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The following reviews of Cowboy Poetry, storytelling, and some Western Music are written by Margo Metegrano, managing editor at  CowboyPoetry.com.

We select books and recordings to review from new publications and releases of those poets not competing for the Lariat Laureate. For those poets competing for the Lariat Laureate, we welcome reviews of their work by others.

 

This is Page 2
See a complete list of reviews on Page 1

Below, the reviews are:

listed alphabetically by title

posted chronologically 

 

 

 


Alphabetically by title:

This is Page 2
See a complete list of reviews on Page 1

 

On this page:

Barely Live at Elko Cardiac Cowboys

B. Y. O. S. (Bring Your Own Sheep) Pat Richardson

Common Sense, Men and Horses  Debra Coppinger Hill

Cowboy Poets:  Minstrels of the West Shadowland Productions

Cowpoke Jack "Trey" Allen

Going to See the Elephant Lanny Joe Burnett

I Was Born in the Night But Not Last Night Ellie Corrigan

In Camp with the Cardiac Cowboys Cardiac Cowboys

Missouri Cowboy Poets Leroy Watts, editor

Rainman Lloyd Shelby

Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven Mike Dunn

Somewhere in the West Linda Kirkpatrick

Spur Jingles and Saddle Songs Judge Lysius Gough/Jim Gough

Stock Tank Reflections Chuck Larsen

Texas Legacies Scott Bumgardner

Visit a Spell, Pard Cowboy History and Performance Society (CHAPS)

Way out West Verlin Pitt

 

This is Page 2
See a complete list of reviews on Page 1

 


Reviews





COWBOY POETRY BOOK REVIEW

Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven, by Mike Dunn

Mike Dunn's new Cowboy Poetry collection, "Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven," is a showcase for this poet's versatility. The book includes humorous, serious, and inspirational poems that capture the past and present of cowboy and ranching life.

The preservation of ranching life is important to Dunn, and he writes in the introduction, "There is a real value in the sharing of what has come to be known as Cowboy Poetry, not only entertainment value but also the value of providing for preservation through education."  So it follows that some of his best poems paint vivid pictures through reminiscences and reflect his pride in his family's Arizona ranching heritage. In his lyrical "Mom's Kitchen Table," you can nearly feel the hand-hewn pine planks as Dunn deftly tells of family gatherings, ranching decisions, saddle mending, canning and more that took place at this center of a family's life. Other poems such as "Grandpa Would Tip His Hat" and "Wrappings & Bows" preserve a time and a way of life as perfectly as Mom must have preserved those peaches, wild berries, and cactus apples on her kitchen table.

There are also poems full of fun, and no matter the subject, Dunn goes beyond the reworking of old jokes and always has a fresh take, as in "Taking the Senator's Advice" (that being Bob Dole and his little blue pill), and granny's doctor visits in "'Twas the Wind."

The centerpiece of the collection is "A Heaven Without a Horse," a tale of a cowboy and his horse that involves meetings with the devil and St. Peter and a happy resolution. This long narrative poem is written in an engaging unique style, and reading it, you know you'd like to hear Mike Dunn recite this excellent piece. He is an impressive reciter who performs at gatherings across the West; he took home the top prize from the most recent Cowboy Poetry Rodeo at Kanab, Utah.

The book's title takes its name from "Spellbound," a poem inspired by the 2002 Arizona Cowboy Poets gathering poster painting of the same name. The moving, reverent poem is Dunn at his best.  His insight into the cowboy life is beautifully expressed in words that are as striking as Prescott artist Bill Anton's painting: "Time holds fast the past and present/and for the cowboy...a glimpse is given,/The wonders of life that leave him Spellbound,/on a rim.../somewhere between earth and heaven."

Carefully chosen line drawings and family photographs add to this well-put-together book. "Somewhere Between Earth and Heaven" is available from $12.50 postpaid from: Linda's Letters & Publications; 3045 North Lemon Mesa, Arizona 85215.

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February, 2003

 

You can read some of Mike Dunn's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/mikedunn.htm

A version of this review was printed in the March/April 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in March, 2003


COWBOY POETRY/MUSIC TAPE REVIEW

No Borders by the British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS)

The "No Borders" video from the British Columbia Cowboy Heritage Society (BCCHS) offers an inspiring example of how people can do good and have a good time doing it.

When neighbors need help, ranchers rally, and the recent drought -- the worst in seven decades -- brought out some exceptional models of that spirit.  Last year when horses, cattle, and livelihoods were in critical danger, the extraordinary "Hay West Campaign" was launched.  This Canadian effort knew no borders, as the provinces from the Atlantic to the Pacific came together to help those in need, with U.S. neighbors also joining in the effort.  Donations of hay, pasture land, boarding space, and funds saved the lives of countless horses and livestock, and saved farms and ranches.

