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Tex Ritter

Singing cowboy Tex Ritter stood as one of the biggest names in country music throughout the postwar era, thanks to a diverse career that led him everywhere from the Broadway stage to the political arena. He was born Maurice Woodward Ritter in Marvaul, TX, on January 12, 1907, and grew up on a ranch in Beaumont. After graduating at the top of his high school class, he majored in law at the University of Texas. During college, however, he was bitten by the acting bug and moved to New York in 1928 to join a theatrical troupe. After a few years of struggle, he briefly returned to school, only to leave again to pursue stardom.

Ritter was playing cowboy songs on the radio when he returned to New York in 1931 to act in the Broadway production Green Grow the Lilacs; during scene changes, he also performed on his guitar. Thanks to his success on the stage, he began hosting radio programs like Tex Ritter's Campfire and Cowboy Tom's Roundup before entering the studio with producer Art Satherley in 1933, where his deep, lived-in voice graced songs like "Rye Whiskey." He caught the attention of Hollywood producer Edward Finney, who was searching for a cowboy singer in the mold of the highly successful Gene Autry and was tapped to star in the 1936 Western Song of the Gringo. Over the next two years, Ritter starred in a dozen films, including 1937's Trouble in Texas (co-starring a young Rita Hayworth), before Finney's studio, Grand National Pictures, folded. Ritter then switched to Monogram Studios, for whom he made some 20 Westerns, including 1940's Take Me Back to Oklahoma with co-star Bob Wills; work at Columbia and Universal followed, and by the time of his movie swan song, 1945's The Texas Rangers, he had appeared in a total of 85 films.

As Ritter's Hollywood career went into decline, his music career began to blossom, and in 1942, he became the first country artist signed to Capitol Records, where he recorded everything from traditional folk tunes to patriotic material to sentimental songs. In 1944, Tex Ritter & His Texans topped the charts with the single "I'm Wastin' My Tears on You." The record's flip side, "There's a New Moon Over My Shoulder," peaked at number two, as did the follow-up "Jealous Heart." 1945's "You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often" proved to be Ritter's greatest success, holding at number one for 11 consecutive weeks. Among his other successes in the 1940s were 1945's number one "You Will Have to Pay," 1948's "Rock and Rye," and 1950's "Daddy's Last Letter (Private First Class John H. McCormick)," based on the actual correspondence of a soldier slain during the Korean War.

Ritter recorded the theme to the Fred Zinneman classic High Noon in 1953, and the resulting single proved extremely successful with pop audiences, helping win him the job as the MC of the television program Town Hall Party, which he hosted between 1953 and 1960. In 1958, he issued his first full-length LP, Songs From the Western Screen, followed the next year by Psalms. After leaving Town Hall Party, he released the LP Blood on the Saddle, a dark collection of cowboy narrative songs, and in 1961, he returned to the country charts after an 11-year absence with the Top Five hit "I Dreamed of a Hillbilly Heaven." In 1963 Ritter began a two-year tenure as the president of the Country Music Association, and in 1965 he moved to Nashville to join the Grand Ole Opry. After an unsuccessful bid for the U.S. Senate in 1970, Ritter died of a heart attack on January 2, 1974; his son John Ritter carried on the family name as a popular actor in TV sitcoms like Three's Company and Hooperman. ~ Jason Ankeny
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Tex Ritter - His Best

1. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)

