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Round 'Em Up!

Cowboy.  [Online Image]  Available http://www.nara.gov/nara/nn/nns/west103.jpg, June 17, 2001.

Cowboys led dangerous and exciting lives.  They had to work in rain or shine, snow or heat.  There was always the danger of being thrown from the horse, bitten by a snake, attacked by a wild animal, or shot by a rustler.  Cowboys had to know how to rope, ride, heard, and brand cattle.  They had to work even if they were sick or tired.  Cowboys had songs for all occasions.

Git Along, Little Dogies

Cattle would be driven by cowboys to ranches in Wyoming, Montana, and the Dakotas. A dogie is a young calf that has been separated from its mother.

Good-bye, Old Paint

A paint is a spotted horse.     

Home on the Range

This song tells why the cowboys loved their work so much.  It's also the official state song of Kansas.  

I Ride an Old Paint

A paint is a spotted horse.  A dam is the mother of a baby horse, called a foalThrow the hoolihan means to rope a steer and wrestle it to the ground. A coulee is a ravine.  A draw drains water after a hard rain from the ravine.  Fiery is spirited and snuffy is disagreeable.   

My Home's In Montana

This song talks about the life of the cowboy working the ranges.  A range is open land that cattle would graze on.

Old Texas

The lives of cowboys changed when farmers and ranchers were allowed to build fences on the open ranges.  

Streets of Laredo

Cowboys would sometimes get into trouble.  A few were killed in gunfights, like the cowboy in this ballad.  A ballad tells a story.
 

Aaron Copland (1900-1990) is one of America's greatest composers.  Many people think he came from the West because he used American cowboy songs in many of his pieces.  Listen to  Hoedown (a hoedown is a lively square dance).

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