"Johnny Kendrick - Western" is a collection of traditional cowboy songs dating from the 1850s to the 1920s. The songs are authentically presented with minimal instrumentation, sometimes with vocal only, as they were often performed at their inceptions. The developing genre of cowboy music has it's roots deep in ballads and music emigrants brought with them to begin new lives in a new country. Some on this collection are directly derivative from 14th Century ballads; others are poetic observations on cowboys' lives of the time. All are accurately and respectfully presented on "Johnny Kendrick - Western" as reflective of the greatest of American icons: The Cowboy. From the CD LIner Notes: The oral tradition of cowboy poetry and song lends adaptation and variety to it's performance. Many songs in this collection existed in other forms long before they were branded with 'authorship' and published dates. Others, with established authors, represent direct reflections of culture and habits of traditional cowboys, usually done with some adjustments to 'make the fit.' We all, who love and preserve this tradition, impart some of our selves to the renditions we choose. I hope you enjoy mine. The Songs: 1. I'd Like to be in Texas - ca. 1890s This version most closely follows that of a 1933 recording by Asa Martin and James Roberts. The author is unidentified; though the piece is thought to have appeared around the turn of the century. 2. The Santa Fe Trail - 1911 James Grafton Rogers wrote this when he worked with a surveying crew along the old trail in New Mexico. The first transnational merchandising route from Westport, Mo., to Santa Fe was in use from the late 1820s until the late 1850s. 3. The Range of the Buffalo - ca. 1880s Thought to be descended from old British ballads, this western variant was a favorite of John Lomax. Carl Sandburg called it "a cowboy classic" with Homeric qualities. More than 60 verses have been notated. The author is unknown. 4. The Trail to Mexico - ca. 1883 Apparent precedents are the Old English ballad "Early, Early in the Spring," and sea shanties. This cowboy version has as it's setting a trail established about 1882 by James Stinson, who supplied Texas beeves to military posts in New Mexico and Arizona. The author is unknown. 5. When the Work's All Done This Fall - 1891 Montana rancher D. J. O'Malley wrote this about the death of drover Charlie Rutledge. Printed in the Miles City, Mont., Stock Growers Journal in Oct. 6, 1891, with the title 'After the Round-Up,' it was popular with radio cowboys in the 1920s. 6. Lee's Ferry - ca. 1920 From the extensive repertoire of Glenn Ohrlin, this piece is set at the famous crossing of the Colorado River. 7. The Mormon Cowboy - ca. 1890 The 'schoolhouse by the road' at El Capitan was the place to find fun and company after a lonely week. Other versions exist, but radio cowboy Carl T. Sprague recorded this in 1929, saying he 'fit the words to suit my guitar playing.' The author is unknown. 8. Jake and Rome - 1915 This version was in a 1935 Journal of the Kansas State Historical Society as written by a woman whose brothers drove cattle from New Mexico to southwestern Kansas in the 'teens and '20s. They also brought back songs they had learned while on the trail . It's a variant of the original poem by Herbert Henry Knibbs, 'The Bosque Steer,' first published in 1915. 9. The Z-Bar Dun - ca. 1890s Titled 'The Educated Feller' in the first published collection of cowboy songs by Jack Thorpe in 1908, this is thought to have been in the oral tradition for several years prior. Depending on who's doing the telling, this title refers to the color of horse (zebra dun) or a brand. 10. The Last Longhorn - 1899 John Wesley was a Civil War veteran who settled in Pease City, Texas, about 1880. Several of his topical verses appeared in local newspapers and he originally wrote this requiem to a way of life for a Saturday night literary meeting. Texas Long-horns are descended from Spanish cattle Christopher Columbus carried on his second voyage to the New World in 1494. 11. The D-2 Horse Wrangler - 1894 This first appeared in the Miles City Stock Grower's Journal Feb. 3, 1894. D.J. O'Malley is the author. 12. The Cowboy - 1885 Also known as 'The Biblical Cowboy', and written by Allen McCandless, this first appeared in a Colorado newspaper April 9, 1885. 13. A Border Affair - 1915 Charles Badger Clark's 1915 'Sun and Saddle Leather,' contains this and other classic cowboy poems that are true to the life. 14. Life is Like a Mountain Railway - ca. 1890 Tom Horn requested that the Irwin brothers (key to establishing the first and subsequent Cheyenne Frontier Days) sing this loudly as he stood on the gallows, convicted for the murder of Willie Nickles, an event that marked the end of the era of open-range ranching.Several similar poems exist that predate the Abbey and Tillman 1890 copyrighted version. JOHNNY KENDRICK BIOGRAPHY JOHNNY KENDRICK: BIOGRAPHY Johnny Kendrick is a farmer-stockman who lives and works on tallgrass prairie land in western Missouri. Life-long passions for music and the American West led to his developing a program that traces the history of the Cowboy through music. His latest CD "Western" is a collection of traditional cowboy songs from the 1850s to the1920s accurately presented and true to the spirit. 'To me the one thing that says 'America' loudest is the image of the cowboy,' he says. "From the time I first saw Roy and Gene riding across the silver screen, I've been fascinated with the heroic ideas the image portrays.' A broadening interest led Kendrick to investigate the roots of the cowboy; from the importation of Spanish cattle to the New World in the 16th Century through the adaptation of vaqueros' tools and lifestyles, to the impact of modern-day life. He's traveled to experience the land that nurtured the cowboy: the Big Open in Montana and the Dakotas, the vast Texas plains of the XIT, the waving bluestem of Kansas prairie. He brings all he's learned together in a program of cowboy songs that follows the historic trail from the dust of old Mexico to the chrome-plated rodeo cowboys of today. 'It seemed to be just a natural progression to combine my two life-long passions, music and cowboys,' he says. Kendrick and his family still live and work on the stockfarm near the Kansas-Missouri border where he was born and raised. In order to remain close to that land, he says he's worked at various off-farm jobs "to support my agrarian habits." Today those habits include keeping quarterhorses, longhorn cattle and farming. He organizes and directs "Echoes of the Trails: A Western History Conference and Cowboy Poetry Gathering" held annually in Fort Scott, Kan. Kendrick also co-founded and managed the Fort Scott Country Music Jubilee, a country music stage show now in it's eighth year, where he performed each Saturday night to fans who looked forward to his renditions of classic songs by Bob Wills, Jimmy Rodgers, Gene Autry and Roy Rogers.
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