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Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs

03 Jun 04 - 02:46 PM (#1199535)
Subject: Rex has another new CD
From: GUEST,Rex on the work 'puter

Here's the lates thing I've been working on. The recording is done and now comes the lengthy process of finishing the book. Adios, Rex


This month in a recording studio in Colorado Springs, Colorado, music historians Mark Gardner and Rex Rideout will record for a forthcoming CD and book some of the very first cowboy songs ever published. In a project sponsored by the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, Gardner and Rideout are performing 17 songs and poems collected and written by famed ballad hunter Nathan H. "Jack" Thorp in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Thorp published the very first book of cowboy songs at Estancia, New Mexico, in 1908. A working cowboy and rancher himself, Thorp titled his small paperback book Songs of the Cowboys, and he sold copies out of his saddlebags for fifty cents apiece. An original copy of Thorp's book now brings over $2000.00 in the rare book market. Thorp also wrote one of the most performed cowboy song of all time: "Little Joe, the Wrangler." The song tells the story of a young cowboy who is trampled to death in a cattle stampede.

"This project is a tribute to Thorp's immense contributions to cowboy music as well as the history and culture of New Mexico," Gardner said.   "Thorp was the first individual to realize the importance of this very American music, and he set out on his own hook to gather as much of it as he could. His ballad-hunting travels took him through Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Wyoming." Thorp later wrote of his collecting adventures in an article titled "Banjo in the Cow Camps," published in 1940 in Atlantic Monthly. "That article alone is extremely valuable for scholars of cowboy music," Gardner said. "Thorp tells us that the cowboy songs he heard were always sung by one person, not by a group, which means none of those Sons of the Pioneers harmonies that Thorp was hearing in the 1930s." "In fact," Gardner added, "Thorp claimed that he never heard a cowboy with a real good voice; they had probably lost their voices 'bawling at cattle, or sleeping out in the open.'"

Gardner and Rideout are using Thorp's recollections as a guide for their recording sessions – with the exception of the poor voices, of course. There will only be a single voice on each song, Gardner said. And the instrumentation will be sparse. Gardner and Rideout are approaching the recording sessions as "living historians," even to the point of using vintage instruments and playing styles. And they are using the same type of banjo Thorp is known to have carried on his packhorse. "Today Thorp's instrument is called a piccolo banjo; it's really a miniature 5-string banjo that's tuned an octave higher than the standard banjo. It was designed to be played in banjo orchestras of the late 19th-century, but Thorp found its small size real handy for his horseback tramps across the Southwest."

Gardner and Rideout's CD will be included in a special publication titled Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys, to be issued by the Palace Press (the Palace Press owns a historic printing press from Estancia, New Mexico, that may have printed Thorp's 1908 songbook). Each song or poem in the book will be accompanied by an illustration by renowned New Mexico cowboy artist Ron Kil, while Gardner is writing a scholarly introduction to the volume. The first printing, scheduled for next year, will be limited to only 100 copies. A trade edition will follow.

For more information on the Jack Thorp project, contact Curator of the Press Tom Leech at the Palace Press at 505-476-5096, or e-mail him at Or go to the web site

Press Inquiries: Mark L. Gardner

03 Jun 04 - 04:35 PM (#1199607)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD
From: Joe Offer

Sounds like an exciting project, Rex. Good luck with it. I certainly enjoyed your Frontier Favorites CD.
-Joe Offer-

04 Jun 04 - 02:08 PM (#1200420)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD
From: katlaughing

Wow! I'll bet ya dollars to donuts my granddad had a copy of that book, or knew some of the songs before it was published. My dad is going to be excited about this one, Rex. I think we almost wore him out asking for Little Joe the Wrangler all the time.:-)

Now that things have settled a bit around here, I be able to get both of these (trade edition, that is:-)!

Thank you and congratulations!


04 Jun 04 - 11:28 PM (#1200761)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD
From: katlaughing

Talked to dad, tonight. He remembers this book being in the fmaily library and is very excited to hear about your work, Rex. Wish we knew what happened to our copy!

24 Jul 05 - 04:12 PM (#1527212)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: Rex

I wanted to let you all know that the trade copy of the book and CD are finished. Mark and I are quite happy that the Museum of New Mexico Press was willing to publish the project. It appears in their online catalog:
It has been sent to the printer and word is that it will be available in September. We are going to be doing a couple of fandagos in Santa Fe with the publisher. The special limited edition from the Palace Press is expected to be available in the Spring. More on this as it develops.
Sorry to be so scarce on the 'Cat. Lots going on. I was a "fishing guide" for the Neversummers Ranch at Rocky Mountain National Park for the year 1925 last week. Then my bluegrass group played for the Gospel Grass festival over the weekend. Yesterday I was a part of 17 artillery units firing in time to the 1812 Overture as performed by the Denver Municipal Band in Clement Park. Friday I depart for Bent's Old Fort in LaJunta and will be there over the weekend as the Army of the West prepares to invade Mexico in 1846. Hey you Souther Colorado folks, come see me. Just ask for Rex when you get to the fort. Folks will know where I am. I'll be at Kit Carson's Rayado at the Philmont Scout Ranch the following week. Then the College Rendezvous in Lost Park. Any of you wanting to know what Mark Gardner and I are up to, check out our website:
Hope to see some of you somewhere along the trail,


24 Jul 05 - 09:24 PM (#1527416)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: katlaughing

Well, I cannot wait for September, though I am sorry to say dad isn't with us anymore to enjoy it with me.

