Track 10      "Song for Olaf"


I wrote this when I was booked to perform at "Olaf Wieghorst Western Heritage Days" in El Cajon, California. It tells how I first learned of Olaf's work. I've always been a fan of Western art and Olaf was one of the best. If you're ever in the San Diego area please stop in and visit the Olaf Wieghorst Museum and Western Heritage Center. You'll be glad you did. Tell them I sent you.


Song for Olaf


When I was just a young man, I went to see John Wayne
In one of his western movies, El Dorado was its name
I sat there in the darkness in silent, stunned, surprise
When I saw those western paintings, behind the titles passin’ by

Scenes of men and horses upon that silver screen
All were painted by a man, whose name I’d never seen
Olaf Wieghorst was the man, that’s what the credits told
The magic in his artful touch was wondrous to behold

Chorus:

Olaf Wieghorst sure knew how to paint, the grandeur of the west
Those of a cowboy on a cow horse are the ones that I love best
Or high upon a canyon ledge where mortals seldom roam
Ridin’ down a rocky trail, leadin’ his packhorse home


In time I came to recognize the paintings I had seen
From research that I did in art books and magazines
15 paintings by a man who knew the west by heart
And how expose its hidden soul, in vivid works of art

Repeat Chorus

40 years have come and gone, and still I feel the same
When those western paintings introduce El Dorado and John Wayne
And though I know each and everyone like the lines upon my face
The joy and thrill of Olaf’s work, time never can erase

Repeat Chorus:

 Olaf Wieghorst sure knew how to paint,
He was the “Dean” of all the best …….


Copyright 2007 Tom Hiatt

Track 6      Thank You from Tom


I wanted to thank people for purchasing my CD so I put this right on the recording. I'd never heard of this being done before so maybe I'm the first. Sort of pushing the envelope I guess. And since you're reading this, thanks for visiting my website !

All components on this website Copyright 2015 Tom Hiatt 

Track 11      "Somethin' Warm and Soft (Wet Biscuits)


I think Marvin must have watched John Wayne in "Red River" right before he wrote some of this. He turned it over to me and I kind of spiced it up a little and it's still one of my favorites. We recorded this "live" in Ramona, California.


Somethin’ Warm and Soft


We’ve been pushin these cows til we’re about to fall out
Of our saddles that are makin us sore
Can’t get much sleep on this rough hard ground
I don’t think I can take much more
We’re gettin close to Dodge City and the end of the trail
This is one cowboy who ain’t sad
Three weary long months since I’ve seen my Darlin
And I really need to hold her bad

CHORUS :

And it’s been tough cowboys and rough ridin and hard leather and deep rivers and
Rank broncs that just want to buck you off
And it’s been stubborn cattle and dust devils and rainy weather and “WET BISCUITS!”
And I’m really needin to feel something warm and soft


The herd stampeded to water when they smelled Red River
And it took em all night to unwind
For a while there we thought we had lost O.D.
But he wandered in the next night
He was dazed from a bad fall he had taken
And we never did find his Roan horse
O. D. ‘lowed as how he thought there for a minute
His life had ‘bout run its course.

REPEAT CHORUS

I love this bein a cowboy but ridin night guard
Sometimes out there all alone
I start in thinking ‘bout that purty young thing
That’s waitin for me back home
I can feel her arms start to slip around me
And smell her perfume in the air
And it’s all I can do not to ride away to her
And leave those waddies all alone out there

REPEAT CHORUS


Copyright 2008 Tom Hiatt / Marvin O'Dell

Track 1     "Appaloosa Moon"


