Working cowboy, traditional folksinger, and rodeo rider Glenn Ohrlin has gathered 100 songs which serve as an introduction to range and rodeo life as well as cowboy music. Ohrlin's tears on ranches ans "back of the chutes" were times of hard work, constant travel, close friendships, frequent injury, and rough practical jokes, all of which are illustrated in the songs and Ohrlin's accompanying remarks.
Music and words are included for songs like "My Home's in Montana," "The Texas Rangers," and "Bull Riders in the Sky." Ohrlin tells what he knows about each piece: the story behind it, where he learned it, who sang it, the meaning of special terms (such as "dallywelter" and "death wrap"), and what it meant and still means to cowboys. In the process he reveals much about an authentic cowboy's existence--from roundup, roping, and branding to bull-riding and bronco-busting--and demonstrates that both cowboys and cowboy music are still very much alive.
As long as Ohrlin can remember he has "soaked up songs." He has been exposed to academic folklorists as well as mountain tradition, and he has performed at the Newport Folk Festival and on several college campuses. His sophisticated commentary makes his book of special value to anyone interested in one of America's most vital musical traditions.
Ohrlin illustrated the book himself with drawings that show the styles of clothes and gear that fit the era and the areas described: "Styles change for cowboys just like anybody else." Included with the book is a 33 1/3 rpm record of Ohrlin performing six of his favorite songs: "Windy Bill," "My Stetson Hat," "The Gol-Darned Wheel," "Lee's Ferry," "Button Willow Tree," and "The Cowman's Prayer."
In his foreword, the prominent folklorist Archie Green shows how Ohrlin's songbag has developed and points to its special significance among collections of its type. Harlan Daniel's excellent and extensive biblio-discography will direct readers to the following types of reference for each song: basic books, selected songsters ans folios, 78 rpm records, LPs, and electrical transcriptions. Judith McCulloh has transcribed the music for seventy-three songs.
Glenn Ohrlin now operates a small ranch neat Mountain View, Arkansas. He performs occasionally at festivals, accompanying himself on guitar, and has been recorded on four LPs.