Oklahoma Cowboys

Otto Gray and his Oklahoma Cowboys were the first nationally famous cowboy western music band in the United States, and the first cowboy band to appear on the cover of Billboard (June 6, 1931).

Formed in Ripley, Oklahoma in the early 1920s, the band was first known as McGinty's Oklahoma Cowboy Band, for the leader, Billy McGinty, a well-known cowboy, former Rough Rider, and world champion rider with Buffalo Bill's show.

The band members were authentic cowboys from ranches in and around Ripley. Their first promoter, George Youngblood, introduced them saying, "I wish to say of this bunch of cowboys that they are not only good fiddlers, but can ride or rope anything that has horns, hide or hair." After McGinty left to become the postmaster of Ripley, Otto Gray (1884–1967), took over as bandleader as well as manager. With the extensive traveling generated from their popularity, the original band members dropped out to stay with their jobs and families. Gray filled their places with professional musicians willing to spend most of their time on the road.

Playing on the vaudeville circuits in the Midwest and Northeast, and nationwide over some 130 radio stations, they played the first cowboy music most Americans outside of the West had ever heard.

One of their most popular tunes was "Midnight Special", performed by member Dave "Pistol Pete" Cutrell; Cutrell's "Pistol Pete's Midnight Special" with McGinty's band was also the first version of "Midnight Special" ever recorded.

The band lasted until the early 1930s when economic situations led them to disband.

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1926 - 1936

Roles Represented in DAHR: Musical group

Notes: Listing for Jack Pierce and the Oklahoma Cowboys.

Recordings (Results 1-25 of 33 records)

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-0500 10-in. 9/9/1936 Hill billy shack in the valley Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BS-0501 10-in. 9/9/1936 Spooning 'neath a Western sky Slim Mays ; Rex Mitchell ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal trio Musical group  
Victor BS-0502 10-in. 9/9/1936 Keep on shining, Colorado moon Rex Mitchell ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BS-0503 10-in. 9/9/1936 If you don't believe I'm leavin' Slim Mays ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BS-0504 10-in. 9/9/1936 My home on the Western plains Rex Mitchell ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BS-0505 10-in. 9/9/1936 My dad Slim Mays ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal solo Musical group  
Victor BS-0506 10-in. 9/9/1936 The Blue Ridge home I love Slim Mays ; Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble, with male vocal duet Musical group  
Victor BS-0507 10-in. 9/9/1936 Sweetheart, let's grow old together Willie (Red) Herman Harmonica solo, with guitar and string bass Musical group  
Victor BS-0508 10-in. 9/9/1936 (Trouble ends) Out where the blue begins Willie (Red) Herman Harmonica solo, with guitar and string bass Musical group  
Victor BS-0509 10-in. 9/9/1936 Shine on, harvest moon Willie (Red) Newman Harmonica solo, with guitar and string bass Musical group  
Victor BS-0510 10-in. 9/9/1936 St. Louis blues Willie (Red) Newman Harmonica solo, with guitar and string bass Musical group  
Victor BS-0511 10-in. 9/9/1936 Slim's talkin' blues Slim Mays Dialogue, with guitar Musical group  
Victor BS-0512 10-in. 9/9/1936 Slim's talkin' blues Slim Mays Dialogue, with guitar Musical group  
Victor BS-0513 10-in. 9/9/1936 Soap box blues Slim Jim Male vocal solo, with guitar Musical group  
Victor BS-0514 10-in. 9/9/1936 Rabbit blues Slim Jim Male vocal solo, with guitar Musical group  
Victor BS-0515 10-in. 9/9/1936 Wild flower Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor BS-0516 10-in. 9/9/1936 Sing nightingale Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor BS-0517 10-in. 9/9/1936 Spanish waltz Los Fronterizos Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor BS-0518 10-in. 9/9/1936 La polka de Juanito Los Fronterizos Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor BS-0519 10-in. 9/9/1936 La polka de Jill Los Fronterizos Instrumental ensemble Musical group  
Victor BS-0520 10-in. 9/9/1936 Helena Earl Carr ; Slim Mays Fiddle (violin) and guitar duet Musical group  
Victor BS-0521 10-in. 9/9/1936 Leña acarreada por el agua Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Fiddle (violin) and guitar duet Musical group  
Victor BS-0522 10-in. 9/9/1936 Cabra Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental trio Musical group  
Victor BS-0523 10-in. 9/9/1936 Oklahoma medley Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental trio Musical group  
Victor BS-0524 10-in. 9/9/1936 Frontier breakdown Oklahoma Cowboys ; Jack Pierce Instrumental trio Musical group  
(Results 1-25 of 33 records)

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Oklahoma Cowboys," accessed January 22, 2021, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111934.

Oklahoma Cowboys. (2021). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved January 22, 2021, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111934.

"Oklahoma Cowboys." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2021. Web. 22 January 2021.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/111934

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