Van Holyoak was a working cowman a singer and collector of cowboy songs. He started learning his first songs from his father, and as he pursued his hobby, added more songs as well as stories and poetry acquired from his fellow cowboys. After he made field recordings for the University of Arizona, Holyoak became an increasingly familiar and popular figure at various folk festivals. His recordings include an authentic, unadorned version of "Strawberry Roan" and the humorous "The Gol-Durned Wheel."
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