Praise for The BAR-D Roundup: Volume
Jennifer Denison, Senior Editor, Western Horseman
“...a slam dunk of good wordsmithing.”
Texas songster Andy Hedges
Texas songster Andy Hedges
"...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.
The Center's Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous U.S. Senate resolution and by twenty-three states' governors and officials—is held each April during National Poetry Month. Each year, The BAR-D Roundup CD and the celebration's poster (by top Western artist Jason Rich in 2014) 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.
We need your support to continue and expand these programs. Read below about how you can be a part of it all.
Track list for The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Nine (2014)
1. LASCA (Frank Desprez, 1853-1916 ) Joel Nelson 7:19
courtesy of the Western Folklife Center; recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2014); westernfolklife.org
2. HOOVES EVERLASTING DW Groethe 1:25
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup
3. THE RAWHIDE BRAIDER Waddie Mitchell 2:25
from Sweat Equity (2014) Waddie’s Words Publishing, BMI, courtesy of Western Jubilee Recording Company; westernjubilee.com
4. COWBOY POETRY IN MOTION Paul Bliss 2:53
from Pure Bliss (2013)
5. THE TWISTER Jay Snider 1:51
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; jaysnider.net
6. WHEN YOU’RE THROWED (Bruce Kiskaddon, 1878-1950) Randy Rieman 1:56
recorded live at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering (2014); westernfolklife.org
7. JAKE Georgie Sicking 1:37
from To Be a Top Hand (2007)
8. GREASY CORRALS John Dofflemyer :36
from Streams of Thought (2014); drycrikjournal.com
9. PAST CARIN’ (Henry Lawson, 1867-1922) Teresa Jordan 2:57
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; teresajordan.com
10. MARRIED INTO IT Patricia Frolander 3:06
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup
11. WRITING MY WAY THROUGH Amy Hale Auker 2:10
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; amyhaleauker.com
12. BUCKAROO WOMAN UNCONFINED Jessica Hedges 1:34
from Buckaroo Woman Unconfined (2013); jessicahedgescowboypoetry.com
13. NOT WAITIN’ ON SOMEDAY Ken Cook with Kasey Jo Dawson and Shyanne Adrienne Dawson 1:33
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; kencookcowboypoet.com
14. THE BANKER AND THE INSURANCE MAN Yvonne Hollenbeck 2:11
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; yvonnehollenbeck.com
15. THE ELEVATOR SCALE Rodney Nelson 2:05
from Elko! A Cowboy’s Gathering (2005), courtesy of Western Jubilee Recording Company and the Western Folklife Center; westernjubilee.com, westernfolklife.org
16. IT SORTA MAKES SENSE Virginia Bennett 1:57
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup
17. MAGGIE (Wallace McRae) Brigid Reedy :21
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; brigidreedy.com
18. BILL AND HIS DOG Pat Richardson :33
from Pull My Finger (2001); patrichardsoncowboypoet.com
19. HOW I TAUGHT BRUNO A LESSON Andy Nelson 2:48
from How I Taught Bruno a Lesson; cowpokepoet.com
20. PST THE III (DW Groethe) Linda Kirkpatrick 1:51
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; lindakirkpatrick.net
21. CURLY WOLF COLLEGE (S. Omar Barker, 1891-1985) Thatch Elmer 1:51
from The First Go Round (2014); cowboythatch.com
22. THE MOONSHINE STEER (Gail I. Gardner, 1892-1988) Gail Steiger 2:54
from an unreleased recording (2013); gailsteiger.biz
23. ALKALI IKE’S ZIPPERS (Bruce Kiskaddon, 1878-1950) Ila-Jane Owen 1:15
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; deannadickinsonmccall.com
24. THE COWBOY AND THE WHEEL | GOL-DARN WHEEL (James Barton Adams, 1843-1918) Ol’ Jim Cathey 4:32
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; bootsnrhymes.com
25. WHAT IS A WESTERNER? Doris Daley 2:11
from Beneath a Western Sky (2008); dorisdaley.com
26. LAST GATHER Rusty McCall (1986-2013) :51
from an unreleased CD, Contemporary and Classic Cowboy Poetry (2006); deannadickinsonmccall.com
27. FOR RUSTY Deanna Dickinson McCall 1:15
recorded for The BAR-D Roundup; deannadickinsonmccall.com
28. BRONCO SHOD WITH WINGS (Henry Herbert Knibbs, 1874-1945) Jerry A. Brooks 3:19
from Shoulder to Shoulder (2010)
SPECIAL CLASSIC RECORDING
29. HOME ON THE RANGE (Brewster Higley, 1823-1911) James Richardson 2:36
recorded by Ruby T. and John Avery Lomax (1939); courtesy of the American Folklife Center, Library of Congress; loc.gov/item/afcss39.2706a2
30. CENTER FOR WESTERN AND COWBOY POETRY RADIO PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT (PSA) :23
by Jarle Kvale, Back at the Ranch, keyaranch.podomatic.com
CowboyPoetry.com includes most of these poems and more information about the poems and poets.
