The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991

Book Revzews

elsewhere (at least, not in these versions). Logsdon has grouped the
songs under cowboy themes and "Other Songs Cowboys Sing," empha-
sizing that many of these songs come from other regions and occupa-
tions. Annotations for each song include variant titles, background and
sources, music and text, relevant field collections and manuscripts,
published references, and recordings. Surrounding the main text are
additional chapters lending depth and utility to the song collection. Six
cowboy informants who contributed material are profiled in an early
chapter. The author's discussion of how they learned the songs and
then transmitted them to him nicely illustrates the cultural process un-
derlying bawdy ballads and cowboy songs in general. The serious stu-
dent of folklore will also appreciate "A Singing Cowboy Roundup," a
sixty-page essay ranging over the history of cowboy culture in Ameri-
can society, the role of collectors, publications, and the popular media,
social issues surrounding bawdy song and verse, and phonograph re-
cordings. A glossary of cowboy terms and an extensive bibliography
and index further enhance the reference value of this collection.
While modern sensibilities might recoil at the rampant misogyny in
some of the songs, the author makes no apology for their content. In-
deed, he points out that both men and women have contributed to
their creation and preservation; the book seeks only to record the
truth. Some of the texts really are witty, nonetheless. Logsdon explains
past resistance to publish cowboy "bawdry," but argues convincingly for
its exposure now in all its raw vitality. These songs are a key to under-
standing the working cowboy. Their publication addresses a long-
neglected part of his legacy in a readable, informative, and scholarly
work, of interest to lay enthusiasts as well as professionals in the field.
Barker Texas Hzstory Center, JOHN WHEAT
Universzty of Texas at Austin
Great Plains. By Ian Frazier. (New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux,
Inc., 1989. Pp. 291. Photographs, notes, maps, index. $17.95.)
Throughout their history the Great Plains have had a number of
perceptive chroniclers--Francis Parkman, Walter Prescott Webb, and
J. Frank Dobie, to name a few. Now Ian Frazier makes bold to join these
literate ranks with a narrative more personal than those of his prede-
cessors but similarly informative and entertaining. Frazier, an east-
erner, seems attracted to the plains for both personal and aesthetic rea-
sons. Exploring the plains, as he has done off and on for the past de-
cade or so, covering the stretch from Texas to Montana three times and
piling up over 25,000 miles in the process, has been a way for him to

495

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 94, July 1990 - April, 1991. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101214/. Accessed July 25, 2014.