Charlie Rutlage is undated in 114 Songs
– but the text comes from the 1920 edition of Cowboy Songs
collected by John A Lomax. It was presumed anonymous at that time, but in the 1938 edition Lomax ascribed it to one D J ‘Kid’ O’Malley. The cowboy heaven is one of Ives’s many variations on musical evocations of the afterlife. But the stylistic range of this song far outstrips the normal requirements of a cowboy ballad, with its fanfares, clusters played with fists, and rhythmicized speech.
from notes by Calum MacDonald © 2005