The music of the cowboy

When the American folk vocal group, The Sons of the Pioneers, went into a recording studio in 1937 and belted out “Blue Juniata” they added fresh voice to what is generally credited as being the first ‘Western’ song. As they sang, fiddled, and strummed their guitars, this American folk vocal group also revitalized a specific… Read More

Beans and the cowboy in Nineteenth Century America

In 1974 Hollywood released the movie Blazing Saddles, directed by flamboyant maverick Mel Brooks, in which the cowboy took centre stage. It became notorious for its repetitive scenes of cowboys breaking wind. While the viewing public loved this movie and remember it fondly, the professional critics were less impressed and preferred to forget it. The… Read More

Chewing tobacco

When Clint Eastwood, as the on-screen fictional outlaw Josey Wales, chews unsmilingly on some tobacco before coolly spitting out the juices, the moviegoer is watching one of the most iconic gestures associated with the cowboy. It is a gesture young white males in parts of the American South East still emulate. Called variously chewing tobacco,… Read More

Blue jeans

The fabric used to make jeans originates from Genoa in Italy, a town which is called ‘Gênes’ in French, and this is therefore believed to be the origin of the name. Jean was a sturdy cotton cloth, first produced in the sixteenth century, which became an important textile for working-class people in Northern Italy. But… Read More

The cowboy hat

The cowboy hat nowadays is an instantly recognisable piece of apparel. High-crowned and wide-brimmed, it is associated with Old West lore and worn by country-western singers and people involved with rodeos as well as anyone who does ranching work or likes to look as if they did. But as with so many things associated with… Read More