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This article is about the group. For the song, see (Ghost) Riders in the Sky: A Cowboy Legend.
For the album by David and the Giants, see Riders in the Sky (album)
Riders in the Sky

Riders in the Sky appearing at the Ponca Theatre in Ponca City, Oklahoma on September 29, 2007 at a concert commemorating the 100th anniversary of the birth of Gene Autry. From left to right are Joey the Cow Polka King, Woody Paul, Ranger Doug and Too Slim.
Background information
Origin Nashville, TN
Genres Western swing
Children's music
Years active 1977–present
Labels Rounder, MCA, CBS, Epic, Disney, Rykodisc
Douglas B. Green
Paul Chrisman
Fred LaBour
Joey Miskulin

Riders in the Sky is a Western music and comedy group which began performing in 1977; their style also appeals to children, and they are sometimes considered a children's band. They have won two Grammy Awards and have written and performed music for major motion pictures, including "Woody's Roundup" from Toy Story 2 and Pixar's short film, For the Birds.



For much of their career, the group was a trio; lead singer/guitarist Ranger Doug (Douglas B. Green), singer/fiddler Woody Paul (Paul Chrisman), and singer/bassist Too Slim (Fred LaBour). In the 1990s, the group re-added Joey the Cowpolka King Joey Miskulin on accordion, who had been with the group for a brief period in the 1980's. They usually introduce themselves as "Ranger Doug, the Idol of American Youth", "Woody Paul, the King of the Cowboy Fiddlers", "Too Slim, the Man of a Thousand Hats" and "Joey, the Cowpolka King".

In their first 25 years, Riders in the Sky have performed in over 5200 live performances, almost 300 national television appearances, over 200 public radio shows, 700 Grand Ole Opry appearances, three television series (including a 1991-92 CBS Saturday morning show), an appearance on an episode of "Duck Dodgers" on Cartoon Network and more than 30 albums. The group also wrote and appeared in numerous Christmas specials on TNN and CMT in the 1990s. They are based in Nashville, Tennessee.

Riders in the Sky perform authentic renditions of old classic cowboy and Western songs, as well as original works and various comedic skits and songs. Their sketches often include allusions to something being done in an dishonest or lazy manner; with Ranger Doug typically responding to this observation by saying "You fellers know that that would be the easy way. But it wouldn't be the cowboy way!"

Riders in the Sky performed with America's Got Talent finalist Taylor Ware at the Grand Ole Opry when she was nine years old. They also appeared in one of the episodes from Barney & Friends.

Riders in the Sky's radio show Riders Radio Theater originated in Nashville, with WPLN-FM as the presenting station, but moved to Cincinnati, Ohio, and can now be heard on the WMKV 89.3 FM radio station.

The Riders currently appear as musical spokesmen in a series of Yella Wood commercials. These popular ads spoof the 1930's era Western singing cowboy serials.

Ranger Doug (Douglas B. Green) performs at the Poncan Theater in Ponca City, Oklahoma on November 7, 2008. Photo: Hugh Pickens
Woody Paul (Paul Woodrow Chrisman) Photo: Hugh Pickens
Too Slim (Fred LaBour) Photo: Hugh Pickens
Joey the Cowpolka King (Joey Miskulin) Photo: Hugh Pickens


Riders in the Sky were named Western Music Group of the Year during the Academy of Western Artists 2006 Will Rogers Awards.

Cowboy Jubilee

  • This CD was featured on The New York Times' Best Ten List for 1982.
  • Best Independent Country Album of the Year

Saddle Pals

  • Best Independent Children's Album of the Year

Always Drink Upstream from the Herd

  • 1995 Cowboy Hall of Fame Wrangler Award for Outstanding Western Recording!

Woody's Roundup: A Rootin' Tootin' Collection of Woody's Favorite Songs

  • 2001 Grammy Award Winner: "Best Musical Album For Children"

Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites

  • 2003 Grammy Award Winner: "Best Musical Album For Children"


Title Type Release date Label
Three on the Trail studio 1979 Rounder Records
Cowboy Jubilee studio 1981 Rounder Records
Prairie Serenade studio 1982 Rounder Records
Weeds & Water studio 1983 Rounder Records
Riders in the Sky, Live live 1984 Rounder Records
New Trails studio 1986 Rounder Records
Saddle Pals studio 1987 Rounder Records
Best of the West (album) bestof 1987 Rounder Records
Best of the West Rides Again studio October 25, 1990 Rounder Records
The Cowboy Way (album) live 1987 MCA
Riders Radio Theater studio June 27, 1988 MCA
Riders go Commercial studio June 19, 1989 MCA
Horse Opera studio 1990 MCA
Harmony Ranch studio 1991 CBS
Merry Christmas from Harmony Ranch studio 1992 CBS
Saturday Morning with Riders greatest 1992 MCA
Cowboys in Love studio 1994 Epic Records
Always Drink Upstream from the Herd studio October 31, 1995 Rounder Records
Cowboy Songs studio 20 August 1996 Rounder Records
Public Cowboy #1: The Music of Gene Autry tribute October 20, 1996 Rounder Records
Yodel the Cowboy Way studio 1998 Rounder Records
Great Big Western Howdy! studio July 14, 1998 Rounder Records
Christmas the Cowboy Way studio October 5, 1999 Rounder Records
Woody's Roundup: A Rootin' Tootin' Collection of Woody's Favorite Songs studio August 29, 2000 Disney
A Pair of Kings studio February 19, 2002 Oh Boy Records
Ridin' the Tweetsie Railroad studio 2002 Self Released
Monsters, Inc. Scream Factory Favorites studio August 27, 2002 Disney
Riders in the Sky Silver Jubilee' studio 2003 Acoustic Disc
Riders in the Sky Present: Davy Crockett, King of the Wild Frontier studio August 3, 2004 Rounder Records
Riders in the Sky Live from the Golden Age of Riders Radio Theater studio 2006 Riders Radio Records

External links



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