Lone Hand Western - Old West History


Cowboy Songs 3

Sometimes it's hard to remember the lyrics for all those traditional old cowboy and Western songs no matter how hard we try.  Here are the words for some of the classic songs as well as the words for the songs you may not hear anymore.  New songs will be added on a regular basis.  If you are looking for the words for a particular song let me know and I will try to post them.  Happy Singing!

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 Cowboy Songs

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Cowboy Songs




Bill Vanero heard them say
ln Arizona town one day,
"There's a band of 'pache indians,
They're on the trail this way."
Bill had heard of a murder done,
Two men killed on Rocky Run,
Though his thoughts were with the cow ranch
On the borders of Rocky Run.

Bill stood gazing all around,
Picked his lasso from the ground,
Caught his little brown Champion
Not many steps away .
Now Bill, you hold your breath
For you're riding straight to death,
There's a band of approaching indians,
They are on the trail this way.

Soon with bridle and hissing . . .
And jingling of the spurs,
The little brown Champion bore the cowboy
Away from friends and home,
Over oakey spots he sped
As his thoughts drift on ahead
To little Bess at the cow ranch
And the boys on Rocky Run.

Just then a rifle shot
Woke the echoes of the spot,
Bill Vanero said, "I'm wounded,"
As he reeled from side to side.
"As long as there's life there's hope,
Swiftly onward I will lope."
Suddenly Bill Vanero halted
In the shadow of the hills.

From his pocket then he took
With weak hands a little book,
He tore a blank leaf from it
Saying, "This will be my will."
From a tree a twig he broke,
Then he dipped his pen of oak
Into the life-blood that was flowing
From the wound above his heart.

This message he wrote fast,
His first love letter and his last,
Tied it safely to the saddle
And his lips grew white with pain,
"Take this message, Champ," he said,
"To little Bessie if not me,
And if I never reach the cow ranch
Little Bess will know I tried."

Cow ranch forty miles away
In a lonely spot that lay
In a green and shady valley
In a mighty wilderness .
Just at dusk a horse of brown
Covered with sweat come panting down
From the lane into the cow ranch
And stopped at Bessie's door.

The cowhoy was asleep
And his slumber was so deep,
Little Bessie tried to wake him,
She tried it o'er and o'er.
Now you've heard tbe story told
By the young and by the old,
How the indians killed Bill Vanero
On the trail of Rocky Run.

Many years have passed away,
And this maiden's hair turned gray,
But she still puts a wreath of roses
On Bill Vanero's grave


 The Buffalo Hunters

Come all you pretty fair maids, these lines to you I write;
We're going on the range in which we take delight,
We're going on the range as we poor hunters do,
While those tender-footed fellows do stay at home with you.

Our game it is the antelope, the buffalo, elk and deer;
They roam these broad prairies without the least of fear;
We rob them of their robes in which we think no harm,
To buy us chuck and clothing for to keep our bodies warm.

The buffalo is the largest and the noblest of the van,
He sometimes refuses to throw us up his hands,
With shaggy mane uplifted, and face toward the sky,
As if to say, "I'm coming, so hunter mind your eye!"

All the day long we go tramping around,
In search of the buffalo that we may shoot them down;
Armed with out trusty rifle and belt of forty rounds,
We send them up Salt River to their happy hunting grounds.

While armed with Sharps rifle or Needle gun so true
We cause the "buff" to bite the dust for they send their bullets through;
For when we come upon them, if our guns have no defects,
We cause them to throw up their hands and pass us in their checks.

Our houses are made of buffalo hides, we build them tall and round;
Our fires are made of buffalo chips, our beds are on the ground.
Our furniture is the camp kettle, the coffee pot and pan;
Our chuck is buffalo beef and bread intermingled well with sand.

Our neighbors are the Cheyenne, the Arapaho and Sioux;
Their mode of transportation is the buffalo hide canoe.
And if they all should emigrate I'm sure we wouldn't care,
For a peculiar way they have of raising hunters' hair.

The hunters are jolly fellows, they like their lager beer,
The hunters are jolly fellows, they drink their whiskey clear;
And now you've heard my song you must not think it queer,
If I take a drink of whisky or a glass of lager beer.

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Oh, for a ride o'er the prairies free,
On a fiery untamed steed,
Where the curlews fly and the coyotes cry
And the western wind goes sweeping by,
For my heart enjoys the speed.

