In the extensive and incredibly informative 40-page booklet that accompanies Dom Flemons latest album ‘Black Cowboys’ (Smithsonian Folkways), on which he pays tribute to the music, culture, and the complex history of the golden era of the Wild West.
Musicians Brian Farrow and Dante Pope join Flemons in re-creations of images of iconic black cowboys accompanying two tracks including “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” The liner notes for the song (also Song of the Day) explain: “Going Down the Road Feelin’ Bad” is a favorite of the old-time string bands. Square dance music was a big part of the cowboy’s life on the range when the instruments and the players were available. In an article written for the Saturday Evening Post in 1925, Will C. Barnes explained, “In the early days of the open range, with plenty of open saloons, every drinking place had a singer or two to attract customers and liven up matters. Often they were women who sang in shrill, quavery voices, some highly sentimental, some sacred and many vulgar. The most satisfactory of these saloon singers were colored men, mostly from Texas, who played guitars, banjos or the violin, and sometimes possessed really musical voices. These singers did much toward keeping up the range songs and spreading them through the cow country.”
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