A Lyrical History of the West

western books the hell-bound train cowboy songbook history true west
The everyday lives of working cowboys in ranching and rodeo inspired the late cowboy-singer folklorist Glenn Ohrlin’s life’s work, The Hell-Bound Train: A Cowboy Songbook.

Sure ’nuff cowboy songs and stories from a sure ’nuff cowboy—does it get any better than that? Edited by Charles Seeman, executive director emeritus of the Western Folklife Center in Elko, Nevada, the second edition of Glenn Ohrlin’s long out-of-print The Hell-Bound Train: A Cowboy Songbook (Texas Tech University Press, $24.95), first published in 1973, is a resource on Western cultural history that should be in everyone’s library.

Glenn Ohrlin was a working cowboy, a rodeo cowboy and an amazing cowboy entertainer. Not only does this great book contain the words and music to such classics as “Windy Bill” and “The Sierry Petes,” but Ohrlin tells the stories of where these great cowboy songs came from. This book smacks of real cowboy stuff because a real cowboy and a real character wrote it.

Jim Wilson, singer-songwriter of the album West of Somewhere

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