With my left hand light on the bridle rein,
And the saddle girth pinched behind,
With the lariat tied at the pony's side
By my stout right arm that's true and tried,
We race with the whistling wind.

We're up and away in the morning light
As swift as a shooting star,
That suddenly flies across the sky,
And the wild birds whirl in quick surprise
At the cowboy's gay "Hurrah!"

As free as a bird o'er the rolling sea
We skim the pasture wide,
Like a seagull song we hurry along,
And the earth resounds with a galloping song
As we sail through the fragrant tide.

You can have your ride in the crowded town!
Give me the prairies free.
Where the curlews fly and the coyotes cry,
And the heart expands 'neath the open sky:
Oh, that's the ride for me!


Lord, pleaae help me, lend me Thine ear,
The prayer of a troubled cowman to hear.
No doubt my prayer to you may seem strange,
But I want you to bless my cattle range.

Bless the roundups year by year;
Please then don't forget the growmg steer.
Water the land with brooks and rills
For my cattle that roam on a thousand hills.

Now O Lord, if you'll be so good,
See that my stock has plenty of food.
Our mountains are peaceful, the prairies serene,
Oh Lord, for the cattle, please keep them green.

Prairie fires, won't you please stop?
Make thunder roll and water to drop,
It frightens me to see the dread smoke,
Unless it is stopped, I'm bound to go dead broke

As you, O Lord, my fine herds behold
They represent a sack of pure gold,
I think that at least five cents on the pound
Would be a good price forbeef the year round.

One thing more, and then I'll be through,
Instead of one calf let my cows have two,
I may pray different from all other men
But I've had my say, and now, amen.

Crooked Trail To Holbrook (Arizonio)

Come all you jolly cowboys, who follow the bronco steer 
I'll sing to you a verse or two your spirits for to cheer 
I'll tell you all about a trip that I did undergo 
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o. 

On February the seventeenth our herd it started out. 
It would have made you shudder to hear them bawl and shout. 
As wild as any buffalo that ever roamed the Platte, 
The cattle we were driving, and every one was fat. 

We crossed the Mescal Mountains and how the wind did blow.
 A blizzard was ii-raging and the pass was deep in snow. 
But the pointers kept'em headed and the drag men pushed'em 
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o. 

One night we hiid a stampede -Lord, how the cattle run! 
We made it to our borses, but boys it was no fun. 
Over prickly peir and catclaw brush we quickly made our way, 
We thought of'our long joumey and the girls we left one day. 

When we got to Gilson Flats, tbe wind did surely blow. 
It blew so hard and blew so fierce, we knew not where to go. 
But our spirits never failed us an onward we did go 
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o.

It's along by Sombrero we slowly punched along
While each and every puncher would sing a hearty song
To cheer up all his comrades as onward we did go
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o.

We crossed the rugged Mogollon where tall pine forests grow
The grass was in abundance and rippling streams did flow
Our packs were always turning, of course our gait was slow
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o.

At last we got to Holbrook and a little breeze did blow
It blew up sand and pebbles and it didn't blow them slow,
We had to drink the water from that muddy little stream
And swallowed a peck of gravel when we trid to eat a bean

And when the herd was sold and shipped and homeward we were bound
With as tired a string of horses as ever could be found
Across the reservation, no danger did we fear,
We thought of wives and sweethearts, the ones we loved so dear.

We're now back in Globe City, our friendships there to share
Here's luck to every puncher who follows the bronco steer
My best advice to you, boys,is try and never go
On the crooked trail to Holbrook, in Arizon-i-o.
Break time.

Custer's Last Charge

Just before brave Custer's charge
Two soldiers drew their reins,
With parting words and clasping hands
That they might never meet again.
One was a tall and slendery lad,
and had trusted in the one
that he loved so best, so well,
For she's all this world to him.

"Upon my breast I have a face,
I'll wear it in a fight;
A face that is all this world to me
For she cherished a lovely smile,
And little have I cared for another face
Since she promised to be my wife.

"Will you write to her, Charlie, when I am gone,
Send back that fair fond face,
And tell her how gently I died
And where was my resting place."
Tears filled the eyes of the blue-eyed boy
And his sad heart filled with pain.
"I'll do your bidding, brave comrade mine,
If I never do meet again.

"But if I get killed will you ride back
And do as much for me?
I have a mother who's waiting at home
And she's all the world to me.
One by one she lost us all,
She lost both husband and son,
And I was the last that our country called
and she kissed me and sent me on."

