Peter La Farge – Sings Of The Cowboys

Well if you are like me and consider yourself a bedroom cowboy, then you’re gonna need a helpful record such as this to get your cattle calls up to scratch.  Luckily this record comes will everything you need to get your cowpoke game down.

This was released on Folkways in 1964 and in true Folkways style you basically get the thick cardboard cover (with extra card inside so that it really won’t bend?) and an elaborate instructional booklet to go with the record.  The liner notes have a nifty biography on La Farge, an introduction to the album written by the artist, a little story about the history of each of the songs and the meaning they have to La Farge and then the lyrics to every Cowboy, Ranch, Rodeo and Cattle Call song you are about to listen to.  Cool.  The cover photo is actually a shot of La Farge riding rodeo which he did competitvely up until 1960.

If you didn’t know already, Peter La Farge was a Native American folk singer who hung out with the likes of Josh White, Big Bill Broonzy and Cisco Houston from the late 40’s through.  This is the only LP of his I have and I have to say that unfortunatley like a lot of that 50’s folk stuff, it hasn’t really aged well and is at times pretty hard to listen to, but this is probably more because of the subject matter b/w a monotone vocal and I expect some of his other LPs that are made up of his own material will probably be stronger.  La Farge doesn’t seem to get mentioned as much as some of his contemporaries anymore and probably is best known as the writer of “The Ballad Of Ira Hayes” that Johnny Cash had a big hit with. Some of this can probably be attributed to his basic sound (rudimentary guitar chords with a monotonous vocal) at a time when folk music was changing it’s aesthetics somewhat and his focus on the Native American plight rather than the buzz topics of the time civil rights and Vietnam.  Whatever the reason, he was dead before he turned 34 and left only a handful of LPs, a bit of a shame really.  Whoopie Tai Yo!.

 By the way I almost forgot to say that the best track is the last one where La Farge just calls out a bunch of cattle calls for a couple minutes, classic.

 Peter LaFarge – Cattle Calls.mp3

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