The BCCHS  "No Borders" concert in Kamloops raised funds for the Hay West Campaign, and now that talent-packed evening is available for all to enjoy on video.  Top performers gathered, including Mike Puhallo, Dave Longworth, Danny Mack, Butch Falk, Lynn Shook, Matt Johnston, Frank Gleeson, Roxanne Hall, and Kraig Jodrey. Some of the standouts are the music of Butch Falk and Danny Mack (particularly his "Canada Cowboy" ) and the poetry of Mike Puhallo. Puhallo's recitation of his "Man in the Moon" -- ever more poignant now in light of the recent space shuttle disaster -- is a testament to camaraderie among cowboys and to the power of both nature and man.

Along with the entertainment, the "No Borders" video mixes images of ranches and scenery in a thoughtful way that helps the viewer remember what was at stake and what brought this great group of talent together. And their good works continue: Proceeds from the video now go to the BCCHS scholarship program, which is awarded to student writers and artists who best depict the
value of western and cowboy heritage in their work.  "No Borders" is $20 plus postage and handling.  Contact BCCHS for details at: Cowboys@bcchs.com, 888-763-2224, or visit their information-filled web site at: http://www.bcchs.com

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February, 2003

You can read some of Mike Puhallo's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/mp.htm

A version of this review was printed in the March/April 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists


COWBOY POETRY/MUSIC RECORDING REVIEW

Common Sense, Men and Horses by Debra Coppinger Hill

Debra Coppinger Hill, AWA Cowgirl Poet of the Year, is rich in talents and in having so many talented collaborators who helped her create her newest outstanding recording, "Common Sense, Men and Horses."

The fifteen tracks on this flawless, professional recording are all Debra Coppinger Hill's original poems and lyrics, but the author is just one of the stars. Her friends Doc Stovall, Jean Prescott, Devon Dawson, Jerry Warren and others join her in singing and reciting, and with backups for her own recitations. Hill's inspired words soar with the sensitive accompaniments and interpretations by these most talented Western performers and musicians.

Each piece has its own magic. Daniel Addison's harmonica behind Hill's recitation of "Mustangs" pulls at the heartstrings with a tension to match that of the wild horses of the poem.  Jean Prescott sings "Yellow Slicker," Hill's signature poem; Kevin Davis conceived the music with Jean's voice in mind.  Doc Stovall sings "Shenandoah" as a backup to "Regret," and  makes you feel you're hearing that traditional song for the first time, perfectly paired with the moving poem, full of respect for "these men that they call Cowboys." The title poem is a lyrical masterpiece, full of the wisdom Hill learned from her grandfathers. She honors one of them, her beloved "Papaw," with "Wild Stickhorse Remuda," and honors her father with the touching "Udoda."

"Common Sense, Men and Horses" is truly more than the sum of its many precious parts.  It is a tribute to Cowboy life and the Cowboy Way, honoring the past and celebrating the present. Poet Jeff Streeby, author of "Sunday Creek" perhaps describes this recording best: "...It's like a 'Cowboy poetry mini-gathering' primarily featuring the work of a single artist, with adaptations and interpretations by several performers, a concept I found truly fresh and compelling. Looks like Debra
has set a new standard for Cowboy poetry."

Other artists who helped her set the standard are Richie Dorman, Bob Baker, Ginny Mac, Haley Horton, and Mike Bailey.  "Common Sense, Men and Horses" is available for $17 (CD), $12 (tape), postpaid from www.silvercreekmusic.com/DebraHill.html, or from Old Yellow Slicker Productions, 25552 E 320 Rd, Chelsea, OK 74016.

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February, 2003

You can read some of Debra Coppinger Hill's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/dch.htm

A version of this review was printed in the March/April 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in February, 2003

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Cowpoke by Jack "Trey" Allen

When humorist, "quality truth improvement" artist, and Cowboy Poet Jack "Trey" Allen picks up a microphone, the audience will follow him anywhere. Already known throughout the West for his commanding performances, his recent work has created a loud buzz among gathering audiences.  He won a Champion buckle at the 2002 Cowboy Poetry Rodeo in Kanab, and after his performance at the 2002 Durango gathering, fellow entertainer Jim Anderson of Palo Duro said "Trey was in the best form I have ever seen him ... he took no prisoners, great show!

With Allen's new "Cowpoke" recording, now everyone has the opportunity to enjoy his performances.  The twelve tracks include his own poetry; recitations of classics by Bruce Kiskaddon and "Banjo" Paterson ("The Man From Snowy River"); and the title track, which incorporates Stan Jones' lyrics into an original poem.