Just then the order came up to charge,
With an instant clasp of hands,
And on and on they rode,
This brave and devoted band.
They returned from the hill but they could not gain
for out of the gathering doom
Where the Indians shot like hail
And they poured out death on Custer's ranks
And scalped them as they fell.

Among the dead who were left behind
Was a boy with curly hair,
And the cold dark form that rode by his side
Lay dead beside him there.
No one was left to tell the blue-eyed girl
The last words that her lover had said,
But the aged mother who's waiting at home
Will learn that her boy is dead.




I staked my claim out in the West when I was but a boy.
I was out there all alone, no happiness or joy.
I had to fight the Indians as over the plain they roamed.
Old Paint and I we just got back and called that place our home.

We started rustling cattle, just rounding up the strays.
In the saddle all the time, just riding night and day.
And in the stars we trusted them to guide us over the plains,
To guide us back to our old shack with four strays home again.

As I rode out from camp one night a storm was raging high,
The sound of hoofbeats caught my ear, I heard a human cry.
I sat up in my saddle, I turned Old Paint around,
I saw a dying cowgirl a-lying on the ground.

I knelt beside that dying girl, I tried to say a prayer.
I hoped that God in all his love could hear me pleading there.
I saw her blue eyes open, she smiled at me so sweet.
She said that she would wait for me up there where cowhands meet.

And now she sleeps out yonder, out on that lonely range,
Where all the stars watch over her until we meet again



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Oh, the Devil in hell they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained;
He neither complained nor did he groan,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being shut in a prison pen;
So he asked the Lord if He had any sand
Left over from making this great land.

The Lord He said, "Yes, I have plenty on hand,
But it's away down south on the Rio Grande,
And, to tell you the truth, the stuff is so poor
I doubt if 'twill do for hell any more."
The Devil went down and looked over the truck,
And he said if it came as a gift he was stuck,
For when he'd examined it carefully and well
He decided the place was too dry for a hell.

But the Lord just to get the stuff off His hands
He promised the Devil He'd water the land,
For he had some old water that was of no use,
A regular bog hole that stunk like the deuce.
So the grant it was made and the deed it was given;
The Lord He returned to His place up in heaven.
The Devil soon saw he had everything needed
To make up a hell and so he proceeded.

He scattered tarantulas over the roads,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sands with millions of ants
So the man that sits down must wear soles on his pants.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steer,
And added an inch to the jack rabbit's ear;
He put water puppies in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks he put rattlesnakes.

He hung thorns and brambles on all of the trees,
He mixed up the dust with jiggers and fleas;
The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you by buzzing his wings.
The heat in the summer's a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the Devil and too hot for men;
And all who remained in that climate soon bore
Cuts, bites, stings, and scratches, and blisters galore.

He quickened the buck of the bronco steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede;
The wild boar roams in the black chaparral
It's a hell of a place that we've got for a hell.
He planted red pepper beside of the brooks;
The Mexicans use them in all that they cook.
Just dine with a Greaser and then you will shout,
"I've hell on the inside as well as the out! 







There was a noble ranger,
They called him Mustang Gray;
He left his home when but a youth,
Went ranging far away.

But he'll go no more a-ranging
The savage to affright;
He's beard his last war whoop
And fought his last fight.

He ne'er would sleep within a tent
No comforts would he know;
But like a brave old Tex-i-an
A-ranging he would go.

When Texas was invaded
By a mighty tyrant foe,
He mounted his noble war horse
And a-ranging he did go.

Once he was taken prisoner,
Bound in chains upon the way;
He wore the yoke of bondage
Through the streets of Monterey.

A senorita loved him
And followed by his side;
She opened the gates and gave to him
Her father's steed to ride.

God bless the senorita,
The belle of Monterey;
She opened wide the prison door
And let him ride away.

And when this veteran's life was spent,
It was his last command,
To bury him on Texas soil
On the banks of the Rio Grande.

And there the lonely traveler,
When passing by his grave,
Will shed a farewell tear
O'er the bravest of the brave.

Now he'll go no more a-ranging,
The savage to affright;
He's heard his last war whoop
and fought his last fight.

At the line camp.

My Ma Was Born In Texas

My ma was born in Texas, My pa in Tennessee,
They were married in the summer of eighteen ninety-three.
They moved to California and that's where I was born,
In a rolling covered wagon on a bright September morn.