There's a pretty interesting story behind this song. I had been booked to play   Vaquero Days in Descanso, California, in October of 2007 and was staying in El Cajon. I had met Lori Roberts the previous June and she was in the SUV with me on a Sunday driving the short distance from El Cajon to Descanso. I looked off to the northeast and asked about an extremely large gray cloud. She said it looked like a plume of smoke and became very concerned. I told her to look off to the southeast where there was another just like it. The Santa Anna winds were blowing hard from the east. We went on to Descanso and I did the performance. While there we learned of the two large fires that had started to destroy everything in their paths. Lori house had almost burned down 4 years before and most of the homes around hers had been destroyed. She thought we might have to evacuate her horses. I was scheduled to perform in Phoenix on Monday but I decided to stay in case Lori needed help. By Tuesday the fire on the north was really getting close and we trailered her 6 horses into a friend's place in El Cajon. The fires burned all week. They were finally contained but not until the northern one burned almost to the Pacific Ocean and the southern one burned almost into San Diego. We were lucky to be between them. We went to bring the horses back one night and there was a full moon. Most of the smoke had disspated but there were some small black clouds scattered all over the face of the moon. I told Lori to check it out and we both said together, "An appaloosa moon!" I wrote the song a few nlghts later.       

Track 4      "Rustlers Moon"


The idea for this song came to me on a narrow trail under the Mogollon Rim in Northern Arizona. When we reached the top, we rested the horses and I got to thinking what it would it might be like to push a small herd of cows up the same way we had just ridden. A few weeks later I was watching the opening scene  of  "Cahill, US Marshal" with John Wayne and as I put the two ideas together the song seemed to write itself. 


Rustler’s Moon

Under the rim on a high narrow trail,
A small herd of cows strung out nose to tail
6 desperate men on a journey of haste
Keep glancin’ back without a moment to waste
Bed ‘em down here, we’ve come far enough
Who could follow this trail so rocky and rough
You’ll bed ‘em down when I say you can
Shouts back the leader of the outlaw band
At last is reached a small meadow of green
The men gather round to survey the scene


Chorus : It was one of those nights when the wind sings a song
It whistles down the canyon and the tall pines hum along
One of those nights when the wind sings a tune
Of old Arizona and a Rustler’s Moon, Rustlers Moon


Then from out of the shadows comes a voice soft but stern
With guns drawn and ready as one they all turn
Evenin boys, ya all just working late,
Or love your jobs so damn much for sunrise you can’t wait
Ride on in stranger,be ya friend or foe
But if you’re after these cows, this much you should know
There’s no law to back you against us here tonight
And you’re outnumbered 6 to 1 if it comes to a fight

Ah ----------, ah---------, ah---------

The stranger drew back his coat and there pinned to his vest
The moonglow revealed the silver star on his chest
The Ranger’s gun flashed deadly, fire smoke and lead
6 men down upon that ground as the green grass turned red

Repeat Chorus

There’s a lesson in this story not clear to everyone
So watch the lawman closely as he reloads his gun
Into the chambers, not safety’s usual 5
Always load 6 if you wanna survive
Down in Arizona ‘round campfires they still tell
Of the Arizona Ranger and the men he sent to hell


Repeat Chorus


Copyright 1991  Tom Hiatt

This song is based on the above painting of the same name by the great cowboy artist Charlie Russell. I tried to capture the action in the painting in my song. It won the 2011 Academy of Western Artists "Will Rogers Cowboy Award" for best Western Song so I guess I succeeded.

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Ralph Hampton of "Ralph's Backporch" Internet Radio Show says, " 'Appaloosa Moon' is one of the better albums that I've ever heard in my life. I would not only recommend this album to everybody, Tom, I think it's a must have if you like western music."

American Cowboy Magazine, April - May, 2011, says:
"We think Appaloosa Moon (CD) is poised to become 
a modern cowpoke classic." 