Also, I wish I was able to get to the more central/eastern parts of southern Colorado to see you! I keep getting better and better since the surgery, so I expect travelling to become easier, too, eventually.

Sure is good to hear from you. Maybe ya oughta look into the Western Slope sometime?!:-)


25 Jul 05 - 12:40 AM (#1527543)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: GUEST,Art Thieme


This looks like a wonderful project. I'll be looking forward to it!

N. Howard "Jack" Thorp's books have been important parts of my music library for many years. I told a tale recounted by him in his book, PARDNER TO THE WIND for close to 30 years on stage. I called my version of it THE GREAT TURTLE DRIVE, and it should be on a planned CD of mine called "On The River" which is scheduled to be out on Folk Legacy Records sometime in the not too distant future.

All the best with your good project!!!

Art Thieme

25 Jul 05 - 10:06 PM (#1528333)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: Lonesome EJ

Good on you, Cowboy!

26 Jul 05 - 12:04 AM (#1528398)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: open mike

whoopie ti yi yo!
do tell us more about the
Frontier Favorites CD.
where? how? how much?
    Click here for the thread on Frontier Favorites.
    -Joe Offer-

28 Jul 05 - 04:31 PM (#1530478)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: Rex

Well a big thankee to Kat and EJ. Art, you can bet I'll be looking for your On The River CD. Thanks for Joe for the link to the Frontier Favorites CD. We are halfway through our second thousand of that cd. Open Mike, and everyone, you can get it directly from me for $15 postpaid. Send inquiries to:
The Jack Thorp book and cd will be available through the Museum of New Mexico Press or myself for $24.95.
I guess I should list the tracks for it:

Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys

1. Ti Ri Youdy
2. The Texas Cowboy
3. The Tenderfoot
4. Little Joe, the Wrangler
5. Three-Block Tom
6. Get Along. Little Dogies
7. Windy Bill
8. My Little Brown Mule
9. Chopo
10. Grand Round-up
11. Bucking Broncho
12. The Cowboy's Christmas Ball
13. The Gal I Left Behind Me
14. Sam Bass
15. Mustang Gray
16. Cowboy's Lament
17. What's Become of the Punchers

The cd accompanies the book. Each of the above songs appear in the book. Artist Ron Kil of Santa Fe has provided some fine drawings that complement the songs.


17 Oct 05 - 11:50 PM (#1585056)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: Rex

Howdy! Mark and I are doing a book signing at the Tattered Cover
at Highlands Ranch, Thursday, Oct. 27 at 7:30. We will be making
a racket with fiddles and banjos and showing off our new book on
Jack Thorp and the cowboy songs he rounded up.
Here's more info at the Tattered Cover web site:;jsessionid=a5AJolj-7O1b?s=storeevents&eventId=307332
It's still available through the Museum of New Mexico Press:
And a whole lot of other places. 'Course you can get them from me
directly. We don't show up in Denver often enough, come by if you can.


18 Oct 05 - 10:40 AM (#1585312)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: katlaughing

Oh, the Tattered Cover, bedrock of Free Speech, etc.! That's great, Rex, congratulations.

The dust is finally settling here; your CD and book are on my holiday list. I know we will love it.

Have fun and howabout a booksigning over here in the Banana Belt sometime? I'd love to show you my dad's old fiddle and bow...they're pretty special and it'd just be great to see you PLUS there are folks over here who'd love to hear you, too, imo, esp. the folks at the community radio station, KAFM, which has its own performance hall.:-) (I know it's a long drive.)


18 Oct 05 - 11:25 AM (#1585356)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: katlaughing

Rex, I've just sent an email to KAFM's Music Director urging him to purchase your CD and book.

Others might want to do this with their local radio statements, too.


07 May 06 - 03:48 PM (#1734703)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: Rex

This is partly a message for EJ and the Denver Catters. But to also let you know I have a website now to let folks know where I'll be.
Also visit Mark Gardner's site to learn of the books he's authored.
Saturday, May 20, 7:00 PM
Mark and I will be in concert and signing our new book at the
Hiwan Homestead Museum.
4208 S. Timbervale Dr.
Evergreen, CO 80439
Reservations and a $5 donation to the museum are requested.
Call: 303-674-6262
We have already performed this year in Cody, Colorado Springs and
Santa Fe to name a few. We will appear again in Santa Fe, Albuquerque,
Pueblo, The Royal Gorge and a half dozen times in Colorado Springs
this year. But so far, this is the only time we will perform in the
Denver area. Come see us if you can. Below is further information on our Jack Thorp project. We're sure pleased to have gotten an award from the New Mexico Historical Society and fine review from Thank'ee, - Rex

Mark Gardner and Rex Rideout have been performing the historic music of the American West for 25 years. As "living historians", they recreate the authentic music of the Santa Fe Trail, the battlefields of the Civil War, the cow camps of Colorado, and more. To hear one of their performances is to take a trip back to the days of Stephen Foster, Dan Emmett, and Jack Thorp.