That inventive title piece, "Cowpoke," tells a moving story through a mix of poetry and a cappella singing, both delivered with Allen's perfect timing and unique voice. Another favorite with audiences everywhere is "You Ain't Sittin' Bull," a hilarious tale where a fed-up wife is not buying any of her husband's elaborate reasons for needing so many horses; it is told so well that it has to be based on experience.  His "50-50 Split" is a nearly lyrical poem about the tough decision of taking a job in town, and his other original poems, serious and humorous, are well performed.  All the poems, his and the classics, come together to make this a great entertainment package.

A Texan by birth, after living some time in the Oklahoma Panhandle, Trey recently relocated to a ranching job in Colorado.  The "Cowpoke" CD is $18.50 postpaid; the cassette is $13.50 (His earlier "Bits-n-Spurs of Cowboy Poetry" cassette is also worth having, $13.50).  All are available from Rockin' Tee Pee Entertainment, 17188 County Rd 2, Canon City, CO 81212, 719.942.4783 

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
December, 2002

 

You can read some of Trey Allen's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/treyallen.htm

 

A version of this review was printed in the January/February 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists


A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in January, 2003

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

B. Y. O. S. (Bring Your Own Sheep) by Pat Richardson

Cowboy Poet Pat Richardson, a popular entertainer known for his dry humor, wild imagination, and self effacing delivery, is best described in one word: Funny.  His introduction to his new CD,  "B. Y. O. S (Bring Your Own Sheep)" gives a glimpse of his style "I pretty much used up all the good things I had to say about myself on my first CD.  Things I mostly couldn't prove -- but no one could disprove.  All I can say is 'Been there (usually late) done that' (or made a half-hearted attempt)."

Many know his work from his frequent appearances at Elko and other gatherings and from his earlier "Pull My Finger" recording.  "B. Y. O. S." has over forty minutes of  hilarious entertainment, with themes that range from dogs who help out a blocked Cowboy Poet to clueless bankers to what you might call a "panda whisperer." Everybody's fair game: hefty North Dakota gals, a hapless cowboy in a poem called "Suicide," cowboy singers, fellow poets, environmentalists, government agencies, and his brother Jess Howard, also a popular Cowboy Poet. No subject is safe or sacred with Pat Richardson (his "Donner Party" on "Pull My Finger" is possibly the funniest, most politically incorrect poem written in modern times). It's all delivered in such a wry and amusing way that the targets, like the cowboy singer, probably never know what hits them.

Richardson writes from his experiences as well as his strange imagination; he rode saddle broncs and bulls and has worked on ranches across the West. He is also an impressive artist -- he cartooned for the Rodeo Sports News for years -- and his drawings grace the CD, inside and out. Every poem on this new CD is introduced with an interesting tale in his comfortable, pull-up-a-chair fashion.  The listener enjoys getting to know the poetry and the complex, interesting, and funny man behind the microphone.

"B. Y. O. S (Bring Your Own Sheep)" is available for $15.00 postpaid (as is "Pull My Finger") from: Pat Richardson, 562 Breeze Avenue, Merced, California 95348, 209/722-4612 Westpoems@aol.com


Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
December, 2002

 

You can read some of Pat Richardson's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/patrichardson.htm

 

A version of this review was printed in the January/February 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


MUSIC, STORYTELLING, AND COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Visit a Spell, Pard by Cowboy History and Performance Society (CHAPS)


The Houston-area Cowboy History and Performance Society (CHAPS), founded by poet and storyteller Scott Bumgardner, is one of the West's most active regional groups of talented artists.  The group has regular meetings, special events, a member directory for bookings, a weekly email newsletter that promotes its members' activities, and a quarterly journal that includes poetry, history, and other informative articles.  And now they have come up with the innovative idea of an entertaining CD that showcases the group's talent, "Visit a Spell, Pard."

Professionally produced and wrapped in the impressive cover art of the late Western artist Mark Storm, the 19 tracks offer stories, music, and poetry. Artists include:  Grady Lee, Scott Hill Bumgardner, Pat Gavin & the Buckaroo Band, Ted E. Dennison, Buck Stonebroke, Rod Nichols, PC Cowboys, Sheila Phillips, Miss'lette, John Pickul, and Doc Moore.  Most any of these artists alone would make for a worthwhile recording: Grady Lee's music, Rod Nichols' Cowboy Poetry, and Sheila Phillips' storytelling are good examples. Joined by their likewise talented fellow CHAPS members, this "member showcase" is a great mix of entertainment.

True to their serious attention to the importance of the business of Western entertainment as well, the liner notes include information about each member's recordings or books and their contact information.  All sales benefit the non-profit organization and its goal to preserve and promote Texas and Cowboy traditions.  You can purchase the "Visit a Spell, Pard " CD for $15 through the CHAPS web site, www.CowboySociety.org, or by mail from CHAPS, Box 710770, Houston, TX 77271-0770.

