lush ryegrass, so I had to trim his feet and ride him to get the horseback portion of the work done. Now that’s a sight. An old man recoverin’ from a stroke and with bad feet, ridin’ a 14-hand high pony that is sore footed, penning a bunch of heifers that would really rather be eatin’ the fresh grass than go home.

“I don’t know what a cowboy is but I know I am one. I don’t want many people that call themselves ‘cowboys’ to help me in my day-to-day work, but I am willing to lend them a hand when I can.”

“I just don’t think we will ever see the last cowboy,” he said with a grin. “You got to have cowboys unless you want to eat tofu instead of Prime Rib for Christmas dinner.”

 

Julie can be reached for comment at jcarternm@gmail.com

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