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Riders in the Sky

Xmas the Cowboy Way – 1999 (Rounder)

Reviewed by Brian Wahlert

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CDs by Riders in the Sky

The Riders in the Sky have always been a loopy band, and this album is no exception. Songs like "The Prairie Dog Christmas Ball" and "Sidemeat's Christmas Stew," in which one of the Riders puts together a nasty sounding concoction and feeds it to the others, will likely appeal more to small children than to adults.

One of the most entertaining songs for young and old alike, however, is "Let It Snow / The Last Christmas Medley You'll Ever Need to Hear." The Riders assert that every Christmas song is derived from "Let It Snow" and then proceed to prove their point with a medley that incorporates many other songs into its melody. In "The Twelve Days of Cowboy Christmas," the Riders' take on a traditional Christmas song, the gifts include eleven dogies lowin' and nine weeds a-tumblin'. The Riders also perform a few traditional songs, like "The Friendly Beasts" and "I'll Be Home for Christmas." This is not serious music, and it's far from a Christmas classic, but it's entertaining for a listen or two.