They are the only performers today making a serious attempt to re-create the historic music of the old-time punchers of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. They approached their Jack Thorp book/CD project with the Museum of New Mexico as musicologists, consulting Thorp manuscript materials in several different states and using only documented musical instruments of the period (all instruments dated prior to 1908, some as early as the 1880s) and appropriate playing styles.

Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys (Museum of New Mexico Press, 2005),
is a tribute to the man who was cowboy music's first collector; a
significant contribution to western music history; and an enlightening and entertaining experience for readers and listeners. It includes songs and poems from Thorp's original book printed in 1908 and an expanded 1921 edition, and also a previously uncollected song found in a Thorp manuscript ("Ti Ri Youdy").

The book is edited and introduced by Mark L. Gardner with illustrations by noted western artist and cowboy Ronald Kil, and accompanied by a CD recording performed by Mark and Rex with vintage instruments in the style they would have been heard in Thorp's time. It was recently awarded the New Mexico Historical Society's prestigious Ralph Emerson Twitchell Award for "significant contribution to the field of history.

Be sure to check out's new feature on Mark & Rex's:
Jack Thorp's Songs of the Cowboys

08 May 06 - 12:22 AM (#1735073)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: GUEST,Art Thieme

This is a needed tribute to Jack Thorpe! It is full of good insights into the person he was---and that is much more than I've ever been able to find out about him before before. And it looks more than fine too; it's an impressive work of exceptional graphic design. I do wish it was a bit closer to Christmas because it would be a perfect gift to give someone who needs to have their knowledge of western balladry and folk songs brought up several notches. The CD is respectfully and lovingly done as well. Rex and Mark have managed to keep the vocal and instrumental backup for these fine songs musically right on. By that I mean that they retain the authenticity in their presentations while, at the same time presenting a musical experience that non-initiated listeners can thoroughly enjoy. They put the song first. The tale the song tells is honored and foremost here. ---I think that's just about the way these songs ought to be showcased. The book is not all of the songs in the 1908 one, but it is a very nice sampling from that important volume.


14 Jun 06 - 12:15 PM (#1759881)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: katlaughing

Well-said, Art! I finally was able to get a copy and here is what I wrote to Rex:

"WOW!! I am delighted and very impressed. I had to put aside the way I had grown up hearing some of the songs, as they were a bit different and my ear wanted them to go the more familiar route. But, after I got that out of the way, I was able to really listen to each part and the whole of each song and poem and it is just the Best. (LOVE that piccolo banjo!) I will be posting to the thread about it on the Mudcat and cannot wait to share it at Poetry night at the library.

"My only regret is that my dad is not hear to listen with me. Listening to you sing Little Joe brought out more tears than it usually does because I so wanted him to be here hearing it, too. I think we requested that one from him more than any other when we were growing up...

"Also, I thought at first I saw some old Will James illustrations in it. (I collect his books.) Then I remembered and read about Ronald. I think Will James would have been proud to claim Ronald's works as his own. There is so much action and pure knowledge in them. Just superb."

I would urge anyone who is interested in authentic cowboy songs to buy this CD and book. It is beautifully done, musically, visually, and scholarly. I am quite proud to say I have met and listened to Rex play and honoured he has shared with us at the Mudcat.

Thanks, again, Rex and Mark!


14 Jun 06 - 07:51 PM (#1760231)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Songs
From: GUEST,Art Thieme

I do wish I'd met your dad, Sparky. Thanks so much for the tape of his cowboy songs you sent. I felt like I was listening to one of the collected tapes of Cowboy tunes from the Library Of Congress Archive Of Folk Song--as it used to be called.. And I am sure he and Rex and Mark would've gotten on famously. That would've been a grand old song swap.


15 Jun 06 - 12:10 AM (#1760388)
Subject: RE: Rex has another new CD-Jack Thorpe Cowboy Song
From: katlaughing

Ah, Art, you are so welcome. Thank you, so much. The song swap would have to include you, too, though, esp. your tall tales!

I met an old cowboy, Curley Dunnagan, last night, at the library poetry night, who lives just down the street from me. He sang one of his poems which got turned into a song and I thought of how much I wished you and Rex were there to meet and hear him. He's got a book of poetry out that I am going to send you.

I read a couple of my granddad's cowboy poems and the folks really seemed to like them.

Rex, I took twenty handouts with me, of the info from CDBaby and your home page and when I left they were all gone. I also took your book and CD so that folks could look it over. I hope you hear from some of the folks who were there. They sure were interested.