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Singing in the Saddle


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About the Author

Douglas B. Green is a music historian and performer. As Ranger Doug (the Idol of America Youth), he founded Riders in The Sky, the premier western music group of the modern era


These two books explore the Western film genre, which is almost as old as the movie medium itself. In Cowboy, George-Warren (How the West Was Worn) offers a loving, well-illustrated tribute to the Western and its lore, from dime novels to Stetson hats. As the author points out, the connection between the Hollywood Western and reality was often a bit tenuous. Cowgirls, singing cowboys, and matinee idols (including unlikely figures like Cagney and Bogart) may have ruled the box office, but directors like John Ford, Howard Hawks, and Anthony Mann brought mythmaking, spectacle, and hard-edged realism to the genre. Westerns peaked in popularity in the 1950s and 1960s and have rarely appeared since on television or at the multiplex. Cowboy certainly doesn't break any new ground, but George-Warren provides a glimpse of what we have lost, and public library patrons are likely to enjoy the nostalgic text and pictures. Music historian Green, also a member of Western swing group Riders in the Sky, resurrects a nearly forgotten era in his thorough history of the singing cowboy. Singing cowboys were numerous, but only a few, notably Gene Autry, Roy Rogers, and Tex Ritter, achieved lasting success. However, as the author notes, even after Hollywood lost interest, singing cowboys influenced country music and regional television. Singing cowboys have enjoyed a modest revival on stage and records in recent years, though it seems the tradition in Hollywood has ridden into the sunset permanently. Cowboy is recommended for all public libraries, while Singing should find a place in large country music and film collections.-Stephen Rees, Levittown Regional Lib., PA Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

A lively account of the singing cowboy as both a show-business phenomenon and an icon of American popular culture.
--Los Angeles Times Book Review
Green is a country music scholar who along the way became Ranger Doug of the group Riders In The Sky--stars of stage, radio, TV and lately of the Toy Story movies. He displays his writer side here with a thorough and entertaining study of the singing cowboy.
--Chet Flippo, CMT.com

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