2. Green Grow The Lilacs

3. Have I Stayed Away Too Long?

4. The Gallows Pole

5. The Fool's Paradise

6. The Boll Weevil

7. Cielito Lindo

8. Conversation With A Gun

9. The Keeper Of The Keys

10. (I Dreamed Of A) Hill-Billy Heaven

x

Track List: The Best Of Tex Ritter

1. There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder

2. You Will Have To Pay (For Your Yesterday)

3. Long Time Gone

4. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

5. Deck Of Cards

6. I'm Wasting My Tears On You

7. Jealous Heart

8. You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often

9. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

10. Rye Whiskey

x

Track List: Famous Country Music Makers

1. High Noon

3. I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night

4. Tennessee Blues

5. I've Had Enough Of Your Two Timin'

6. Careless Hands

7. Stay Away From My Heart

8. Big Blue Diamonds

9. Coal Smoke, Valve Oil And Steam

10. Dallas Darlin'

11. Pecos Bill

13. Never Mind My Tears

14. Rock All The Babies To Sleep

16. Rock And Rye

17. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold

18. The Letter Edged In Black

19. When It's Springtime In The Rockies

20. Deck Of Cards

x

Track List: High Noon 1942-1952

1. High Noon (Do Not Forsake Me)

2. (I Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

3. There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder

4. Have I Stayed Away Too Long

5. I'm Wastin' My Tears On You

6. Jealous Heart

7. You Will Have To Pay

8. Long Time Gone

9. Rounded Up In Glory

10. You Two-Timed Me Once Too Often

11. Blood On The Saddle

12. The Old Chisholm Trail

13. Bad Brahma Bull

14. Rye Whiskey

15. Froggy Went A Courtin'

16. Green Grow The Lilacs

17. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

18. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

19. Cattle Call

20. Don't Make Me Sorry

21. I Can't Get My Foot Off The Rail

22. I've Had Enough Of Your Two Timin'

23. Pecos Bill

24. Rock And Rye

25. Careless Hands

26. I've Got Five Dollars And It's Saturday Night

27. Deck Of Cards

x

Track List: Have I Stayed Away Too Long

Disc 1

2. You Will Have To Pay (For Your Yesterday)

3. Green Grow The Lilacs

4. San Antonio Rose

6. Long Time Gone

14. Down In The Valley

15. Billy The Kid

24. When The Work's All Done This Fall

Disc 2

2. Fort Worth Jail

3. Too Late To Worry, Too Blue To Cry

4. You Brought Sorrow To My Heart

5. When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again

6. Careless Darlin'

7. Shame On You

8. I Wish I Had Never Met Sunshine

10. Detour

30. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

Disc 3

5. This Lonely World

6. As Long As I Live

7. I Was Wrong

8. The First Rose

11. Never Mind My Tears

12. Gotta Have Some Lovin'

17. Let's Forget

23. When You Cry (You Cry Alone)

24. You Can't Conceal A Broken Heart

25. Gotta Make Up For The Lost Time

26. Trouble Keeps Hangin' Round My Door

27. Shadow On My Heart

28. You Can't Break My Heart

29. Beyond A Shadow Of A Doubt

Disc 4

1. Born To Be Blue

2. I Learned My Lesson Too Late

8. Never Mind My Tears

13. (Take Me Back To My) Boots And Saddle

15. I'm An Old Cowhand

19. Blue Shadows On The Trail

21. Dallas Darling

23. Love You Big As Texas

x

Track List: American Legend

1. I'm Waistin' My Tears On You

2. (I've Got Spurs That) Jingle Jangle Jingle

3. Goodbye My Little Cherokee

4. Sing Cowboy Sing

5. Blood On The Saddle

6. Rye Whiskey

7. High Noon

8. Keeper Of The Key

9. Cielito Lindo

10. Froggie Went A'courtin'

11. The Hills Of Old Wyomin'

12. Cattle Call

13. Texas Ranger Song

14. Sam Hall

15. I Dreamed Of A Hillbilly Heaven

16. Oregon Trail

17. Singin' In The Saddle

18. Al Viva Tequila

19. When It's Lamplighting Time In The Valley

20. Conversation With A Gun

21. A-Ridin' Old Paint

22. The Old Chisolm Trail

23. Green Grows The Lilacs

24. Have I Stayed Away

x

Track List: Sing, Cowboy, Sing

1. Sam Hall

2. Get Along Little Doggies

3. Nobody's Darling But Mine

4. The Hills Of Old Wyomin'

5. Lady Killin' Cowboy

6. (Take Me Back To My) Boots And Saddle

7. My Brown Eyed Texas Rose

8. Billy The Kid

9. San Antonio Rose

10. Sing, Cowboy, Sing

11. (I've Got Spurs That) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

12. I'm Wasting My Tears On You

13. Long Time Gone

14. Froggie Went A Courtin'

15. Boll Weevil

16. Christmas Carols By The Old Corral

17. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

18. Blood On The Saddle

19. You Two-Timed Me Once Too Often

20. Rye Whiskey

21. Jealous Heart

22. Double Dealin' Darlin'

23. Fort Worth Jail

24. There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder

25. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

26. Love Me Now

27. Boogie Woogie Cowboy

28. High Noon

x

Track List: Country Hits & Cowboy Classics

1. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle

2. Singin' In The Saddle

3. Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

4. I'm Wastin' My Tears On You

5. There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder