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
December, 2002

A version of this review was printed in the January/February 2003  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in January, 2003


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Stock Tank Reflections by Chuck Larsen



To avoid being bucked off your seat with laughter, it's best to heed Chuck Larsen's advice as he introduces his third and newest CD, Stock Tank Reflections, by saying "Take a deep seat and hold on to your hat..."  This occasional rodeo announcer knows what he's talking about and his professional voice delivers his special brand of humor in this rollicking collection of his all-original Cowboy Poetry.

"Monkey Business" is the hilarious account of a rodeo "mutt-riding monkey act" where "they dress a monkey up like a cowboy....which is not that hard a transition..."  When the animal rights' activist in the stands can take no more...well, both she and the monkey become legends in their own time. 

Larsen creates more amusing situations in poems such as "Stretchin' the Truth," about an enterprising cowboy's adventures with his G. I. surplus bungee. Another victim of his inventive rhymes is a bragging Texan, Shorty, who ends up in the dark side of a cow in "Calvin' Out." In this complex and funny tale, after the head catch fails and the calving chains can't help, "Shorty's little Texas boots pulled off and came plumb away/the reason I wear lace-ups now,  when I go calvin' for a day." The cowboys don't mention Shorty's predicament to the vet, and the tale just gets funnier.

Other poets have told about the poor ranch wife having her Sunday Best ruined by what started out as her husband's "Honey can you help me a minute?," but maybe few are as funny as "Salvation by Rumination," where the wife lets her husband know what she thinks of being the target of his poor judgment -- while the preacher and his wife, unseen by her but not by him, take it all in.  In the same vein, Larsen introduces "Sortin' Things Out" asking women  "How many of you have helped your husband do anything that has worked out?" You can't help but think these poems are based on experience, most probably painful at the time.

Larsen is a sort of wizard with words and rhymes, and he writes good serious material as well.  "Stock" takes on more than one meaning in the title piece, "Stock Tank Reflections," full of thoughtful mid-life wisdom. Other serious poems honor a father, a first horse, and "Treasures by the Hat Full" is a beautifully reverent poem about the wisdom of an old cowboy.

Scott Platts' guitar and mandolin pieces provide pleasing interludes between each poem, giving the listener time to either recover from the hilarity or to get ready for a more serious poem.

Chuck Larsen grew up on a South Dakota ranch and now lives in Wyoming where he still does some day work. He's a versatile writer, and while all of his material is well written and well delivered, it's the humorous poems that stay with you.. Nona Carver Kelley finds just the right description for him in a recent report of an event at the Cheyenne Cowboy Symposium "at the Cheyenne Civic Center with (is he hilarious or what?) Chuck Larsen as Emcee and entertainer."  The answer to that question is definitely not "or what."

You'll want to get your own copy of  Stock Tank Reflections for $17 postpaid from Chuck Larsen, P.O. Box 97, Saratoga, Wyoming 82331 (307) 326-8949 linerider@carbonpower.net

You can read some of Chuck Larsen's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/chucklarsen.htm

 

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
September, 2002

A version of this review was printed in the November/December 2002  Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Way Out West by Verlin Pitt



The long lonely nights that Verlin Pitt spends in Wyoming's Fremont County jail give him time to write and think, and of course his surroundings sometimes provide inspiration for his material.  Fortunately, he's the Deputy Sheriff, so he's free to leave the hoosegow to perform at gatherings and publish his work. His new CD, Way Out West, which follows an earlier book, Wyoming Trails -- The Meanderings of a Native Son, is a generous assortment of some of his best poetry.

If Robert Service had been a Wyoming native, his work would have no doubt sounded like Verlin Pitt's.  In fact, several of Pitt's poems have won the Robert Service Poetry Award.  Pitt spins a Service-like tale in many of the included poems and you're quickly drawn into the story, such as in "The World's Greatest Bullrider": "It ain't much fun 'neath a prairie sun when you're digging postholes down/ But we were one day away from a full month's pay and a rodeo was comin' to town..."

But every one of these poems is an original, each built on a unique idea, crafted with impressive wordsmithing and much humor.  In one amusing tale, two cowboys moving cattle meet Bigfoot, who helps himself to their whiskey and mounts one of the horses: "That pony went plumb loco tryin' to throw him clear/But ol' Bigfoot was a natural and seemed to have no fear."  The listener is warned about being "high up in the pineys," where they might encounter the beast: "And if you're wonderin' at what he's wearin' as he bounces and cavorts/Set your mind at ease ol' Pard, he's wearin' Clyde's jockey shorts."  Clyde also appears in the hilarious and imaginative "Close Encounter of the Cowboy Kind," a kind of "shoot-out at the UFO corral."

