The Music of the Wild West

produced by John McEuen,Varese Sarabande Records, Studio City, Calif., 2007, $13.98.

One of the best things about the 1993 10-hour documentary series The Wild West was the award-winning music produced by John McEuen. Now that music—including such unforgettable classics as “Buffalo Gals,” “Home on the Range,” “Shenandoah,” “Dreary Black Hills” and “Goodbye, Old Paint”—is available for repeated listening pleasure. Such musical legends as Crystal Gale, Michael Martin Murphy, Don Edwards and Red Stegall contribute to a rousing album that captures the spirit of the real frontier.

McEuen, a founding member of The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, performs on nearly half of these songs. They bring to mind all the important Western players from the 7th Cavalry (“Gary Owens”) and buffalo soliers (“Camptown Races”) to the outlaws (“Cole Younger” and “Jesse James”) to the hard-luck cowboys (“Ballad of Nate Champion” and “Little Joe the Cowboy”) to the railroad men (“Paddy Works on the Railway”) and miners (“Drill, Ye Terriers, Drill”). And what song has ever been so anti-establishment as “Good Old Rebel”?


Originally published in the February 2008 issue of Wild West. To subscribe, click here