All rights are reserved by the artists and owners of the included tracks.
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Nine is produced by the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry with generous funding support from the Margaret T. Morris Foundation, the Sage Foundation, and sustaining donors.
Special thanks to the McCall family and to Steve Green and the Western Folklife Center; Todd Harvey and the Alan Lomax Collection at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress; Scott O’Malley and Western Jubilee Recording Company; the estate of S. Omar Barker; H. Paul Moon and westdocumentary.com; Wallace McRae; DW Groethe; Francie Ganje; Hal Cannon; Harvey & Me'lissa Turnbow; John and Heather Reedy; Kim and Brad Elmer; Jerry Brooks; Totsie Slover; Nika Nordbrock; Jeri Dobrowski; Tom Morgan; Alf Bilton; Andy Nelson, engineer and co-producer (with Margo Metegrano); and to all the poets, reciters, families, publishers, and organizations for poetry and permissions.
The BAR-D Roundup is dedicated to all those who proudly carry on the ranching tradition.
Cowboys, generations, young poets, ranch women...these themes—and others—are explored in this CD that is dedicated to memory of sixth-generation cowboy Rusty McCall.
Volume Nine opens with one of the greatest classic cowboy poems, recited by one the greatest cowboy reciters. Joel Nelson presents "Lasca," by Frank Desprez (1853-1916 ) in a commanding presentation (from the 2014 Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering):
I want free life and I want fresh air;
And I long for the gallop after the cattle,
In their frantic flight, like the roar of battle,
The mêlée of horns, and hoofs, and heads
That wars and wrangles and scatters and spreads—
The green beneath and the blue above,
And dash and danger, and life and love —
Ranch hand, poet and picker DW Groethe bridges the gap between then and now with his moving poem, "Hooves Everlasting":
And once on a time,
(before time was a nuisance),
back when the day was still sister to night,
came echoing ever,
in coulee, on grassland,
the hooves of the herds, never ending in sight.
Top cowboy poet Waddie Mitchell writes of cowboy craft and wisdom in his fine poem, "The Rawhide Braider," which begins some selections about today's working cowboys:
Prepare the hide well, keep your blade razor sharp
Temper the strings almost dry
Take time to lay each rawhide plait tight and straight
And, build something that’s worthy of pride
Make something that’s worthy of pride
Cowboy and rancher Paul Bliss's vivid, atmospheric "Poetry in Motion," is all that the title says:
Well, the mornin’ starts at four am, the cook he rings the bell.
“Come ‘on get up ya cowboys,” comes a loud persistent yell!
“Come on shake out the coffee's hot, don’t lay there in yur soogans.
“Get’em up, roll’em tight, all bed rolls to the wagon!”
Ya can smell the food a cookin’; feel that chill that’s in the air.
As ya’ gather round that chuck box, with un emotionless stare.
Next, cowboy and rancher Jay Snider takes listeners on a roughstock ride with "The Twister":
If he bucks me off, he’ll have to shed his skin
Was the claim the twister made
He said,” There ain’t a bronc that’s drawed a breath
Can shake me loose from this Wade"
Respected horseman and reciter Randy Rieman stays on the subject with Bruce Kiskaddon's (1878-1950) classic, "When You're Throwed":
If a feller's been astraddle since he's big enough to ride,
And has had to throw a saddle onto every sort of hide;
Though it's nothin' they take pride in, most of fellers I have knowed,
If they ever done much ridin', has at various times got throwed.
Cowboys are still the theme, and the female cowboy gets introduced as nonagenarian and Cowgirl Hall of Fame inductee Georgie Sicking tells about "Jake":
It was sometimes kind of awkward
For a girl of nine or ten—
To be the only cowgirl,
Among a bunch of men.