Track 2       "Bronc to Breakfast"

Bronc to Breakfast


The stars are quickly fadin, to the east the dawn is breakin
The smell of breakfast cookin’s in the wind
You roll up your bed, with your Stetson on your head
It’s time to earn your wages once again

You wash your breakfast down, sittin cross-legged on the ground
With cowboy coffee that’s hot black and thick
Then you go and swing your loop and it settles like a big ol’ hoop
‘Round the neck of A REAL BAD ONE, who’s orn’ry, mean, and quick

He stands real quiet and still, his big eyes starin’ at ya ‘til,
Ya got your rig upon him and the cinches drawn up tight
Then ya swing on up and straddle that ol’ slick-fork Meana saddle
And go explodin’ up to greet the mornin’ light

Chorus :

Your takin’ a BRONC TO BREAKFAST, you’ll need lots a luck
There’s better ways to start your day than stampedin’ through your chuck
WHEN HORSES TALK WAR, there’s small chance for peace
No chance for arbitration, between man or beast


Ol’ Pete’s on the ground, and ya almost run him down,
As you crash through the bisquits, beans and fire,
And it’s right then you’re a wishin, that this mornin you’d gone fishin
Cause with every jump the cayuse takes the next one’s even higher

And ol’ Cookie draws his knife and he threatens to take your life
If ya don’t remove that horse from his domain
Ya scream “I’m doin my best but it’s anybody’s guess,
How much longer in this saddle I can remain!”

Repeat Chorus

With your horse a screamin in rage you go bouncin or’er the sage
You sigh and say, “It’s gonna be a long September!”
One thing you know is true, when this fall round up’s through
This’ll be one morning ol’ Cookie and the boys
Are sure gonna long remember

Repeat Chorus


Copyright 1995 Tom Hiatt


Track 3      "Only Love He Knows"


This song was written by Jesse Ballantyne, a working cowboy from Sheridan, Wyoming. It was kind of difficult to track him down to get his permission to record this because he was rarely home or near a phone. The isolated ranch he works on is actually over the border in Montana. But we finally connected and I'm glad we did because I feel it's a great song.


Only Love He Knows

Jimmy is a cowboy, it’s all he’s ever known
Rides an old Visalia some Vaquero might have owned
He works the northern ranges when the summer grass grows tall
Gone to California when the snows begin to fall

Chorus:
And he knows a girl, who lives in Denver,
And her letters follow him where he goes
She’d like to settle him down, but will she ever
The cowboy life is the only love he knows


Rojas is his hero, Charlie Russell his heart’s delight
Loves to bed down in the sage and watch the stars at night
Campfire light and talking and singin at the moon
When these days are over they’ll be over far too soon

Repeat Chorus

Bridge:
The dream is strong so he hangs on
To the ways from the days long gone
He is like the wind, passin through again
All he needs is freedom and a friend

Repeat Chorus


Copyright 2003  Jesse Ballantyne

Track 7      "The Ballad of Wild Bill"


Marvin O'Dell wrote a lot of this and then turned it over to me to finish off. It was written at the request of Buck Montgomery for a stage play called "A Night in Deadwood" and was presented as part of one of Buck's "Wild Western Festival" that he presents in the Phoenix area each year. The premise of the play was that it was supposed to be a variety show in one of the Deadwood saloons in the 1870's. The featured entertainers in the play were some of the "headline" acts performing at his festival that year. Sourdough Slim, Dave Bourne, Bill Barwick, gun twirling Pistol Packin' Paula and myself were all there in the "saloon."  I sat silently in the low light atmosphere until a dramatic occurrence.The folks in the theater were all in a jovial mood after watching Sourdough Slim do his funny, funny routine. Suddenly, a man rushed up behind a long haired gunfighter playing poker at one of the tables and fired at gun at the back of his head. The flame from the gun, in the low lights, seemed 15 inches long. The poker player slumped forward on the table. We had never rehearsed the actual firing of the pistol and I think everyone was stunned for a moment. It was completely unexpected. The audience audibly gasped. You could have heard a pin drop that night. I silently stood up with my guitar, a spotlight lit me and I sang this song. It was one of the most riveting stage moments I have ever experienced in my 40 years of performing,


The Ballad of Wild Bill

No one really knows, why they called him Wild Bill
Ladies said to catch a glimpse of him was quite a thrill
With his long blonde hair, ruffled shirts, standin’ six foot two
A dashin’ handsome figure of a man with eyes of cold steel blue.

