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For A Cowboy Has To Sing
By Joe Bob Tinsley
University of Central Florida Press
1991
314 Pages
ISBN:  0-8130-1052-7

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Many of the cowboy songs most famililar to us were written while the composer straddled a piano bench, not a horse. To those musicians, "out west" meant Hollywood, and the starry skies above shone on Tin Pan Alley.

For a Cowboy Has To Sing tells the stories of popular standards from the golden era of western music, the firty years that began in 1905. "The Last Round-Up", "Tumbling Tumbleweeds", "Cool Water", "Don't Fence Me In" - author Jim Bob Tinsley has sung and studied them all.

The original sheet music for sixty songs is reproduced in this volume, complete with words, musical tablature, and color facsimiles of the sheet music covers and each composer's photograph.

Jim Bob, who has been a working cowboy in Arizona and Florida has spent nearly half a century performing, collecting, and preserving cowboy music. His singing career began on WWNC radio in Asheville, North Carolina, in 1935. He performed with a number of radio and movie stars in the 1940s, including Gene Autry, and sang, "You Are My Sunshine" in an impromptu duet with Sir Winston Churchill during the Casablanca Conference in North Africa in January 1943. He has appeared at the Grand Ole Opry and was the second inductee into the National Cowboy Song and Poetry Hall of Fame.

This work is a companion to his earlier classic, "He Was Singin' This Song", which tells the stories of traditional cowboy songs that evolved out of the oral tradition.

Tinsley is the author of many works on southern and western subjects, including the recently published Florida Cow Hunter: The Life and Times of Bone Mizell (University of Central Florida Press, 1990).