Other poems have less exotic subjects: rodeo, cowboying, the Old West, the Gold Rush, and more.  Tales often end with a dose of quirky wisdom, translated into a philosophy that gets your attention.  In the "Desert Rat," an eccentric sourdough spends his days seeking gold, but doesn't bother to collect it:  "He never left a marker, not one single way of going back." The moral of that story becomes "True security lies not in what you have but what you can do without."

This CD is a satisfying entertainment with a ride range of poetic styles and subjects that you'll want to listen to many times. It might be worth going to jail to hear Verlin Pitt's work, but fortunately Way Out West is available for $13.50 postpaid from Verlin Pitt, 788 Vance Dr., Lander, Wyoming 82520.

You can read some of Verlin Pitt's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: 
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/vp.htm

 

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
August, 2002

A version of this review appeared in the Sep/Oct 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in November, 2002


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Spur Jingles and Saddle Songs,  the poetry of Judge Lysius Gough by Jim Gough



Lysius Gough was the first published Texas Cowboy Poet, and his grandson Jim Gough brings his poetry to life in a dramatic and entertaining recording, Spur Jingles and Saddle Songs.

Lysius Gough set out on his own at age 14 and is said to have driven cattle in every county in North and West Texas before he was twenty. He spent years cowboying for the T-Anchor Ranch near the Palo Duro Canyon, the inspiration for much of his poetry. Later in life, he became the first County Judge of Castro County.

The tape includes poems from Judge Lysius Gough's two books, including his 1886 pioneering volume, Western Travels and Other Rhymes.   Poems include "The T-Anchor Ranch," "Palo Duro Canyon," "Leather Lip," "Cow Punching for Health,"  "Reminiscing," and ten others. "Reminiscing" plays a part in many of these poems, and a verse from that poem speaks to the heart of the man and his writing:  "Many changes more have been/ in one life's fleeting span/ brought about by sturdy men/ who never failed to duty stand." 

You'll find yourself transported back to the days of the great cattle drives, carried there by the professional voice of Judge Gough's proud descendant, popular actor and musician Jim Gough.

The tape is available for $13.95 postpaid --Texas residents add 7.5% sales tax -- by check or money order from: Jim Gough Enterprises, 151 N. San Gabriel Loop, Liberty Hill, TX 78642.  More information and a sound clip are at www.JimGough.com.

You can read more about Judge Lysius Gough at CowboyPoetry.com:
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/judgegough.htm


Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
August, 2002


A version of this review appeared in the Sep/Oct 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in February, 2003

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY RECORDING REVIEW

Going to See the Elephant by Lanny Joe Burnett

The son of a fourth-generation Texas rancher, Cowboy Poet Lanny Joe Burnett honors his family and his Cowboy heritage in his new recording, Going to See the Elephant. The title track is a captivating, historically accurate tale that takes the listener back to the era of the great Texas cattle drives. Other selections also focus on that period.

Bo Bullock's well paired original music accompanies and enhances each piece. Their collaboration is particularly impressive in "Dance of the Departed," with its haunting tunes and native rhythms that underscore the drama of  Burnett's tale of the fate of the Sioux.

Other poems draw from personal history, never losing sight of a time "when a young fella's pa stood taller than most."  Lanny Joe Burnett's wide experience and his respect for the Cowboy way are reflected sincerely in the poetry on this enjoyable new recording.

Lanny Joe Burnett is a frequent performer at gatherings, schools, and libraries.  Going to See the Elephant is available postpaid on CD ($17) or tape ($12) from Lanny Joe Burnett, 1206 Park Ave, Bonham, TX, 75418.

You can read some of Lanny Joe Burnett's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com:
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/ljb.htm

 

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
June, 2002

A version of this review appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY BOOK AND RECORDING REVIEW

Rainman, by Lloyd Shelby


A bright light shines through the new book and CD, Rainman, and that light is the talent of experienced Texas Cowboy Poet Lloyd Shelby.  A recent recipient of the Will Rogers Medallion Award, the finely crafted book presents 31 poems and much original artwork.  The poetry of this natural storyteller has themes that include the ranching life he's lived, humor, well-researched Old West tales, and no small amount of inspirational words, especially in his works about nature, Texas and the Cowboy Way.

The CD of the same name is deeply satisfying entertainment:  It brings alive 12 of the book's best poems, presented in the author's warm and expressive voice, the way they were meant to be enjoyed.  With thoughtful introductions and unobtrusive, carefully selected original background music, this CD -- like the book -- sets a high standard.

Rainman is Lloyd Shelby's second book.  He often performs at gatherings and events, and brings his knowledge of history, poetry, and storytelling to schools and libraries as well.