In 1865 the west was wild, untamed and free
Every mother’s son could use a gun and brother so could he
In a town square Bill was called out by a gambler named Dave Tutt
Tutt fired and missed, Bill’s aim was true, the gambler never got up.

CHORUS :

But Wild Bill should have played his last hand with his back against the wall
Shot from behind by that rotten scoundrel Jack McCall
Bill’s ivory handled Colts are silent as they hang there in the hall
Wild Bill should have played his last hand with his back against the wall


Bill tamed Hays City, Kansas in 1869
When the place became too quiet for him he decided to resign
Got on his horse and rode off to the town of Abilene
Trail - herdin Texas cowboys made it the worst he’d ever seen


I tell ya boys it ain’t easy tryin to enforce the law
There’s always someone thinking he’s good enough to beat your draw
Phil Coe and Bill stood face to face, Phil left this world too soon
When Bill shot him down that night outside the Alamo Saloon.

Repeat CHORUS :

Deadwood of ’76 in the Black Hills of Dakota
You could always find a game of cards and a purty gal to hold ya
One hot August day Bill strolled into the Number 10 saloon
Sat in on a game of cards in the center of the room

Bill never played a game of cards with his back turned toward the door
But there was only one chair empty when he mosey’d cross the floor
Bill’s luck was runnin bad until he drew two aces and two eights
If his luck was finally changin’, it was changin’ way too late.

Repeat CHORUS :

Copyright 2006 Tom Hiatt / Marvin O'Dell

Track 8      "Doggone Cowboy"


This was first recorded by Marty Robbins back in the 60's and it was written by Joe Babcock. It's been one of my favorites for many years. I believe Joe is still performing in a trio with his wife and daughter as Cowboy Joe and the Babcocks.

Copyright 2008 Tom Hiatt

Track 5      "Grandpa, Run Cheyenne"

                                                                                    (Let Cheyenne Run)

This was written by Art, Alton, and Sharon Corey. I had to revise it some to make it a "little more cowboy" but I really like the way it turned out. It addresses well the plight of the modern day family rancher. The song "Last Buckaroo" on my CD "Goodnight From Texas" is kind of a companion piece for this idea. 


Grandpa Run Cheyenne


There’s a lonesome cowboy ridin’ on a dark Montana range
His sun is declinin’ as all the seasons change
His Grandpa used to ride this land on a big horse called Cheyenne
But the cowboy knows those bygone days have blown away like grains of sand

There once were spirit voices that echoed through these hills
Sang of warriors, buffalo, but now their song is still
The cowboy hears a distant call, a cold and empty whine
Out on the plains it’s just the voice of a giant steel combine


Chorus: When Grandpa let ol’ Cheyenne run he swore that horse could fly
Back when the open prairie was as endless as the sky
The cowboy looks across the range where once the big horse ran
And tonight once more he’d love to see his Grandpa run Cheyenne
Grandpa run Cheyenne


There’s a haunted line shack waitin once he gathers in them strays
He’ll think of long forgotten cowboys who passed their nights this way
The ranchers that he used to know had to sell out long ago
To companies that sub-divide or strip the land for coal


Repeat chorus


There’s a lonesome cowboy ridin’ on a dark Montana range
His sun is declinin’ as all the seasons change
But the cowboy knows he’ll never let go of his favorite memory
A white haired ol’ man on a big ol’ horse when the west was wild and free


Repeat Chorus


Copyright 2005 Sharomar Music Publishing 

Appaloosa Moon

Been a driftin cowboy nearly all of my days
Never thought I’d ever, change my wan’drin ways
Never ever take a woman for to be my wife
Gonna be a lone cowboy for the rest of my life
Met a green eyed girl down, San Diego way
And her warm soft body made me want to stay
But I said goodby and, it was none too soon
One summer California night, ‘neath an Appaloosa Moon

