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Last update, Oct 20, 2007

Play poem 3:05
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Baxter On Elko
Baxter Black,
Album: Elko, A Cowboy's Gathering
Artist biography

Elko made cowboy poetry, respectable. It put poetry, all poetry on the national stage in a way that even eclipsed the P.S. Elliot's the Robert Services, and the Mia Angeloe's of their day.

It has proven poetry to be a saleable commodity, a condition that no one had ever imagined possible in America.

It has breathed life into the careers of a heard of talented western singers and song writers not to mention thousands of folklorists, theatrical folks, western artists, saddle makers, historians, Louie Lemore lovers, Indians, Australians, Mongolians, film makers and publishers who have hooked up to the oxygen of Elko, and breathed deep.

Well at the center of this beehive, that has become known as the Elko phenomenon and its prolific offspring, is, the cowboy poet.

Rarely treated with the glamor bestowed on the accompanying professional performers with whom he often shares the stage, he's just simply, glad to be there with no idea or hope of a record contract, or a book deal, or a movie part. He or she walked right out of the horse corral, hayfield or cabin barn, right out onto the Elko stage and into the hearts of America. They had a story to tell.

Well the modern American urban audience loved John Wayne and Louie Lamore and Marty Robbins and Clint Eastwood. But they knew they weren't, really cowboys, they were actors. But they loved what they stood for.

Then out of the clear blue coming across the Johnny Carson stage and through the pages of NewsWeek and the Wall Street Journal and People Magazine came, the real thing.

Cowboy Poets, telling real cowboy stories, that were funny and clever but all had the true ring of authenticity. They took the world by surprise, and were welcomed. And it all began in Elko.

They've been coming back to Elko, every January, for twenty years. And on this recording you hear the voices and the stories of good hard working folks who make a living in the cattle business or training horses or roping steers. They come with joy, and anticipation, to tell you their little slice of life out west. And they have no expectation of being famous or even breaking even, they're just pleased that anyone is interested.

And to those of y-all who buy this CD, or come to Elko for the gathering, from all of us who recite or sing or play the fiddle or yes, even yodel, you pay us the highest tribute just by being there. Because that's all most of us really want anyway, is just for, someone to listen.

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