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Michael Martin Murphey

The Horse Legends – 1997 (Warner Western)

Reviewed by Paula Williams

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CDs by Michael Martin Murphey

In 1977, a young child plays with toy horses and reads the Black Beauty books, all to the soundtrack of songs like Michael Martin Murphey's "Wildfire," Dan Fogelberg's "Run for the Roses" and Gordon Lightfoot's "The Pony Man"on her mother's turntable. Twenty years later, those songs again enter her life, this time on her own CD player. But how ironic that although the subject matter is most applicable to the cowboy genre Murphey's spent the past several years recording (in fact, this was available to American Quarterhorse Association members a year before its national release), musically the record is most like his pop days and hits like "Wildfire." Not even Johnny Cash's guest appearance on his "Tennessee Stud" takes away from the feel of the record.

This is good, though, in that it helps Murphey to achieve what he's set out to do: bring cowboy music to wider audiences, and celebrate the mysterious animal that is the horse, whether it be with cowboys, racers, or that little girl who dreamed of ponies.