Hombres de Campo $15
1. Tonight We Ride
Tom Russell, Frontera Music
- Auction Barn Cafe
Poem by Don Cadden
- Sam & Katy
Words by Ben & Sharman Crane
Music and chorus by Don Cadden
- Christmas 1952
Poem by Don Cadden
Music and words by Don Cadden
- Breakfast With Pete
Poem by Don Cadden
- Gringo Pistolero
Tim Henderson, Snake Hollow Publishing
- The Texan
- Texan Pride
Poem by Don Cadden
- Old Cow Man
Words by Charles Badger Clark
Music by Don Edwards, Night Horse Songs
- Truly Good Friend
Poem by Don Cadden
- Ballad of Ernesto Galvan
Music and words byDon Cadden
Copywrite, 2011 Don Cadden
The term Hombres de Campo literally translates to men of the countryside, but it has a much broader meaning to cowboys and vaqueros. It denotes men who are of the land, men who understand the unwritten language of nature, men who look you in the eye and know what you’re made of. This album is dedicated to that breed of men and women.
When I first heard Tom Russell sing Tonight We Ride, I immediately had an image of some of the men I’ve been lucky enough to spend time ahorseback with in West Texas. If they’d ridden during the glory days of Pancho Villa, they would probably have lived this song. Some of them are pictured on the cover of this album in a photo taken during the fall works at Apache Adams’ ranch. You can ride the river with these boys.
In 2000, two friends and I went to South Dakota to hunt elk. We stayed with a fellow we had hunted with before, and after a successful hunt, spent a couple of days helping him work cattle. We would have breakfast every morning way before daylight down at the cafe in the local cattle auction barn. When we’d arrive, there would already be a group of local men playing cards and drinking coffee. It reminded me of dozens of other cafes across the west where I’d seen the same thing. One morning we got in the truck headed for the ranch; I grabbed a piece of paper, and wrote The Auction Barn Cafe.
My wife Pam, and I heard Ben and Sharman Crane sing Sam & Katy when I was performing at the Alberta Cowboy Poetry Gathering in 1992. Pam loved the song, and ask me to put it on this album. I had forgotten the melody and chords, so I put it to new music. It didn’t have a chorus, so I added one; and Jill Jones, Janice and Elliott Rogers bring it to life with their harmonies. To me, this song tells the real story of the lives and values of people in the west.
I consider it one of my true blessing in life to have had grandparents who lived off the land. My grandpa, John O’Neill, was certainly an hombre de campo, who did his work with horses and mules. He and my grandmother raised 8 kids in a small country home with no running water, no indoor plumbing, and a wood stove for cooking and heating. They never owned a car. I have wonderful memories of those days, and especially the Christmases spent with them in South Texas. Hopefully Christmas 1952 will take you back there…or maybe to a special place in your memory.
Apache is a song I wrote about my good friend Apache Adams. I’ve recently published a book about his life and his incredible horseback adventures titled, Tied Hard and Fast. He’s done everything mentioned in the song and the book, and is considered a living legend in the Big Bend country. Talk about an hombre de campo!
Another sure-nuf hombre is a little Mexican fellow named Pete, who has helped Apache on his ranches for many years. One cold drizzly morning, Apache and I pulled up in front of Pete’s house on the ranch, and there, still-wriggling, was a skinned out rattlesnake (cascabel) hanging from his front porch. I knew there was a poem there, but it was several months later when Apache was following me down I-10 early one morning…both of us pulling trailers, headed to pick up some cattle…that it finally came to me. I wrote Breakfast With Pete using the middle of the steering wheel and a scrap of paper with the cruise set on 80. (Not too smart.) When we stopped for gas, Apache asked me if I was drunk or just going to sleep driving. I said I was writing a poem, and he just shook his head and walked back to his truck.
My friend and amazing songwriter, Tim Henderson, wrote Gringo Pistolero. I’ve sung it for years, and thought it was a perfect fit for this album. It all unfolds across the Big Bend, and just grabs ahold of you. Chico Cano was a real-life character who was a well known bandito, crossing in and out of Mexico and stealing from both sides in the early 1900’s. Javier Chapparo’s violin adds just the right touch of intrigue to the song. In my mind, I see the whole story happening below, with a gypsy in a wagon on the mountain above playing his violin!!!
My old friend and talented songwriter, Bob Campbell, just nailed my feelings about the old movie cowboys we grew up with in his song The Texan. We learned the values of honesty, chivalry, patriotism, and trying to do the right thing from our heros of the big and small screens. Kids now learn disrespect, “attitude”, cynicism, distrust, and dark violence from movies and TV. Recon it makes a difference?
My friend since 3rd grade, Terry Boothe, has a big Texas Independence Day party every year. He called and asked me to write something for the event several years ago, and Texan Pride was the result. I was born in Gonzales, where the first shot of the Texas revolution was fired, and have always been Texan to the core. I hope the poem makes you proud, and reminds you of the things we have to be thankful for as sons and daughters of Texas.
The Old Cow Man is a poem written many years ago by Badger Clark. Don Edwards added the music, and made it a wonderful song. We forget what a huge change it was when fences came to the west. Old cowboys could ride from South Texas to Montana without opening a gate…then came the wire.
You may have many friends through the years, but very few that you can call a Truly Good Friend. Jerry White was one of those to me and to dozens of other people. He was just special, and although he wasn’t a cowboy, he was one of the true hombres de campo I’ve known. He taught me more about the land, hunting, fishing and about always doing things the best you can, than anyone in my life. When cancer came out of nowhere and took him from us in 2010, I wrote this poem for his service. I sincerely hope every one of you has a friend like this in your life.
I included The Ballad of Ernesto Galvan on this album, even though I’ve recorded it before. “Nesto” was the definition of hombre de campo. He lived by nature’s laws, and rode the unforgiving brasada of South Texas all his life. He made good horses, and he loved riding that country and roping wild cattle. It was really special recording this in the studio with Jill, Elliott, and Janice belting out harmonies, and with my good friend,Thomas Chapmond adding his mandolin. I hope Ernesto is smiling, rolling a cigarette, and watching over God’s cattle in his new pickup truck.
Cowcamps & Cantinas $15
This CD is a compilation of two early cassettes I recorded. It includes :
Cowboy’s Song – Roy Robinson
Lil’ Ol’ Wall Eyed Bay – Bruce Kiskaddon
If Old Hats Could Talk – Poem by Don Cadden
When The Roses Bloom Next Spring – Fletcher Jowers
Where The Ponies Come To Drink – Henry H. Knibbs
Ride Cowboy Ride – Rex Allen, Jr.
Old Double Diamond – Gary McMahan
Laska – Poem by Frank Deprez (Performed by Joel Nelson)
Border Affair – Badger Clark
El Rancho Grande – Performed by Diana Salinas & Don Cadden
Ballad of Ernesto Galvan – Don Cadden
Texas Boy – Don Cadden
Sadie The Mule – Don Cadden
It Ain’t Texas Anymore – Don Cadden
Old Time Texas Cowboy – Don Cadden
The Lesson – Poem by Don Cadden
Round Up In The Spring – Public Domain
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