Fourth generation rancher John Dofflemyer considers his ranch's "Greasy Corrals" and with a profound simplicity, tells:
It takes years
to be taught, to wonder
and recognize good fortune
with the fade of old faces
and all the good horses
that have danced here.
That bittersweet thought opens the mood for one of the first of a selection of poems about ranching women. Artist and writer Teresa Jordan begins the group with Australian Henry Lawson's heartrending "Past Carin'":
Now up and down the siding brown
The great black crows are flyin',
And down below the spur, I know,
Another "milker's" dyin';
The crops have withered from the ground,
The tank's clay bed is glarin',
But from my heart no tear nor sound,
For I have gone past carin'—
Rancher and past Wyoming Poet Laureate Patricia Frolander's poem gives a sharp look at one woman's place in the title poem from her award-winning book, "Married Into It":
She’ll never last—too much city,
Don’t know how he stands it.
Imagine! She don’t know a heifer from a Hereford.
Oh my, did you hear about her first branding?
Fed them twelve men a four-pound roast
and two burnt apple pies—she'll never make it.
Writer, poet, and working cowboy Amy Hale Auker expresses the push and pull of her working life in "Writing My Way Through":
Sometimes I want to be a girl,
I get tired of being tough...
I want to ride back to the house,
Say, hey boys, I've had enough.
Sometimes I want to wear lip gloss
Instead of a mustache made of dirt,
Wear something pretty and slinky and pink
Instead of these chaps and denim shirt.
Young ranch woman, poet, mother, wife, and designer Jessica Hedges has a bold statement about her life in "Buckaroo Woman Unconfined":
All I need is a strong horse and good riding kack
And endless Nevada sage will keep me more than fine
A nice stout bit and a few pieces of well made tack
Are all I need to keep me on the straight and narrow line
Cowboy and rancher Ken Cook brings a striking poem with another bold message, in which the voices of his daughter,
Kasey Jo Dawson, and her daughter, his granddaughter Shyanne Adrienne Dawson join him, "Not Waitin's on Someday":
"Someday Daddy" is all she said,
One precious want surged 'round her head.
Tiny hands caressed my saddle,
Big blue eyes cried out it's time for cattle.
You're gonna make a hand Kasey,
Not waitin' on someday.
Nothin's lived by watchin',
We're gonna ride today.
How much is a ranch wife worth? Ranch wife, quilt champion, and popular Yvonne Hollenbeck brings some light and humor to the question in her poem, "The Banker and the Insurance Man":
He says, “She’s worth a million
if you figured up the cost
of hiring folks to do her work;
without her you’d be lost.
And if lightning hit some cattle,
the loss would be immense;
heck, you’ve got a hundred thousand
in just windmills, tanks and fence.”
Writer, rancher, and rodeo champion Rodney Nelson has a long-suffering wife, featured often in his poem. Here she is, up against "The Elevator Scale":
I didn't want to do it
What else am I to say
I started up my pickup truck
And filled it up with hay
I never had a clue that day
That what I did was wrong
When I stopped and asked the Missus
If she'd like to ride along
Retired ranch woman Virginia Bennett turns the attention to ranch husbands, and their dogs, in "It Sorta Makes Sense":
And, the reporter said, "It has long been
established as a scientific fact
that dogs look like their owners
and by data this has been backed."
Well, Pete looked down at his old dog
lyin' faithfully on the floor:
His tongue lolled out (the dog's, not Pete's)
as he laid there in full-snore.
And on the subject of dogs, 13-year-old poet and accomplished musician Brigid Reedy does a fine job with National Endowment for the Arts Fellow and third-generation rancher Wallace McRae's "Maggie":
I taught my good dog, Maggie
To lay down when I commanded
I also taught her "Set"
Whenever I demanded.
I'll teach her next to speak, I said
She struggled to comply
And when she learned to speak, she said:
"You twit. It's 'Sit' and 'Lie.'"
Another cowboy and dog have their day (or not) in rodeo cowboy and artist Pat Richardson's "Bill and His Dog":
He was in the wrong place most of the time,
and his dog was nearly as bad;
he'd bark and chase rabbits right through the herd
and scatter what cattle we had.
When it comes to animals, the tables get turned on poet, writer, emcee and radio host Andy Nelson in his "How I Taught Bruno a Lesson":
This is how I taught Bruno a lesson,
While shoeing that crotchety horse.
It takes quite a bit to make me upset,
But when he used me for a jack;
I had to show him just who was the boss,
So I propped him up with my back.