6. Jealous Heart

7. You Two-Timed Me One Time Too Often

8. You Will Have To Pay (For Your Yesterday)

9. Green Grow The Lilacs

10. Christmas Carols By The Old Corral

11. Long Time Gone

12. Rounded Up In Glory

13. Blood On The Saddle

14. Boll Weevil

15. Billy The Kid

16. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

17. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You

18. Rye Whiskey

19. Pecos Bill

20. Deck Of Cards

x

Track List: Blood On The Saddle

Disc 1

2. Rye Whiskey

11. Sam Hall

12. Get Along Little Dogies

13. Thirty Three Years In Prison

14. Lady Killin' Cowboy

16. Bill The Bar Fly

17. Nobody's Darling But Mine

18. My Brown-Eyed Texas Rose

19. Take Me Back To My Boots And Saddle

20. The Oregon Trail

22. A Melody From The Sky

23. The Hills Of Old Wyoming

24. We'll Rest At The End Of The Trail

25. High, Wide And Handsome

26. Headin' For The Rio Grande

27. Out On The Lone Prairie

Disc 2

1. Arizona Days

2. Jailhouse Lament

4. I'm A Natural Born Cowboy

7. Sing, Cowboy, Sing

8. Down The Colorado Trail

9. When It's Lamp Lightin' Time In The Valley

10. Singin' In The Saddle

13. (I Got Spurs) Jingle, Jangle, Jingle

15. Goodbye, My Little Cherokee

16. I've Done The Best I Could

17. There's A New Moon Over My Shoulder

18. Have I Stayed Away Too Long

19. I'm Wastin' My Tears On You

21. Jealous Heart

23. We Live In Two Different Worlds

25. You Will Have To Pay (For Your Yesterday)

26. Long Time Gone

Disc 3

1. San Antonio Rose

3. Green Grow The Lilacs

4. Boll Weevil

5. Rounded Up In Glory

6. You Two Timed Me One Time Too Often

7. Blood On The Saddle

8. The Chisholm Trail

9. Bad Brahma Bull

10. Rye Whiskey

11. Billy The Kid

12. The Texas Rangers

14. The Wreck Of Number Nine

15. Froggy Went A-Courtin'

16. Green Grow The Lilacs

17. Night Herding Song

18. The Pony Express

21. Christmas Carols By The Old Corral

22. Love Me Now

23. The Wreck Of Number Nine

24. The Pony Express

26. The Pony Express

Disc 4

1. Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?

2. I Was Out Of My Mind

3. When You Leave Don't Slam The Door

15. The Roving Gambler

16. Down In The Valley

20. Double Dealin' Darlin'

23. Cattle Call

26. Don't Make Me Sorry

27. I Can't Get My Foot Off The Rail

x

Track List: High Noon

2. Blood On The Saddle

3. Jingle Jangle Jingle

4. Goodbye, My Little Cherokee

5. Bad Brahma Bull

6. Boogie Woogie Cowboy

7. He's A Cowboy Auctioneer

8. Rye Whiskey

9. Texas Rangers

10. Chisholm Trail

11. Billy The Kid

12. Cattle Call

13. San Antonio Story

14. Marshall's Daughter

15. Wichita

17. Gunsmoke

18. Remember The Alamo

19. Last Frontier

20. Searchers

21. Buffalo Dream

22. The Bandit

23. Brave Man

25. Wayward Wind

26. When It's Springtime In The Rockies

27. Night Herding Song

28. High Noon

Comments

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U.T. aint texas nomore
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rgspops
Another Texas longhorn that made it big time!!
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mike3345mike
lived it and loved it also..!
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Love Tex Ritter
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Tex Ritter The Real Cowboy
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I agree with you copperdollar 327 this is country music today's music is just a bunch of the noise there will never be artists like yesterday's
Report as inappropriate
I'm 70 and I grew up on Tex. What I don't see mentioned In his bio is the children's albums he produced. His deep beautiful voice still sends chills up and down my spine. John Ritter, I don't need to tell you that your ole Pa was numero uno.
Report as inappropriate
this is the kind of music I grew up with and as far as I am concerned it is the only country music the new stuff is jest noise.
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lektrikbass
Tex came to Hawaii when Hillbilly Heaven was a big hit for him. He hired the band I was playing with to back him on his tour of about ten days & 20 plus performances . My short association with Tex Ritter was one of complete harmony. He was polite to everyone, as only a few of his popularity I have played for have been since that time. I have known a few.
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Love Tex Ritter since I was young
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robertcurtsi n g e r
If aint old country it aint music . and this is music Bob C>
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sweet
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ratfink693
Wonderful memories
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great cowboy.
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mariongttmnn
Poetry Log on to: WWW.POETRPOE M . C O M / P O E T R Y 3 8 7 8
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mariongttmnn
Mr. Ritter was in a class on his own never produced anything that wasn't good an always with the Tex Ritter sound he never let his viewers down,

