Slim Critchlow, Cowboy Songs: Crooked Trail Holbrook

John Morthland

By John Morthland

on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Cowboy Songs The Crooked Trail To Holbrook

Slim Critchlow

Forget what you know from Gene Autry. Real cowboy music from the 19th century, as opposed to the Hollywood variety, is essentially work songs, long on details of a difficult job and short on frolics with honey-haired lasses. The lanky Critchlow, a Utah national park ranger when he began performing on the radio in the '20s, is the real deal. With his warm, virile voice and facile eight-string guitar work, he basically sticks to traditional interpretations of traditional songs like "Buffalo Skinners" on these 1959-63 recordings. He also offers one of the more affecting versions of the odd (the lyrics are almost Victorian) and delightful "I'd Like to Be in Texas (For the Roundup in the Spring)."