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Riders In The Sky

Beginning each performance with their trademark greeting, "Mighty fine and a great big Western 'Howdy,' all you buckaroos and buckarettes," Riders in the Sky simultaneously paid tribute to and poked gentle fun at the classic cowboy songs of the 1930s and '40s, particularly the work of the Sons of the Pioneers, Roy Rogers, and Gene Autry. During the '80s and '90s, the group was notable for its ability to attract fans both firmly within the country tradition (the Riders are members of the Grand Ole Opry) and outside of it. Riders in the Sky are made up of lead singer Ranger Doug (born Douglas B. Green), Woody Paul (born Paul Chrisman) on fiddle and vocals, Too Slim (string bass and guitar), and since the mid-'90s, "Cowpolka King" Joey Miskulin on accordion.

Before forming the band, the Michigan-born Ranger Doug was a member of Bill Monroe's Bluegrass Boys and was also a country music journalist, working at the Country Music Foundation Press as editor of The Journal of Country Music. Prior to joining the Riders, Woody Paul, a formidable swing fiddler, played with Loggins & Messina, and Too Slim was a member of Dickey Lee's band in addition to being a songwriter. The trio formed in the mid-'70s, playing a weekly gig at a Nashville nightclub that led to a slot on Tumbleweed Theater on cable television's Nashville Network (TNN).

Riders in the Sky made their recording debut in 1979 on the Rounder label with Three on the Trail, which set the pattern for their mix of classic and newly composed sentimental western numbers, parodies (like "The Legend of Palindrome," in which a figure resembling television's Paladin is described exclusively in sentences that read the same backwards and forwards), crack swing instrumental work, and Sons of the Pioneers-style harmony singing. They released five albums on MCA in the 1980s, and in 1985 they appeared in Sweet Dreams, the film biography of Patsy Cline. The group returned briefly to MCA in 1987, releasing Riders Radio Theater a year later. The success of that album led to the program Riders Radio Theater on National Public Radio, where the group was already well known from performances on Garrison Keillor's Prairie Home Companion program.

In 1991 the Riders moved to CBS for the children's album Harmony Ranch, which led to a short-lived CBS-TV Saturday morning television show. Riders in the Sky moved to the roots-oriented independent Rounder in 1995 and over the next four years, they released six albums for the label, beginning with 1995's Always Drink Upstream from the Herd and ending with 1999's Christmas the Cowboy Way. In 1999, Riders in the Sky were featured in the Disney/Pixar animated blockbuster Toy Story 2 and this opened up one of their greatest periods of popularity, partially due to how it strengthened their presence in childrens' music. Woody's Roundup: A Rootin' Tootin' Collection of Woody's Favorite Songs, a tie-in to Toy Story 2, appeared in 2000; two years later, the similar Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites showed up. Meanwhile, the band bounced between indie labels and self-releases -- A Pair of Kings, released on Oh Boy in 2002, showcased the increasingly impressive instrumental talents of Miskulin and Paul; Acoustic Disc's 2003 set Silver Jubilee celebrated the band's 25th anniversary, an event also commemorated with the publication of Don Cusic's book, It's the Cowboy Way! The Amazing True Adventures of Riders in the Sky.

Riders in the Sky remained an unfailing, family-friendly concert draw: their shows featured such novelties as rope tricks in addition to music and humor. Recordings arrived steadily, but these were always on indies, such as the band's own Riders Radio Records, along with Cracker Barrel. Additionally, Ranger Doug hosted a show on SiriusXM Satellite Radio called "Ranger Doug's Classic Cowboy Corral," another sign of how enduring the cowboy ways of Riders in the Sky were. ~ Sandra Brennan & James Manheim
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier

1. The Ballad Of Davy Crocket

2. Be Sure You're Right, And Then Go Ahead

3. King Of The River

4. Heading For Texas

5. Old Betsy

6. The Grinning Tale

7. Colonel Crocket's Speech To Congress

8. Remember The Alamo

9. Farewell

x

Track List: Silver Jubilee

Disc 1

1. Texas Plains

2. Cool Water

3. Back In The Saddle Again

4. Compadres In The Old Sierra Madres

5. Sidekick Heaven

6. Blue Bonnet Lady

7. (Ghost) Riders In The Sky

8. The Line Rider

9. We're Burnin' Moonlight

10. Phantom Of The Chuckwagon

11. La Malaguena

12. Here Comes The Santa Fe

13. The Arms Of My Love

14. Salting Of The Slug

15. Way Out There

16. Tumbling Tumbleweeds

Disc 2

1. Ride Cowboy Ride

2. Ringo

3. The Biscuit Blues

4. Lonely Yukon Stars

5. That's How The Yodel Was Born

6. Blue Mountana Skies

7. Woody's Roundup

8. Sundown In Sante Fe

9. My Oklahoma

10. Wah-Hoo (Live)

11. Early Autumn (Live)

12. Rawhide (Live)

13. Your Wearing Out Your Welcome Mat (Live)

14. Questions (Live)

15. There's A Blue Sky Way Out Yonder (Live)

16. So Long Saddle Pals (Live)

17. The Cowboy Way (Live)

x

Track List: A Great Big Western Howdy

1. Wah-Hoo

2. A Hundred And Sixty Acres

3. Cherokee

4. Autumn On The Trail

5. The Ballad of Palindrome / Palindrome: The Scene With Johnny Western

6. Cowboy Camp Meetin'

7. The Arms Of My Love

8. Cimarron Moon

9. The Sidekick Jig

10. A Border Romance

11. One More Ride With Marty Stuart

12. He Walks With The Wild And Lonely

x

Track List: Yodel The Cowboy Way

1. That's How The Yodel Was Born

2. Here Comes The Santa Fe

3. Cowpoke

4. Riding The Winds Of The West

5. Back In The Saddle Again

6. Blue Montana Skies

7. Singing A Song To The Sky

8. The First Cowboy Song

9. Yodel Blues

10. When The Bloom Is On The Sage

11. At The End Of The Rainbow Trail

12. Desert Serenade

x

Track List: Best Of The West Rides Again

1. Three On The Trail

2. Back In The Saddle Again

3. Cool Water

4. Desperado Trail

5. At The End Of The Rainbow Trail

6. Down The Trail To San Antone

7. Blue Shadows On The Trail

8. Jingle Jangle Jingle

9. Pecos Bill

10. Streets Of Laredo (The Cowboy's Lament)

11. West Texas Cowboy

12. Cowpoke

13. Old El Paso

14. Skyball Paint

15. Compadres In The Old Sierra Madre

16. Bound To Hit The Trail

17. Ojo Caliente

18. The Yodel Blues

19. Pretty Prairie Princess

20. Chasin' The Sun

21. When The Bloom Is On The Sage

22. Singing A Song To The Sky

23. On The Rhythm Range

24. Red River Valley

25. When Payday Rolls Around

x

Track List: Public Cowboy #1: The Music Of Gene Autry

1. Back In The Saddle Again

2. Sioux City Sue

3. Mexicali Rose

4. You Are My Sunshine

5. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

6. Can't Shake The Sands Of Texas From My Shoes

7. That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine

8. Be Honest With Me

9. Blue Canadian Rockies

10. Lonely River

11. South Of The Border

12. Ridin' Down The Canyon

x

Track List: A Centennial Salute To The Music Of Gene Autry

1. Back In The Saddle Again

2. Sioux City Sue

3. Mexicali Rose

4. You Are My Sunshine

5. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

6. Can't Shake The Sands Of Texas From My Shoes

7. That Silver Haired Haired Daddy Of Mine

8. Be Honest With Met

9. Blue Canadian Rockies

10. Lonely River

11. South Of The Border

12. Ridin' Down The Canyon

13. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle

14. The Last Roundup

15. Riders In The Sky (A Cowboy Legend)

16. Tumbling Tumbleweeds

x

Track List: Always Drink Upstream From The Herd

1. Riding The Winds Of The West

2. The Texas Polka

3. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle

4. After You've Gone

5. The Trail Tip Song

6. Desert Serenade

7. Rawhide

8. The Whispering Wind

9. The First Cowboy Song

10. Idaho

11. The Running Gun

12. Cattle Call

x

Track List: Best Of The West

1. Cowboy Jubilee

2. That's How The Yodel Was Born

3. Ghost Riders In The Sky

4. Don't Fence Me In

5. Ol' Cowpoke

6. Wasteland

7. Blue Bonnett Lady

8. Blue Montana Skies

9. After You've Gone

10. Here Comes The Santa Fe

11. Tumbling Tumbleweeds

12. La Cucaracha

13. Soon As The Roundup's Through

14. I Ride An Old Paint

15. Riding Alone

16. Hold That Critter Down

17. Ride With The Wind

18. Cowboy Song

19. Prairie Serenade

20. Nevada

21. Home On The Range

22. So Long Saddle Pals

x

Track List: Prairie Serenade

1. Prairie Serenade

2. Jingle Jangle Jingle

3. Blue Shadows On The Trail

4. Pretty Prairie Princess

5. Cowpoke

6. Nevada

7. Down The Trail To San Antone

8. I Ride An Old Paint

9. Utah Trail

10. Old El Paso

11. Chasing The Sun

12. Home On The Range

x

Track List: Three On The Trail

1. Three On The Trail

2. Ghost Riders In The Sky

3. That's How The Yodel Was Born

4. Don't Fence Me In

5. Blue Montana Skies

6. When Payday Rolls Around

7. Cowboy Song

8. Skyball Paint

9. Blue Bonnet Lady

10. Cielito Lindo

11. Here Comes The Santa Fe

12. So Long Saddle Pals

Comments

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el1jah.b1dta h
I love their songs so much
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el1jah.b1dta h
Oh man how I love these guys they are awesome ������������
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Saw them at the Shasta County Fair in 1979 or so, at a mid-afternoo n , mid-week show, in one of the smaller halls. There could not have been more than twenty people in the room. Great live music, and they had fun with our small group. At the time, I could not believe those guys weren't famous. Even then they were tight musically, and decent performers.
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kenneth_boye r
I love these guys and my boys love them also. It was great growing my boys with the Riders in the Sky.
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I like it
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xmfrederique
Don't fence me in!
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xmfrederique
OMG!!! Riders in the Sky!!! :o I haven't heard or seen you guys in years. Woody, Too Slim and Ranger Doug if I remember right. I LUV you guys where've you been hope everything is good and you're still making great Western music. I used to see you guys in the 80's at the Wheatland Music Fest near Mt. Pleasant, MI. I'm putting you guys on my Fast Tempo Rock 'n' Swing channel right now! Is there any other way than the Cowboy Way?
