Ramblin' Ralph

"The World's Oldest Living Cowboy"

Ramblin' Ralph was born at an early age and a long, long time ago, in the mountains of Kentucky.  He personally experienced much of the history of the American West, and knew a number of famous Westerners including Coronado, Pope, Lewis and Clark, Sacajawea, Davy Crockett, Kit Carson, Geronimo, Buffalo Bill, Billy the Kid, Cochise, Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, John Wayne - well, maybe not John Wayne.

~~~~~~~

He tells and sings all about it with tunes and tales, true history blended with humor and song, accompanied by autoharp and guitar.

Click here for
one-page flyer

Ramblin' Ralph - large image

"The Troubadour of the West"

New Mexico Humanities Council
Chautauqua troubadour

Western Music Association

Western Writers of America

Wild West History Association



Ramblin has performed at the
Lincoln State Monument Old Lincoln Days, Ruidoso's Hubbard Museum of the American West, Ghost Ranch, Albuquerque Folk Festival, Red River Days of 1895, Albuquerque Museum, University of New Mexico, the Western Music Association International Music Festival, various state parks & monuments

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Some of Ramblin's  programs:
  • The West: Singing Its Story
  • Me and Billy
  • My Life As a Cowboy
  • Cowboy Campfire Singalong
  • Appalachian Music and the Autoharp
(see below for more detail)
Click here for a video
sample of "Me and Billy"

Programs of story and song
Programs of story and song by Ramblin' Ralph, the Troubadour of the West, accompanied by guitar and autoharp. Appropriate for museums, festivals, monuments, federal, state, county and city parks and campgrounds; house concerts, libraries, senior centers, schools and colleges, RV resorts, conventions, corporate retreats. Ralph appears throughout the West as a performer with the New Mexico State Chautauqua Program, and as an active member of the Wild West History Association and the Western Music Association.  Attire is colorful western/cowboy. 

"The West: Singing Its Story" - Take a trip through a thousand years of the American West, from Anasazi Indians to the Atomic Age.  Like the Indians and cowboys, the trappers and traders, we'll sing as we go because their songs tell a big part of the story.    We'll visit the ancient ones in their cliff dwellings and pueblos, see Coronado with his padres and conquistadores clanking up the Rio Grande searching for the Seven Cities of Gold. Lewis and Clark, on their way to the Pacific guided by young Sacagawea.  The Alamo, Wild Bill Hickok, OK Corral, Santa Fe Trail and Chisholm Trail, Belle Starr, forty-niners, Billy the Kid, stagecoaches, Geronimo, Pony Express, cowboys and Indians, Jesse James.  Experience the beauty, danger, excitement, violence, lyricism, and landscape of the West - as it was then, as it is today.
 

“Me and Billy” - As the world's oldest living cowboy, born the same year as Billy the Kid in 1859, Ramblin' Ralph sings and tells of his days with the real Billy
the Kid.  Not the Billy you've read about, heard songs about, seen movies (61 of them) about.  The real Billy, the boy Ralph rode with, camped with, fought beside in the Lincoln County War.  The Billy who loved to dance, loved to sing, sang in Sunday School and, at the age of 12, starred in a musical revue in his school - and never "at the age of twelve years killed his first man."  The Billy who, with his compadres, took on the crooked powers of Lincoln County.  The Billy who was sentenced to hang by a kangaroo court, escaped from the tightest security Pat Garrett could devise, roamed Lincoln County befriended by all except those in power.  The boy who died in Pete Maxwell's darkened bedroom of a bullet from Pat Garrett's 44.

[The preceding two programs are New Mexico State Humanities Council Chautauqua programs, largely funded by the state (schools pay $50, other nonprofits $100).   For a Chautauqua program booking guide and online application, click here (rough estimates should be fine in the "Cost Share" section).  For full information about the Chautauquas including a catalog of performers, go to nmhum.org]

"My Life As a Cowboy" - Saddle up and ride with Ramblin' Ralph as he tells the story of a cowboy in the wild, wild West of the 1870s.  And sing along with the tunes real cowboys sang, in exuberance on the open prairie or to quiet the cattle at night.  Experience the roundup of wild longhorns, driving 'em up the Chisholm Trail, riding night herd, meeting Comanches, heading a stampede, fighting rustlers.  Dodge City with its saloons, gunfights, and dance-hall girls, meeting Wyatt Earp and Calamity Jane.  Feel the sun and the sweat, exuberance and danger of life in the saddle.  For just an hour we can all be a cowboy again.

"Cowboy Campfire Singalong" - Songs that take us back to our youth, the western movies, radio serials - or brand new treats for those too young to have experienced this music firsthand.  We'll all sing great old numbers like "Don't Fence Me In," "Cool Water," I'm An Old Cowhand," and "Back In the Saddle Again."  Variable length as appropriate.

"Appalachian Music and the Autoharp" -  The autoharp, developed in the 1870s, quickly achieved enormous popularity, outselling pianos to become labeled  "the nation's favorite music instrument." Through the Sears catalog it penetrated the backwoods, hollows, and country churches of Appalachia - but elsewhere became relatively uncommon.  In this program Ramblin' Ralph provides an entertaining discourse on the autoharp and the Appalachian  music of his childhood, illustrated through the seminal music of the Carter Family. Audience is encouraged to sing along with familiar songs such as "Will the Circle be Unbroken," "Wildwood Flower," "Worried Man Blues," and "I Am Thinking Tonight of My Blue Eyes."

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ramblin' can provide a personal sound system suitable for most indoor and outdoor venues.  Programs will also work well in venues in which amplification is not required.  Question and answer or simple conversation sessions between audience and Ramblin’ are usual, and enhance the educational value of the programs.  Ralph's home is in Corrales, New Mexico.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Click here for an Albuquerque Journal article that tells a lot more
about Ramblin' than you would ever want to know

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Contact information:
ralph@ralphestes.com
(505) 980-3280