Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend

Orejana Bull for Cowboys Only
by Gail Gardner

Foreword

These songs were written for the sole purpose of amusing cowboys. They will have no special appeal for the big outfits of the plains country where the cattle may be systematically rounded up twice a year and handled in an orderly fashion. But the small owner, the "greasy sack" outfit, and the cowboy who works wild cattle in the brush and mountains where they have to be "outlawed," should find some entertainment in them. Some of these songs were written many years ago and have since been sung around the cow-camps and rodeos all; over the West. They are gathered here and set down accurately as they were written; for a song passed by word of mouth from "one old boy to another old boy" is apt to undergo a fearful and wonderful change.

The first song was written as verse, and it never would have been sung at all if Bill Simon hadn't sized it up one day and decided it would do to sing. He started it and, as it went pretty good, that started me to writing more "cow" songs. The author is no musician, in fact, he doesn't know one note from another, but he has had a great deal of pleasure setting these songs to simple tunes and singing them to patient friends. They must be friends indeed for their many requests for the words of various songs are responsible for the publication of this little book.

I am often asked about the episode of the "Moonshine Steer,"--if we really did pour some liquor down him. Lee Murphy, who was with me when we found the still in operation, will tell you that we talked seriously about it--it seemed like a great idea at the time. But, for the benefit of the S.P.C.A., we didn't actually waste any on the steer.

I am indebted to all the cowboys I have ever worked with for incidents and certain salty phrases contained herein. This book is for them.

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