Rainman is published by Painted Word Studios, P.O. Box 1606, Crosby, TX 77532; 888-313-0334
www.paintedwordstudios.com

You can read some of Lloyd Shelby's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com:
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/lshelby.htm


Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
June, 2002

A version of this review appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in February, 2003

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY VIDEO REVIEW

Cowboy Poets:  Minstrels of the West, Shadowland Productions

Cowboy Poets: Minstrels of the West makes you want to pack a bag and head north.  The video's beautifully filmed performances and stunning scenery make for great armchair traveling to three top Canadian gatherings in Manitoba, Alberta, and British Columbia. The film opens with lush panoramas graced by "When Cowboys Rode as Kings" by Ben Crane (written by poet Bryn Thiessen); the song itself is worth the price of the video. The opening gathering scenes show Manitoba professor and poet Dale (Doc) Hayes reciting his "Shorty," and performances of the poem at all three gatherings are artfully spliced together.  And it just gets better in this professional, well-edited production that has aired on Canadian television.

You have a front row seat and a free ticket to shows that include American and Canadian AWA-nominated poets Chris Isaacs, Mike Puhallo, and Thiessen, all giving polished performances of classics and their own work. Puhallo's recitation of his "Sacred Orb" as he saddles his horse is unforgettable.

There is plenty of humor and a good selection of serious poetry. Excellent musical talent includes performances by Juanita Clayton (with an autobiographical yodeling song), Ray Martin (award-winning Manitoba musician) and Ed Brown (also an artist and poet).

There's a wonderful growing trend of poets, musicians, and fans crossing borders among gatherings in the U. S. and Canada, and this video should go a long way toward encouraging those migrations.   Cowboy Poets: Minstrels of the West is available postpaid for $25.00 (US); Shadowland Productions, 51070 Range Road 221, Sherwood Park, Alberta, Canada T8E 1G8; 866-269-2698 or from www.SilverCreekMusic.com.

You can read some of:

Mike Puhallo's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/mp.htm
Chris Isaacs' poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/chrisisaacs.htm
Dale "Doc" Hayes' poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/dochayes.htm

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
June, 2002

A version of this review appeared at the Wyoming Companion in December, 2003 

A version of this review appeared in the May/June 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists


COWBOY POETRY CD AND VIDEO REVIEW

Sure Enough Entertainment, The Cardiac Cowboys


If you don't find yourself laughing through the Cardiac Cowboys' new CD Barely Live at Elko, you'd better get yourself in for a checkup.

With their extensive cowboying experience and reputations as top poets, Chris Isaacs, Sunny Hancock, and Jesse Smith offer incomparable entertainment.  Their unique group concept just couldn't be pulled off by just any three Cowboy entertainers: it is immediately obvious that you are in the special rare company of three Cowboys who are real "pardners" both on and off the stage.

Dangerously hilarious, the Cardiac Cowboys also pride themselves on being "ornery, cantankerous, and politically UNcorrect."  The CD was recorded live at Elko in 2002, and it preserves all the freshness of that stage performance.  They even turn the few stumbles and forgotten lines into fun -- after all, being "geezers" is at the heart of their humor -- and they clearly are having a great time themselves. They say that in Elko "[We] managed to aggravate or offend ALMOST everyone in town. ('If we missed anyone, we apologize!)."  There is more humor than poetry in this show, and for those looking for more of these artists' acclaimed Cowboy Poetry, their recent video offers a completely satisfying poetry experience.

In Camp with the Cardiac Cowboys gives viewers a feel for what Cowboy Poetry must have been like in its earliest days.  What the video may lack in technical perfection, it makes up for in the pure pleasure of seeing these sure enough Cowboys perform so naturally in the great outdoors.  They seamlessly weave together their poetry, tales and jokes while leaning on a fence, sitting in the saddle, or stretched out in front of a campfire. They make it look effortless as they pass off the lead to one another in what amounts to a sort of poetry in motion, with each performing his best work.

As the video ends and the group rides off to R. W. Hampton's "Born to be a Cowboy," you know you've been in the company of three outstanding talents, each one the real deal, and each one definitely born to be a Cowboy and a poet.

Barely Live at Elko CD is available for $17 postpaid from Chris Isaacs, 502 N Harless, Eagar AZ 85925 

In Camp with the Cardiac Cowboys video is available for $20 postpaid from Sunny Hancock, 93509 Leehmann Lane,  Lakeview OR 97630.  More details are available on their web site:   www.cowboycomedyhour.com

You can read some of:

Chris Isaacs' poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/chrisisaacs.htm
Sunny Hancock's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/sunnyhancock.htm

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
June, 2002

A version of this review appeared in the Nov/Dect 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists


COWBOY POETRY BOOK REVIEW

Somewhere in the West by Linda Kirkpatrick


Linda Kirkpatrick's new book, Somewhere in the West, Texas Women Who Left a Legacy, is filled with the stories of the women who helped settle the West.  Some of the women are famous, some are unsung heroines, and some are Kirkpatrick's own ancestors.