Chorus : Ol’ Appaloosa Moon in a cloudy night sky
Light up my trail as, your clouds drift by
I won’t change my ways, I won’t change my tune
Almost fell under her spell, ‘neath an Appaloosa Moon


Didn’t take too long for, me to realize
Couldn’t keep my thoughts away, from her evergreen eyes
Or the glowin’ warmth of, her gentle women’s touch
Never ever had a memory, matter quite so much


Chorus : Ol’ Appaloosa Moon in a cloudy night sky
Light up my trail as, your clouds drift by
Might change my ways, I might change my tune
Might ‘a fell under her spell, ‘neath an Appaloosa Moon

Bridge:

Now every man has, a choice to make
When his trail divides, which path should he take


Got a lonesome feelin, that I can’t deny
Won’t let me be and, I know the reason why
She owns my heart now, what can I say
Headin my pony back down the trail, San Diego way

Chorus: Ol’ Appaloosa Moon in a cloudy night sky
Light up my trail as, your clouds drift by
Gonna change my ways, gonna change my tune
Know I fell, under her spell, ‘neath an Appaloosa Moon
Know well I fell, under her spell, ‘neath an Appaloosa Moon




Stories Behind the Songs and Lyrics   

Track 9      "The Wild P Bar"


This was written about a ranch that some friends of mine ran back in the early to mid 90's that was south of Prescott, Arizona. I used to help them gather in the spring and fall when I was available. It was some tough work in a tough land. The Bradshaw Mountains are some of the roughest around. You were lucky if you could even see a cow or her calf in the thick scrub oak or manzanita that cover the steep slopes.


The Wild P Bar

Let me tell ya ‘bout a ranch that I know well
Where the winters are cold and the summers are hell
From the stands of the Ponderosa to the Prickly Pear
Where the thorn trees growin’ in the deep ravines
Pierce the leggings that cover your jeans
‘Til ya feel that your ridin’ circle in your underwear

Mesquite, Manzanita, and the scrub oak grow
So dang thick and too dang low
It’s a bramble wall your horse just can’t break through
And the cows that are standin on the other side
Know ya can’t catch’em if you can’t ride
As a cowboy there ain’t much that you can’t do
Except ride through…….

CHORUS: And of all the ranches all over the west
The name of this spread is easy to guess
For cowboys near and far… It’s the Wild P Bar

My pal Neil Abbott is the foreman there
He can tell stories that’ll curl your hair
A better all around cowboy you’ll not find
His wife Mary is a real top hand
She can cook, she can ride, she can rope and brand
Real aces for sure, don’t ya know they’re two of a kind
They fit the P Bar fine….

Repeat Chorus

Maverick Mountain is the place to be
To ride some real Arizona cow country
Carry a good luck charm but don’t push your luck too far
If ya end up covered in cactus spines
Or break your neck in some abandoned mine
Let me tell ya Pard you’ll know just where you are
You’re on the Wild P Bar…..

Repeat Chorus


Copyright 1994 Tom Hiatt

As of Winter Quarter 2010,
"Appaloosa Moon" was #1 on the WMA Chart for radio airplays. Barb Richhart, of KSJD-FM  Mancos, Colorado, says, 
"I and the listeners are very, very impressed. I believe this to be a 'classic for our time.' "

 

  • Appaloosa Moon1:03
  • Bronc to Breakfast1:03
  • Only Love He Knows1:07
  • Rustler's Moon1:13
  • Grandpa, Run Cheyenne1:03
  • Thank You from Tom0:32
  • The Ballad of Wild Bill0:55
  • Doggone Cowboy1:02
  • The Wild P Bar1:00
  • Song for Olaf1:02
  • Somethin' Warm and Soft1:03