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Maurice Woodward Ritter, 12 January 1905, near Murvaul, Panola County, Texas, USA, d. 2 January 1974, Nashville, Tennessee, USA. The youngest of six children, he grew up on the farm that the Ritter family had worked for over 70 years. He attended High School in Beaumont and then entered the University of Texas in Austin. Here he began his studies for a law degree in Government and Political Science. Ritter was active in the debating societies and sang with the University Glee Club. During this period, he developed a lasting interest in cowboy songs, being greatly influenced by the research of such authorities as John A. Lomax and J. Frank Dobie. He financed himself during his time at the university by working menial jobs but finally left in 1928, having completed only the first year of his Law School course.
He sang cowboy and folk songs on KPCR Houston and struggled to make a living selling insurance. After meeting members of a touring...