Much of the book grew out of Kirkpatrick's research for the historical poems she writes about pioneer Texas women.  One of the most compelling stories is of Cynthia Ann Parker, captured by Comanches at age 9, who "soon assimilated into the tribe where she accepted her new home and way of life." Ransoms for her return were rebuffed by the tribe, and she eventually became the wife of a Comanche Chief  and bore three children. The Indian wars raged, and at age 34 she was recaptured and reclaimed by her white family, and once again had to learn the ways of an alien culture.  She is said to have "grieved herself to death."  But her tragic life left an important legacy, as her son Quanah became the famous Comanche leader who brokered a final peace for his tribe. Kirkpatrick tells the story with drama and excitement.

Other well researched, spellbinding stories accompany original poems. Kirkpatrick says she had to tell the story of Cathay Williams, the escaped slave who disguised herself as a man and served as a Buffalo soldier. Kirkpatrick's passion for passing down these important histories infuses most of the stories and poems in the book.

Another stunning tale is told of the courageous widows of the Alamo, and it includes letters from their husbands, written in the last hours of the siege.  The stories of the surviving widows, including Mary Milsap, the blind mother of seven, are a testament to the strength that helped build the Lonestar state.

Wonderful family photos help tell the stories of Kirkpartrick's own exceptional ancestors, including her great-great grandmother who fled to Texas alone with her children as post-war carpetbaggers forced her from her southern home. She died never knowing what became of her husband, a mystery that Kirkpatrick researched and solved nearly 150 years later.

The very contemporary story of Kirkpatrick's eastern mother, who worked for the Stetson Hat Company in Philadelphia and met her father when he was stationed in Philadelphia for a time during WWII, carries along the thread of strong women adjusting to new circumstances.  The story of the city girl who comes to a ranch in West Texas "sixty miles from the nearest town, no electricity, no running water in the house, no indoor facilities, no phone" -- and a playful husband who told her she needed to run a broom handle between the bed sheets each night to dislodge the rattlesnakes that liked the coolness of the sheets -- is told with humor and love.

It's clear that these colorful, strong, inventive people helped to make Linda Kirkpatrick such an engaging storyteller.  The book also includes legends, ghost stories, and a few tantalizing recipes. A useful bibliography cites Kirkpatrick's sources for her historical  research.

The book was published by Cowboy Miner Productions of Phoenix and edited by founder Janice Coggin.  Cowboy Miner publishes classic and contemporary poets (S. Omar Barker, Bruce Kiskaddon, Larry McWhorter, Sunny Hancock, Jesse Smith, Chris Isaacs, and others) and this book carries the distinctive production quality for which Cowboy Miner is known.

Somewhere in the West went to a second printing just two months after the first release, and it is available from  Linda Kirkpatrick for $12.95 plus $3.00 S&H for the first book,$1.00 for each additional book: P.O. Box 128, Leakey, Texas 78873  lbrice@hctc.net

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February, 2002

A version of this review appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


COWBOY POETRY CD REVIEW

Texas Legacies by Scott Bumgardner



Scott Bumgardner's storytelling and poetic roots are deep and wide -- Texas-sized. His new CD, Texas Legacies, tells the story of Texas with pride, knowledge, and talent.  Flawlessly produced, the recording carries along the listener with well woven stories and poems, accompanied by thoughtful music selections.

The 17 tracks of stories and original poetry begin with the Texas Revolution and continue through the Cowboy era, ending with a moving tribute to the chroniclers of history.

Bumgardner says "No one better represents our forefathers than the American Cowboy.  To this day we still hold him as an icon of freedom, independence, and achievement through hard work."  He says he wanted to go even beyond Cowboy stories in "Texas Legacies," because Cowboy roots are "even deeper in history.  Texas, once the heart of the country's cattle industry, holds a unique place in American culture. Our ancestors fought and bled for liberty as had many of their fathers and grandfathers."

Saying that Scott Bumgardner's roots are deep and that he is a natural-born storyteller is not some Texas exaggeration. Two of the CD's early tracks, "Alamo" and "Yankee Doodle" are pieces written by Hugh Kerr in the 1830s. Kerr is Bumgardner's own ancestor, originally from Ireland, who came to Texas from Tennessee.  Some years ago Bumgardner discovered that Hugh Kerr had written the first epic Texas poetry book, A Poetical Description Of Texas, a very personal Texas legacy for this modern storyteller and poet.

