That Irish Cowboy Western Song

That would be  Two Shillelagh O’Sullivan sung by Bing Crosby and written by Perry Botkin and Preston Foster. Botkin was a session musician who played with, well, everybody, from Al  Jolson to Roy Rogers to Spike Jones, and then was Bing’s music director for many years.

Preston Foster, born in New Jersey, was an actor on Broadway and in Hollywood (he had roles in Annie Oakley and The Informer, among many others). He also was a singer and songwriter. In 1952, he and Botkin wrote about the fantastical O’Sullivan, “This bronco-busting Irishman from the sod of Erin’s Isle” who didn’t need a six gun, because he always had his two shillelaghs (“the Tipperary rifle, you never have to reload it”).

Inspired, no doubt, by the tall tales of Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan, O’Sullivan could lick them both. In fact,

“He was so strong… He could put his right hand in his own left pocket, and hold himself out at arm’s length. ”

“No man could do that!”

“It’s O’Sullivan I’m talking about!”

“Oh, well he could.”

Listen to Bing sing about O’Sullivan here:



Reading the Cowboy Way: Ranger Doug Finishes all 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die

Riders in the Sky
Ranger Doug, left, prior to finishing reading 1,001 books.

Guitarist and lead yodelist Ranger Doug of the band Riders in the Sky just completed a five year odyssey reading all the books on the 1,001 Books you must read before you die list, according to an article in The Tennessean by Tony Gonzalez.

Why? “It’s just something you do on the road. You get in that bunk and you’ve got nothing to do until it’s your turn to drive.”

How does a cowboy round up all those books? He uses his local public library, scouts out used book stores, and occasionally resorts to using the internet.

Ranger Doug is both a reader and a writer, having authored several books including Singing in the Saddle: The History of the Singing Cowboy. Read the original article to see which books he recommends, and which he recommends you avoid.