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Black Texicans Balladeers and Songsters of the Texas Frontier Rounder, 1999 CD 182I, $15.00 Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls Rounder, 1999 CD I 5 12, $15.00 Whüe coUecting Texas cowboy songs in 1942 the folklorist John Lomax asked one old cowpoke if he thought it was bad luck to be born somewhere other than Texas. "Not bad luck, but misfortune," came the response. These two cds of historic Texas material provide a glimpse at what nonnatives have been missing. Though it does include some Alabamians, Black Texicans focuses attention on a broad range ofeast Texas talent. The selections include a spectrum ofmaterial, including "eephing," work songs, cattle caUs, play party songs, blues, square dance caUs, and rags. Recorded in the field byJohn and Alan Lomax during the 1930s, the twenty-nine cuts include numerous memorable performances, many of them in the state's prisons where the work song tradition was stül strong. The liner notes provide informative commentary on each ofthe performers. HoUywood's "singing cowboys" have left us a pleasant musical legacy, but one almost whoUy divorced from the music sung in the cowboys' heyday. Cowboy Songs, Ballads, and Cattle Calls features real-Ufe cowboys singing the songs and cattie caUs diat once kept themselves and their herds company on the Texas range. The cowboy song enthusiastJohn Lomax recorded these singers in the 1930s and 1940s, thereby preserving some of the last remnants of a thriving musical tradition . A handsome and informative booklet, as weU as songs Uke the cautionary tale "The Cowboy's Life is a Very Dreary Life" and the humorous "The Zebra Dun," strip the romanticism from the catdemen's work but also make clear why so many stayed on despite the hardships. 94 southern cultures, Winter1999 : GavinJames CampbeU ...