There is no lack for animals or commentary on the state of exurbia in DW Groethe's "PST the III" poem, expertly presented by writer and reciter Linda Kirkpatrick:
Percival Sedgely Throckmorton the III
bought a ranch west of Billings, Montana.
Stocked it with cattle, horses and peacocks,
five sheep, fourteen goats, a turkey named Hanna,
a gaggle of guineas, a Pekinese pooch,
two llamas, alpacas, a mule,
a small herd of miniature ponies, for show,
an ostrich that tended to drool.
Put up a log cabin with matching garage,
built a barn and corrals for the lot.
He would've done more but there's only so much
you can do with a two acre plot.
Ten-year-old rodeo competitor, reciter, and poet Thatch Elmer continues the humor with S. Omar Barker's "Curly Wolf College":
They ask me what I knowed about the hist'ry of the earth.
I told 'em that I understood it started at Fort Worth,
Where Adam, the first Texan, found a market for his steers,
And started raisin' buckaroos with red and hairy ears.
They asked about my algebra—I told 'em it was tough,
The way most any cowboy's gits that's ridden long enough.
Cowboy, ranch manager, filmmaker, and songwriter Gail Steiger, devoted friend of Rusty McCall, honors his memory with "The Moonshine Steer" by Steiger's famous grandfather, Gail I. Gardner (1892-1988):
Two cowboys left their camp one day,
To lead in a bald-faced steer,
And what befell them along the way,
You're now a-goin' to hear:
As they was a-ridin' thru the brush,
Around the side of a hill,
All at once they come upon,
A hidden moonshine still.
Rusty McCall's niece, twelve-year-old ranch-raised reciter Ila-Jane Owen, keeps the humor going with "Alkali Ike's Zippers" by Bruce Kiskaddon (1878-1950):
"Now speakin' of Zippers," sez Alkali Ike,
"Them zippers is sumpthin' I really don't like.
I aimed to buy clothes like I always had wore,
Till I started a lookin' around in the store.
Poet and reciter Jim Cathey brings a great old classic to life. Just this year its authorship was discovered: "The Cowboy and the Wheel," also known as "The Gol-Darn Wheel," was found to be by James Barton Adams (1843-1918):
I kin take the toughest bronco in the wild an' woolly West;
An' kin back him an' kin ride him, let him do his level best;
I kin handle any critter ever wore a coat o' hair,
An' I've had a lively tussle with a 'tarnal grizzly bear.
I kin rope an' throw a long-horn o' the wildest Texas brand,
An' in Injun disagreements I kin play a leadin' hand;
But at last I met my master, an' I shorely had to squeal
When the boys got me a-straddle of a
After all of the humor, popular poet, ranch-raised Doris Daley brings us around with a question each poem in Volume Nine answers in its own way, "What is a Westerner?":
A Westerner seeks no long farewell when his time is come—
A setting sun, a whispered prayer, a short of good dark rum.
What is a Westerner? I'll let the experts fuss...
My answer, Friends, its simple: it's you, it's me, it's us.
A true Westerner, poet, reciter, and sixth-generation cowboy Rusty McCall (1986-2013) recites his poem about a "Last Gather," a touching observation on a sad event that came to be for the family ranch a year after the poem was written:
It’s gonna be a long sad day.
They’ve had to sell the ranch
And we’re selling the horses today.
That appy over there sure could buck.
You best know how to hang on,
Or be friends with lady luck.
Writer, poet, and rancher Deanna Dickinson McCall, Rusty's mother, offers a poem deep with feeling and meaning, a precious word picture written a year or so before her son's death, "For Rusty":
Silence that needs no filling, quiet with the soft plod
Smiles that don’t come easy, gestures answered with a nod
Circles made in a corral, saddles gathering fine dust
Walking on ground a chore, ride his horse he must.
Started out riding in front, little hands grabbing the horn
Sleeping most of the time, baby cowboy bred and born.
Rode some broncs in school, took his share of licks
Worked lots of cows, reins were his joy stick.
Noted recited Jerry A. Brooks preserves the reverent mood and helps bring things to a close with Henry Herbert Knibbs' (1874-1945) enigmatic "Bronco Shod with Wings":
Sing me a home beyond the stars, and if the song be fair,
I'll dwell awhile with melody—as long as mortal dare.
But sing me to the earth again on wide, descending wings,
That I may not forget the touch of homely human things.