Other selections continue to tell the history of heroes and common men, and include amusing and inspirational stories and poems as the sweeping history of Texas unfolds.  Bumgardner pays tribute the Cowboy history and music preservationists, including John Lomax, Jack Thorp, and J. Frank Dobie. The final track, "Spurs on the Wall," honors the poets and musicians -- "friends of Western spirit" --  who keep the past alive.

Texas Legacies is quality entertainment, an educational experience, a wonderful tribute to those who built the great state of Texas, and a portrait of true American spirit. Scott Bumgardner points out that Texas "was made famous by peoples from all over the world" and rightfully claims that "Texas and her legacies can be embraced by all freedom loving peoples."

Scott Bumgardner is a popular storyteller and poet, and he gives frequent presentations with a focus on old Texas and Cowboy history. He writes historical articles and is the President of the Cowboy History and Performance Society, based in Houston.

The Texas Legacies CD is available through www.texaslegacies.com for $15, tax and shipping included or by mail from PO Box 710770, Houston, TX 77271-0770.

You can read some of Scott Bumgardner's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com:
http://www.cowboypoetry.com/shb.htm

 

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February 2002

A version of this review appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com


Missouri Cowboy Poetry, edited by Leroy Watts


The Missouri Cowboy Poets Association (MCPA) has published an impressive anthology of their members' poetry -- over 200 poems from 35 members -- well edited by one of the founding members, Leroy Watts. Watts' own poem, "Gateway to the West," tells how Missouri was the place from which many pioneering Americans headed West:

...
St. Louis was the river port
Where the crowded steamboat came
With families seeking new beginnings
As the wild, wild west was tamed.
...
Drawn to the west Missouri border
To the towns of Westport, and St. Jo'
Where the wagon trains were gathered
And headed westward, movin' slow.
...

Many of the MCPA poets -- Gail T. Burton, Peggy Coleman, Francine Robison, Ann Sochat, for example -- are frequent performers at Cowboy Poetry gatherings throughout the West:  Other poets may be new discoveries for some readers; all will be impressed by the breadth and depth of talent included in this volume.

The organization is devoted to generating interest, support, and enthusiasm for Cowboy Poetry, and they have donated a copy of "Missouri Cowboy Poetry" to each county library in the state. Along with seriousness of their mission, the fun and flair of the group was covered well by the Jefferson City News Tribune in its description of the donation ceremony: "It was a mighty strange-looking bookmobile, but the chuck wagon -- filled with cowboys in their fanciest duds and drawn by a pair of Missouri mules did deliver boxes of poetry books..."

The book's introduction states that the MCPA members "enjoy the camaraderie that is so typically found in the companionship of the ranchers, farmers, and others of the agricultural society that is the very heart and soul of America." The biographies that accompany each poet's work tell the varied, interesting stories of their lives, and together they form a vivid picture of this active, talented group. Certainly readers will come away from this collection feeling as if they've made new friends, and they'll look forward to hearing more from them in the future.

Poets included are: Esther Ash, John Beltz, Arnold "Buzz" Benson, Gail T. Burton, Harold Carpenter, Peggy Coleman, Don Collop, Jimmy Couch, Jennie Cummings, Richard Dunlap, Carol Ellis, D. J. "DJ" Fry, L. R. "Lucky" Glasscock, Dale Hartley, Rex Henderson, Cliff "Cody" Holmes, Judy Howser, Judith Johnston, John D. "Jay" Jones, Johnny Kendrick, Shelby Lane, Jimmi Naylor, Ron Pappan, Donna Penley, Ron Ratliff, Francine Robison, Cliff Sexton, Jim & Molly Smith, Ann Sochat, Neal Torrey, Rachael Tucker, Leroy Watts, Jerry White, Dennis Williams, and James Wilson.

This satisfying collection of poetry is accompanied by illustrations, photos, stories and recipes in its 315 pages.  Missouri Cowboy Poetry is available by mail for $18.00 plus $3.00 S&H from: MCPA,  Rt. 1, Box 155-A, Verona, MO 65769. 

You can read some of:

Gail T. Burton's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/gtb.htm
Peggy Coleman's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/pc.htm
John D. "Jay" Jones' poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/jdj.htm
Jimmi Naylor's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/jnay.htm 
Francine Robison's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/frr.htm
Ann Sochat's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/annsochat.htm
Neal Torrey's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/nt.htm
Leroy Watts''s poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/lw.htm
Jerry White's poetry at CowboyPoetry.com: http://www.cowboypoetry.com/jaw.htm

Review by Margo Metegrano
Managing Editor, CowboyPoetry.com
February 2002

A version of this review appeared in the March/April 2002 issue of Rope Burns, a publication of the Academy of Western Artists

A version of this review appears at WorkingCowboy.com




 

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