Wish I had his talents, though I don't have his talent we have written some heart felt Poetry if you have a chance open my little site at:

WWW.POETRYPO E M > C O M / P O E T R Y 3 8 7 8
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True Americana music. Pure, acoustical with lyrics of the people. covers reality of daily lives.
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jimmie rodgers the best
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nothing like it
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this guy another great one. Was on stage in Panama city, Fla. with Tex, I was just a kid 1945. Again in 1971 at the Sliver Dollar Salon in Las vegas, Nv. He signed an album for Barb & I. Thom Phillips
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Love a man sounding like a man, don't you? And too bad harmony is a thing of the past.
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I love all classic country music. To bad the kids today dont understand real music.
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This is one of the all time greats. I love them all but so many of the kids today don't understand the real County Music.
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Robert H. S.
There is a new moon over my shoulder.(No w 75.)Was my favorit.
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gharris24
teneha timpson bobo and blair
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Tex was one of the best when I was a kid. (74 now) My favorite song by Tex has always been Rye Whiskey and still is but nobody's played it for me yet on this station. I keep asking.
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glennclark
I love to hear the old western songs with Tex, Roy, Gene and all the old cowboy stars. It's a shame that we don' have that kind of entertainmen t today.
Glenn Clark, Louisville, Ky.
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TEX RITTER WILL NEVER BE MISSED,MORE MUSIC FROM HIM
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I not only like to hear him sing also love his old moyies. Kept playing this type of music
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cdvm13
I liked him all my life. I am 70 years old and I haven't heard the deck of cards since 1986 when my home was flooded.Ruin e d all of my 33 1/3 and 45 records. I would like to here it some more but i can't fine it anywhere. If you would Please


yours, Carl Moran
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topten
They just don't make quality music like they used to! I really love listening to the cowboy-songs , and it makes me think that I'm living back in that time.
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Pandora is the best there is! Real cowboy music.So sorry most of the best are not with us anymore. M.Leber
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tonyandmary
good porch-sittin ' music
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rbridges11
Last time I saw boweval he was sitting on the stair next time I saw boweval he had his hole family thier Looking for a Home Rye Whiskey bringsback old memoriies
Report as inappropriate
Has anyone ever heard of a song with the lyrics (or possibly the name was)Drifty, shifting, Texas, sand. It had something like I went to the river to water my horse... Tex Ritter may have sang this song but I don't know for sure. My dad use to sing it to us on road trips
Report as inappropriate
HELLO, WHAT WAS TEX'S HORSE NAME * DID HE HAVE A SIDE KICK ? TO OLD TO REMEBER. I'M OLD AS DIRT,TO YOUR ANSWER. SOMEONE JUST TOLD ME ,FLASH. TEXMOEMAN ,DOYOU REMEMBER WEBB A.F.B. BIG SPRINGS TX . STAMPEDE CLUB, HALL NIX'S BIG BALLS IN COWTOWN..... B A T T L E OF THE BANDS???
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I could set 24/7 and listen to Tex , music....
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texmoeman
When I was in the USAF at Dyess AFB in Abilene tx, I went to San Angelo one week end in 1958 Old Tex Ritter was playing the Cotton Club just outside the city this was just before he was to go to NASHVILLE TN he was a good person he would come to our table and talk to fly boys for an hour or so a very good man, he thanked us for our service.Now he sings for GOD
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sassyjan
real good
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these are the songs I remember hearing when i was a kid in the 50's.
PANDORA is the BEST for listening to classic country..... luv it!
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this is what real music is
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only one word for Tex's music, AWESOME
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old farm boy in the buckeye. this is music, not the junk the younger generation call music today.
Report as inappropriate
I just love this old music. This is REAL country music.

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