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mgutech
We just had them perform at the Waupun WI Historic City Hall Auditorium. They were great as usual.
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I just saw them live at Big Top Chautauqua in Wisconsin. Incredible!! ! ! Awesome!!!
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mike3345mike
just saw the video ads on NETFLICKS for the new season of LONGMIRE...i t looks super!!!!!!
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mike3345mike
Live the music..love it!!!
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mike3345mike
I am a kid again!!
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alexhosmer
love riders in the sky. they are my favorite cowboy band
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Love this song .Riders In The Sky
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Love Riders In The Sky
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Love Roy Rogers & Gene Artry
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Love The Riders In The Sky This Country Boy
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Love all songs
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jackwoods927
What is really strange is that I remember listening to these fellas sing their songs on a real large radio and yes a really long term ago. To bad the latter generations will never know what the old days was truly like, and this is what gives me sadness.
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I love this song
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Should be hobbles, not hovels.
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Love Riders in the Sky. Saw them in concert a few years back. They put on an awsome show. Very entertaining and always get the crowd involved. Very fun and talented.
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What a BEAUTIFUL song
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Love this song
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chychyzspunk y
Love thos song
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did you see all the tumbleweeds rolling along out West ?
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Let's hear it for Michigan born Ranger Doug!
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The instruments make it even better!
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Cool
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I know when night has gone...that a New World's born at dawn
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@brandoncorp wow ��
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balerick42
Came to this in a strange roundabout way. I am currently running a role-playing game on Sunday evenings called Deadlands Reloaded, which is set in an alternate history (and reality) of the Wild West... always loved westerns, so the ability to be creative with adventures in the setting is a lot of fun. :) The music helps set the mood!
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My like this song my bro loves it too
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Well, Riders in the sky. You certainly got a friend in me. ~get it?
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I ran and put on my chaps as soon as I heard them sing Nevada. Mean while back at the ranch....... .
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leedeb
The Riders reintroduced me to Cowboy Music. I love them!
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lilahlulu
Taylor swifts #1 fan that's not true
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I love the riders in the sky!!!:) my family personally knows them! In fact they are at my house right now for a private concert!!!:)
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htmagic
My wife and I saw them at Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, TN. They were great and quite funny! Good family entertainmen t . That's not necessarily the easiest way but it's the cowboy way!
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I love this song!
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Why is TOO Slim's real mane not given? It's Fred LaBour..How very much the RIDERS have ment to me...Their album Harmony Ranch remined me how very much I truely loved the West..It is something I will never out live..
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Saw them Saturday at the Autry Museum in L.A. They were great, like always.
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jcmoonbow
Love these guys!
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gadkins410
Just saw them for the second time here in Augusta, GA. This time they placed with our symphony and it was a great show. Really enjoy their fun singing and humor.
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swappin yodels with the coyotes .diggin the riders
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rs9862
The Riders have given one of the very best concerts I have ever been to in Logan Utah. Very organized, professional , perfect harmony's and so in tune to their audience. These men are all very well accomplished outside of music. I really hope they can be around another 25 years. The range of Doug's voice is just astounding. It is amazing to compare just how much joey's accordian really adds to their songs when listen to 3 versus 4.
I hope they come back this summer. I will be there.
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ackerbex3
I loved these guys on the soundtrack to Toy Story 2 - their sound is unmistakable . Fabulous harmonies, and a wonderful ability to poke gentle fun at (while at the same time showing great love for) the genre.
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These guys are the very best.They bering a newness to some of my very favorite songs.When I hear the orignal recordings of Gene or Roy and Sons of the Poiners I think that the sound that they wanted was at last captured by THE RIDERS.I only wish I had the RIDERS as I grew up.I would have had a fuller life.
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ackerbex3
Their music, both the parodies & the tributes, is spot on. Great harmonies!!
Report as inappropriate
sassyjan
love love love them

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