Tag Archives: American Cowboy

Listeria – Singers of Country and Western Songs

5 Nov

Man, magazines sure like their lists. To be honest, I like them, too. American Cowboy put out a special edition about the 50 greatest Country & Western singers. As I read over the list, I began to think that many of them don’t fit on the list. When I hear Country & Western, I think about cowboy songs, and there are a bunch of people on the list that never sang a song about punching cattle or being in a showdown.Four Way Shootout

I am thinking that the genre name confuses me because I don’t consider it a modern description. There is Country music and there is Western music, which isn’t as popular. I think that in the old days Country and Western went together because they were considered rural in origin. Was it a derogatory term? I don’t know, but I don’t believe they fit together anymore.

With that in mind, I am going to pare down the list and report the ones who I think are true singers of Western songs. It is American Cowboy, after all. Here they are – the ones on the list who have sung about the West. I may link a few examples along the way.

Johnny Cash – I’ve written about him before. Johnny sang a variety of tunes, but he also sang about the West. Personally, I like the one about Johnny Yuma.

Roy Rogers and Dale Evans – What can I say? Roy was the ultimate cowboy for an entire generation of kids. Dale was by his side the whole time. Nothing beats their signature song.

George Strait – George can sing Country and Western. In fact, he is a true legend of both. I could listen to “Amarillo by Morning” every day. Every time I go through Amarillo, I sing it.

Chris LeDoux – I don’t know much about Chris, but how can you leave a real cowboy off the list?

Ian Tyson – This is another singer who I don’t know much about. It is also another singer who was a real cowboy.

Gene Autry – Another cowboy legend who a generation of kids looked up to. Ironically, his most enduring song is about a deer.

Red Steagall – Texas Swing is a great subgenre of Country & Western music, and Red is one of the all time greats.

Willie Nelson – He couldn’t make it when he first came to Nashville. That’s when Willie went back to Texas and got famous. Personally, I like “My Heroes Have Always Been Cowboys.”

Michael Martin Murphey – When I was a kid, I was fascinated by “Wildfire.” I think it was more the ghostly element than the cowboy element.

Don Edwards – I didn’t know anything about Don until I heard one of his songs in a movie. “Coyotes” was that song.

Patsy Montana – The other day Necole and I took my parents to the Country Music Hall of Fame. The section on Patsy Montana was very interesting.

Merle Haggard – He sings about prisoners and laborers. Merle also sings about cowboys. He greatest song is “Pancho and Lefty” with Willie Nelson. He also had a song in Chisum, a John Wayne movie.

Marty Robbins – I wrote about some of Marty’s songs a while back. He touched on a variety of topics in his music, but cowboys were right at the top.

Rex Allen – Another great cowboy star, I remember the tractor commercials he always did during the National Finals Rodeo.

Sons of the Pioneers – I guess Roy Rogers is in here twice because he was also in this group. I watched a fascinating documentary about “Tumbling Tumbleweeds“, so I will make that my favorite. I also like “The Searchers” theme.

Bob Wills – Remember what I said about Texas Swing? Bob Wills was the king of it.

Waylon Jennings – An Outlaw with Willie Nelson and others, Waylon often sang about cowboys. I always liked “Slow Movin’ Outlaw.”

Riders in the Sky – I always considered them a parody. I guess their stage costumes led me to think that. Riders in the Sky are included in the American Cowboy list, so I will put them in mine.

R.W. Hampton – I don’t know his work, but, from what I read, his contemporaries think a lot of R.W.

Joni Harms – Another artist that is new to me, Joni has won numerous awards for her work in the Western genre.

Tom Russell – Dang, I don’t know many of these people. I need to do more research. I definitely need to do more listening to this song.

Wylie & the Wild West – Actually, I know about Wylie. I just don’t know much about his music.

Corb Lund – They list lyrics of some of the artists. Corb’s lyrics struck a chord with me, so I looked up this song.

Garth Brooks – He looked like a cowboy, and he sang about cowboys. Personally, I think Garth ruined Country music.

Kris Kristofferson – Anyone who played Billy the Kid in a movie has to be put on the list. I am just not sure if he ever sang about cowboys.

Belinda Gail – Belinda won the WIll Rogers Cowboy Award. That means she should be on the list.

Brenn Hill – The magazine doesn’t say much about him, but it says that he sings cowboy songs.

Gary McMahan – They list “The Old Double Diamond” as his most prominent song. I looked it up, and it’s good.

