JANUARY 2000 BACK ISSUE
Part of Horse Previews Magazine website. Posted on 01/06/2000; 2:00:00PM.
Video Preview: Ridin' High
by Baxter Black
Coyote Cowboy Company, P.O. Box 2190, Benson, AZ 85602
http://www.baxterblack.com * (c)1999
60 minutes, $19.99 * Telephone: 1-800-654-2550
This colorful video has a dozen or so poems, stories and songs from the Baxter Black and Friends live performances on Iowa Public Television. Dr. Black does plenty of his patented material, plus, plays guitar with his string band (mandolin, bass, violin, and female vocal) and sings two tunes: "Ship My Body Back to Texas" and "Rope and Ride." As a singer and TV entertainer, a male version of Britney Spears he ain't. The Singin' Vet is more a mixture of the Singin' Cowboy, Gene Autry, without the voice, the horse, or the money and the TV comic commentator, Mark Russell, without the glasses, the piano, or the politics.
We have published Black's written pieces in Horse Previews Magazine for years, but this is the first time Helen Boyd, the editor, has ordered me to preview one of his videos. It was especially refreshing to amplify my impression of his talent from the visual perspective. His appearance is trademarked from the floor up: boots and spurs, tight blue jeans setting off the wire cloth torso, shining rodeo belt buckle, long sleeve western shirt with pockets, colorful knotted bandana; the face of an imp completely moustached, inset with sparkling eyes...wearing a big cowboy hat or bareheaded, disheveled hair accentuating his energetic delivery into the hand held microphone. He is an accomplished performer.
I liked the kickoff poetic presentation about Wilford the Farrier trying to shoe Freddie's horse "Pigeye." Next, his twinkling eyes (exaggerated moderately with makeup for TV) enhanced the "Fetal Eye View" poem that typifies his verse. The cowboyfied Robert Service meter of "Junior," a poem about a bar brawl, and the hilarious "Dunny and the Duck," complete with quacks and feathers, just generally embeds the mood of congeniality. "Take Care of Yer Friends," the last poem on the tape, is just a calm and relaxing rendition of cowboy wisdom. Black ends the video with some profound words of advice and a comforting thought: "reach down and pull up your socks."
I got a little extra from the video to increase my enjoyment of the way he writes. He has an obvious affinity for his audience and they showed an appreciation for his flawless performance. His is a niche genre, where fans continually test his terms for a humorous match into their ranch reality, and he seldom fails to deliver a hearty laugh. He does it without lavish expenditure for effect. He does it without the bitter goal of cynicism. He does it without prejudice or stereotypical innuendo. And, he does it without profanity. Check out his video for an uplifting hour of entertainment.
Bob Howdy, PhD
Baxter Black Fan