Cowboy Campfire Songs

'Round The Campfire Vinyl Record Memories.
Featuring "Tumbling Tumbleweeds"

Cowboy Campfire Songs came to life after a kind visitor to this site requested I do a section on some of the original cowboy songs.

It's been a while, actually quite a while, since I originally thought about reaching back into my early childhood saddlebags and pull out those Cowboy Songs I remember so well growing up in southern Ohio in the very early 50s.

I recall those early years with vivid images and special memories of those silver screen cowboys and thinking.......maybe I should have been a cowboy too. 

My heros always had the fastest horse, the fanciest shirt, the hardest left hook, a hat that wouldn't fall off even in the darndest fight, and a shoot-em up six gun that never needed reloading.

He was the best of the hard-riding straight shooting, headin'-em-off-at-the-pass, white hatted, white horsed good guy hero of the favorite Saturday afternoon double feature known as the b-western. 

cowboy campfire sunset

So come with me and let's relive those happy childhood days and the cowboy songs and words to all our favorite western classics.

When cowboys like Buck Jones, Johnny Mack Brown, Ken Maynard, Tom Mix, Bob Steele, Roy Rogers and Gene Autry would ride into your favorite Saturday matinee movie theater and you and your buddies could sit around the campfire with your favorite cowboy hero's and sing until the stars fell out.

Remember those bygone days when you could get a ticket, box of popcorn, cold drink and maybe squeeze in a box of milk-duds or good-and-plenty for around fifty cents. Life was good for me and my buddies watching those Saturday afternoon cowboy shows at the Linden theater in Lindenwald, a suburb of Hamilton, Ohio.

Are you ready? Polish up your spurs, Saddle up ole paint and get ready to relive your childhood!

Cowboy Campfire Songs
  "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

Bob Nolan, a co-founder of The Sons of the Pioneers, was without a doubt one of the finest songwriters ever to write Western music, and his classic 1932 composition was "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

Nolan recalled that he first wrote the song about "tumbling leaves," but when it was sung on the group's daily radio show in Hollywood, requests started pouring in for them to "sing about the tumbling weeds."

He took the hint, changed the tune slightly to accommodate the extra syllables and created "Tumbling Tumbleweeds."

Tumbling Tumbleweeds Takes Len Slye
From Singing Star to Movie Star.

Cowboy Classics LP 3032

Those memorable scenes of rollin' tumbleweeds, buckin' broncos and rugged cowboys wouldn't be the same without these Cowboy Classics by the Sons of The Pioneers.

They had made movies with western stars including Gene Autry when a remarkable stroke of fate suddenly deprived them of one of their founding members, Leonard Slye. 

A Warner scout heard him singing the Sons' theme, Tumbling Tumbleweeds, and set about signing him up for a western movie, "Under Western Skies."  Deciding that "Len Slye" was not quite marquee material, the movie moguls went into a huddle and came up with a name better adapted to display in lights. 

You may of heard the name...

Roy Rogers sons of pioneers

In 1937, Leonard Slye took the name Roy Rogers and was forced by his new employers, Republic Pictures, to leave the group. 

The Sons of The Pioneers continued on and would appear in more than a hundred movies. 

They composed and played the musical scores for pictures starring many, including their co-founder and friend, Roy Rogers.

Michael Martin Murphy - Cowboy Songs.

Cowboy Classics II MMM

Michael Martin Murphy is my favorite Cowboy Singer. Listen to him sing some of the very best Cowboy songs ever recorded.

I believe no other individual sings these Cowboy Songs better than Michael Martin Murphy. Just my opinion. 

I have chosen this singing cowboy to do the cover on  my cowboy campfire songs I add to these pages.

His songs are sung in the tradition of the Sons of the Pioneers, with all the heart-felt sincerity of their great songs and their quiet end-of-the-day, round-the-campfire quality. Listening to Michael Martin Murphy sing these amazing "Cowboy Campfire Songs" is a home on the range treat for anyone who understands cowboys and cows.

In Michael's own words....

"I started singing cowboy songs when I was 15 years old around the campfire at Sky Ranch in Lewisville, Texas.  I've managed to live out West and stay on horseback. Give me a good steel-string guitar, a good pony, nights under western stars and a "home on the range" when I'm too old to ride." Excerpts from Michael Martin Murphy, Cowboy Songs album, 1990.

True western songs will pull you into a unique genre and much different than the "Country Western" music of today.  Here is an excellent example of  how true he is to the cowboy way as Murphy shows his singing talent in this cowboy campfire classic, Tumbling Tumbleweeds.

Campfire Songs will carry you into a world of legends, lullabies and longhorn cattle. And for the real cowboy songs listener, what better world could there be?

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