Saturday, March 7, 2009

Johnny Baker : The Rodeo In The Sky

Johnny Baker
The Rodeo In The Sky
Rite # 35553/4
Written and recorded by Johnny Baker
Rt. 2, Edwards, Missouri 65326

In the 1950s, bronc rider Johnny Baker became the first musician to dedicate his career solely to rodeo music. Baker eventually wrote, produced, recorded, and marketed at least four rodeo albums, Songs of the Rodeo (Audio Arts, 1964), Let’er Buck (FF&S, 1965), Rodeoin’ with Johnny Baker (1966), and The Rodeo in the Sky (1974). These obscure albums exploite the bronc-buster motif in such songs as « Son, Don’t Ride the Buckin’ Bronco, » « Ballad of Billy the Bull Rider, » and « Don’t Hang off the Side. » Baker expanded the rodeo-music genre, exploring the mystique of non-roughstock events, the nomadic lifestyle of rodeo men, their view of animals, and their shifting attitudes toward women. Songs like « Rodeo Widow », « Small Town Show, » « Timed Event Blues, » « Microphone Bandit, » and « Easy Rider » are based on the oral traditions and taletypes in which Baker was himself immersed during his rodeo-cowboy years. These songs greatly expanded the number of themes available to future rodeo-music artists.

[Michael Allen, Rodeo cowboys in the North American Imagination, book]

Note : This is not Johnny Baker, the Cowboy Kid, of the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show fame.


  1. I heard his songs in the 70's

  2. I was looking to find the songs here online so I don't have to dig out my old cassettes.

  3. the song that sticks in my mind is a song that goes like this,

    give me my spurs and saddle
    give me a better pal
    give me this life forever
    give me a western gal