Well mighty fine and a great big western howdy, buckaroos and buckarettes
— Riders In The Sky's greeting

Riders in the sky

(From left to right) Joey The Cow-Polka King, Woody Paul, Too Slim, and Ranger Doug.

A brief history of the members of Riders In The Sky.

Current Members Edit

Ranger Doug Edit

Douglas B. Green (born March 20, 1946), better known as "The Idol of American Youth: Ranger Doug", is the lead singer, guitarist, and founding member of Riders In The Sky. Green graduated from Cranbrook in 1964, and the University of Michigan in 1968. He has a master's degree in Literature from Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee. Before forming the Riders, he performed with The Boys from Shiloh, The Shinbone Alley All Stars, and The Doug Green Band. In 1967 and 1969 he worked two stints with Bill Monroe's Blue Grass Boys and one with Jimmy Martin in 1969. He recorded two albums in 1972 with Vic Jordan and the Buck White Family.

Too Slim Edit

Frederick "Fred" LaBour (born June 3, 1948), better known as "Too Slim: The Man of A Thousand Hats", plays double bass, sings lead and background vocals and is a founding member of Riders In The Sky. Before Riders In The Sky, LaBour was working at The Michigan Daily newspaper while attending the University of Michigan in October of 1969, and happened to hear a radio DJ discussing the rumors that Paul McCartney had died sometime prior to The Beatles recording the Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band album in 1967. LaBour and his friend John Gray proceed to go through each Beatles album and each song, making up clues that would lead people to believe that McCartney had died, and in the column that was going to be an Abbey Road review, a satiric article called "McCartney Dead; New Evidence Brought to Light" appeared in the October 14, 1969 issue of the Michigan Daily.

Woody Paul Edit

Paul Chrisman (born August 23, 1949) better known as "Woody Paul: King of the Cowboy Fiddlers" is a singer, fiddler, and composer for Riders In The Sky. Prior to joining the Riders, He attended Vanderbilt University in Nashville, TN and has a Ph.D. in theoretical plasma physics from MIT, where he wrote his thesis, "Inertial, Viscous, and Finite-Beta Effects in a Resistive, Time Dependent Tokamak Discharge". He returned to Nashville and began playing recording sessions and recorded and toured with Loggins & Messina

Joey The Cow-Polka King Edit

Joseph Miskulin (born January 6, 1949) is a hall of fame accordionist and producer. Before joining Riders In The Sky, Joey was performing professionally by age eleven with the Ronnie Lee Band, and had his first recording produced by Roman Possedi at age twelve. A year later, the boy would meet Frankie Yankovic, forming a personal and professional relationship with the man known as "America's Polka King" that would last a lifetime. Miskulin toured the United States with Yankovic as his featured accordionist for six years, writing and arranging songs between performances.

Former Members Edit

Windy Bill Collins Edit


(From left to right) Windy Bill Collins, Too Slim, and Ranger Doug (1977).

Considered the "Pete Best" of Riders In The Sky, Collins was one of the founding members of the Riders. Bill Collins was a childhood friend of Doug Green, whom Green invited to come and play with him and Fred LaBour at Herr Harry's Phranks 'n' Steins on November 11, 1977. He stayed with the Riders from 1977 to early 1978, shortly after Woody Paul joined. Collins passed away on September 21, 2015.

Tumbleweed Tommy Goldsmith Edit


(From bottom left to top right) Woody Paul, Too Slim, Ranger Doug, and Tumbleweed Tommy (1978).

Without Tommy Goldsmith, there would be no Riders Radio Theater. In 1978, Riders In The Sky (consisting of Ranger Doug, Too Slim, Woody Paul, and Tumbleweed Tommy) would perform every Tuesday night at a club called Wind In The Willows in Nashville, TN. To make the club appearances more interactive, Goldsmith wrote a story called Riders Radio Theater: The Cowboy Who Hated Christmas, which was to be performed live in front of the clubgoers. Goldsmith was inspired by the CBS program Radio Mystery Theater hosted by E.G. Marshall. Shortly after The Cowboy Who Hated Christmas, Goldsmith and the other Riders would write more Riders Radio stories such as The Riders Join OPEC, The Riders Go Hawaiian, The Riders Go To Sweden, and The Triple X Chainsaw Massacre. In mid-1979, Goldsmith left Riders In The Sky. He would be the last member to join the band until Joey Miskulin in the early 1990s.

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