"A great big Western howdy to y'all" said Ranger Doug Green as he and his fellow Riders in the Sky kicked away the sagebrush and gathered around a campfire to sing a few cowboy songs at the Cellar Door last night.
The campfire was electrically operated. The sagebrush looked like it had never been west of the Potomac. Even the gun Ranger Doug carried was loaded with blanks. But there was no denying the authenticity of the songs they sang -- or for that matter the precision harmonies with which they sang them.
The Riders call themselves the "Poet-Lariats" of the West, and with songs like "Compadres in the Sierra Madres" who's to argue? Apart from the fun they have on stage, each of the Riders brings something special to the music.
Bassist Fred LaBour focused the group's resounding harmonies and contributed his fair share of tall tales. Guitarist Doug Green yodeled his heart out, never failing to ride out a song despite changes in tempo. And fiddler Woody Paul cut loose on his own tunes as well as the Western swing treatment of "After You've Gone." The last of the singing cowboys, it seems, are alive and well. They appear again tonight.