Sons of San Joaquin – It’s all in the family. According to the magazine, Roy Rogers compared the Sons of Joaquin to the Sons of the Pioneers. That’s enough for me.

Let’s add this up. Out of 50 on the original list, we have 30 left. I don’t who how many others could have been on it, but I can’t believe Tex Ritter didn’t make it. He sang the iconic theme to High Noon and sang a song that is played daily at Disney World – “Blood on the Saddle.” Can you guess where it’s played?

Listeria – Western Locales

12 Aug

The latest edition of American Cowboy lists twelve destinations in the American West that every cowboy must visit. Well, I’m not a cowboy. I don’t wear a cowboy hat, boots or Wrangler jeans. I don’t ride horses. At one time, my dad owned the top ranked herd of Angus in Tennessee, but I only went to the production sales to eat and watch the spectacle. Despite all of those non-cowboy things, I love the American West, and, of the twelve locations in the magazine, these are my favorites.

Grand Canyon National Park – I believe this is something that every American should see at least once in their lifetime.West 2010 313

The magazine says that people should visit Prescott, Arizona while they are in the area. I couldn’t agree more. Prescott has one of the coolest town squares I have ever seen. Wait, I guess I should call it a plaza.

Monument Valley – By far, my favorite place in the American West. It may be my favorite place in the world. It is the land of the Navajo. It is the land of John Ford. It is also the banner at the top of this blog.West 2010 258

The magazine suggests that people should also go to Canyon de Chelly. It is also in the Navajo Nation and is a place that should not be passed up. Although, be sure to go into the canyon with a Navajo guide.West 2010 213

Black Hills – This is the Holy Land of the Sioux, and the United States took it for the gold in the ground. Now, there is Mount Rushmore and a mountain being carved to represent Crazy Horse. The rest of the hills are covered with old mining towns, the most famous of which is Deadwood. No one should leave Deadwood without walking through Mt. Moriah Cemetery and leaving an offering at the grave of Wild Bill Hickok.

Yellowstone National Park – It is filled with natural wonders – geysers, hot springs, buffalo and more things than can be mentioned. This is another place that every American should see at least once, and they should enter from the original entrance to the north. If you are going to do it, then do it like they did in the old days.Montana 2012 and Other Stuff 275

Those are a few of the places to see in the West. There are only hundreds of more that could be listed.

Listeria – Western Actors Edition

24 Oct

I know that this edition of Listeria is coming along soon after the last edition of Listeria, but I went overboard on my last trip to the magazine stand. Besides, this one covers one of my favorite subjects – Western movies. I grew up watching them with my dad, and that experience played a role in my interest in the history of the West.

American Cowboy published a special issue called “Legends of Western Cinema” and listed the 20 greatest Western actors. However, there is one problem that needs to be addressed before I begin. When people think about Westerns, or the history of the West, they think about cowboys first. Some of the greatest Westerns don’t involve cowboys at all. They involve mountain men, Native Americans, cavalry and all sorts of characters. In the real West, not everyone were cowboys. A good way to see this? If there are no cows around, then there are probably no cowboys around.

The rant is over, so here we go with the list. These are the 20 greatest Western actors according to American Cowboy in the order that they have listed. I will list my favorite movie of each and add the actors that I believe should be included.

John Wayne – The Searchers

Gary Cooper – High Noon

James Stewart – The Far Country

Henry Fonda – Once Upon a Time in the West

Clint Eastwood – The Outlaw Josey Wales

Steve McQueen – The Magnificent Seven

Kirk Douglas – There Was a Crooked Man

Robert Duvall – Open Range

Ben Johnson – She Wore a Yellow Ribbon

Lee Marvin – The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance

Sam Elliott – Tombstone

Tom Selleck – Quigley Down Under

Charles Bronson – Once Upon a Time in the West

Woody Strode – Sergeant Rutledge

Gregory Peck – The Gunfighter

Paul Newman – Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid

Tom Mix – Riders of the Purple Sage

Glenn Ford – 3:10 to Yuma

Tommy Lee Jones – No Country For Old Men

James Garner – Duel at Diablo

That’s the Top 20. I could name a bunch that belong on the list, but I will limit myself to five.

Randolph Scott – Ride the High Country

Kevin Costner – Silverado

Robert Mitchum – Five Card Stud

Robert Redford – Jeremiah Johnson

Richard Widmark – Broken Lance

There is the list. Who else should be included? Who should be omitted? What are your favorite movies? Let me know.