Finally, another piece that complements and reflects back on so many poems in this collection: "Home on the Range," written by Brewster Higley (1823-1911), is sung a capella by James Richardson, who was in a Florida prison in 1939 when his rendition was recorded by recorded by Ruby T. and John Avery Lomax:
How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light of the glittering stars,
Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours.
And that wraps up this collection of poems about the working West.
About the cover and inside photo for The BAR-D Roundup: Volume 9 (2014):
Most BAR-D Roundup cover images have been vintage photos of poets or their forebears. Inside each year's CD, a contemporary ranch photo is featured.
The CD's cover pictures Rusty McCall, 1986-2013, poet, reciter, and sixth-generation cowboy, son of Dave and Deanna McCall.
Rusty lived his short life as his entire extraordinary family does, full of love, generosity, and purpose.
He faced major brain surgery and other procedures, radiation, and treatment for his serious neurofibromatosis condition, spending the last year of his life visiting friends and family, and having visits from them on the McCall's New Mexico ranch.
A popular poet and reciter, Rusty made his first appearance at the Western Folklife Center's National Cowboy Poetry Gathering at age 3, in 1989. He performed there many times since and at other gatherings, including the Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering, sometimes along with other the other poets and reciters in his ranching family, including his parents, Dave and Deanna Dickinson McCall, and his sisters Terri Anne Knight and Katie McCall Owen. In recognition of Rusty's indomitable spirit, the 2010 Texas Cowboy Poetry Gathering was dedicated to Rusty McCall, "...for his courage and perseverance in spite of his medical problems to carry on the oral tradition of the cowboy."
Rusty is deeply missed by many, many devoted friends and a great extended family.
The photograph is by noted photographer Kevin Martini-Fuller (kevinmartinifuller.com) who took photographs of Rusty McCall at the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering over the years. With thanks to him and to Steve Green, Archivist at the Western Folklife Center, we're pleased to share some of those images:
Inside the CD there's a photograph of the McCall family, taken by Nika Nordbrock at the 2012 Arizona Cowboy Poets Gathering:
Here's the original (the date on the picture is not accurate):
© 2014, Nika Nordbrock
Order Information for The BAR-D Roundup
Volume Nine (2014)
The BAR-D Roundup: Volume Nine (2014) is available, postpaid, for a $20 donation.
Proceeds from The BAR-D Roundup support the Center. CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center.
You can order by mail using the form here or send $20 (check or money order in U.S. funds) per copy to:
PO Box 1107
Lexington, VA 24450
Postage is included for the U.S. Add $5 US for Canada and other countries.
You can also pay by a secure, on-line credit card payment (a Paypal account is not required):
CowboyPoetry.com is a project of the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry, Inc. a non-profit, tax-exempt organization under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Service Act. Contributions are fully deductible for federal income tax purposes. The BAR-D Roundup fair market value is $15 and no amount of the $20 donation for its postpaid delivery is tax deductible as a charitable contribution.
Find order information for other volumes and special offers here.
Listen to the Center for Western and Cowboy Poetry Public Service Announcements
Each volume of The BAR-D Roundup includes an audio Public Service Announcement (PSA):
Listen to the 2014 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Jarle Kvale, host of Back at the Ranch weekly radio show.
Listen to the 2013 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Totsie Slover, host of The Real West from the Old West weekly radio show.
Listen to the 2012 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Linda Kirkpatrick, poet, reciter, and writer (www.lindakirkpatrick.net) with background music by DW Groethe.
Listen to the 2011 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Brenn Hill, popular cowboy singer, songwriter, and poet (www.brennhill.com).
Listen to the 2010 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Joe Baker, radio host and proprietor of the Backforty Bunkhouse (www.backfortybunkhouse.com).
Listen to the 2009 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Baxter Black, top cowboy poet and philosopher (www.baxterblack.com).
Listen to the 2008 30-second public service announcement from the CD by Francie Ganje, radio host and director of South Dakota's Heritage of the American West show.
Listen to the 2007 30-second public service announcement from the CD and to an expanded 60-second version, both by poet, humorist, and radio host Andy Nelson.
Downlaod the audio clips for your broadcast or web site.
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The Center's Cowboy Poetry Week celebration—recognized by unanimous resolution by the U. S. Senate—is held each April during National Poetry Month. The BAR-D Roundup CD and the celebration's poster are offered to libraries through the Center's Rural Library Project, in fulfillment of the Center's mission to preserve and promote our Western heritage.
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