I grew up in my saddle, my play tow was a gun,
Shooting at the rattlesnakes was my idea of fun.
"Twas at the age of seventeen I left my happy home,
the open range was calling and my time had come to roam.

I met a fair young maiden, she's the flower of the plains,
I married her one morning, which showed I had no brains.
She said she was a maiden, but oh, how she had lied,
When the honeymoon was over, seven kids were by her side.

Oh, I was disappointed, bit I said I didn't mind.
I remained her husband, honest, true and kind,
Until one night I found her upon a strangers knee,
To be her long lost cousin he was introduced to me.

I knew that she was lying, so I pulled my gun and said,
"You're a low down, sneakin' coward," and I filled him full of lead.
The jury found me guilty and they sentenced me for life,
But I'm better of in prison than to live with such a wife.





Pop my whip and I bring the blood
I make the leaders take the mud;
We grab the wheels and we turn them around
One long, long pull and we're on hard ground.

cho: To me rol, to me rol, to my rideo
To me rol, to me rol, to my rideo
To my rideo, to my rudeo
To me rol, to me rol, to my rideo

On the fourteenth day of October-o
I hitched my team in order-o
To drive the hills of Saludio
To me rol, to me rol, to my rideo

When I got there the hills were steep,
'Twould make any tender-hearted person weep
To hear me cuss and pop my whip
And see my oxen pull and slip.

When I get home I'll have revenge,
I'll land my family among my friends.
I'll bid adieu to the whip and line
And drive no more in the wintertime.

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As you look at the picture that hangs on the wall
As you look at the arrow that hangs by its side,
You will say, "Tell a story, " you know there is one, "
Of a horse called Pattonio." The story's begun.

His hair, like a lady's, was glossy and fine,
He was reckless and proud but gentle and kind
His arched neck was covered with a dark, flowing mane
And they called him Pattonio, the pride of the plain.

The country was new and the settlers were scarce
The Indians on the war path were savage and fierce
Though scouts were sent out every day from the fort
Yet they never came back so we knew they were lost.

One day the captain said, "Fellows, someone must go
Across the dark borders of New Mexico."
A dozen young fellows straightway answered, "Here!"
But the captain spied me, I was standing quite near.

Pattonio was near me, his nose in my hand
Said the captain, "Your horse is the best in the land,
You're good for the ride, you're the lightest man here
On the back of that mustang you have nothing to fear."

Then, proud of my pony, I answered, "You know
Pattonio and I are both willing to go.
For speed and endurance I'II trust in my black
So they all shook my hand and I mounted his back.

Turned down the dark pathway, turned his head to the right
The black struck a trot and he kept it all night
When far back behind me I heard a shrill yell
And I knew that the redskins were right on my trail.

I reached down and jingled the bells on Pat's reins,
I spoke to Pattonio, I called him by name;
Pattonio then answered with a nod of his head
And his dark body lengthened and onward we sped.

We were leaving the redskins, the storv was plain
The arrows fell round us like hail and like rain,
Pattonio, he stumbled, I knew he was hurt,
But still he dashed onward and into the fort.

I delivered the message, then tried to dismount
But a pain in my foot was so bad I could not.
By good care and patience Pat and I soon were well
Of his death many years after I will not try to tell

As you look at the arrow that hangs on the wall
It went through my foot, saddle, stirrup, and all
On many fine horses I've since held the rein
But none like Pattonio, the pride of the plain.

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Come, all you young waddies, I'II sing you a song
Stand back from the wagon, stay where you belong
I've heard you observin' I'm fussy and slow,
While you're punchin' the cattle and I'm punchin' dough.

Now I reckon your stomach would grow to your back
If it wa'n't for the cook that keeps fillin' the slack
With the beans in the box and the pork in the tub
I'm a-wonderin' now, who would fill you with grub?

You think you're right handy with gun and with rope
But I've noticed you're bashful when usin' the soap
When you're rollin' your Bull for your brown cigarette
I been rollin' the dough for them biscuits you et.

When you're cuttin' stock, then I'm cuttin' a steak,
When you're wranglin' hosses, I'm wranglin' a cake.
When you're hazin' the dogies and battin' your eyes,
I'm hazin' dried apples that aim to be pies.

You brag about shootin' up windows and lights,
But try shootin' biscuits for twelve appetites;
When you crawl from your roll and the ground it is froze,
Then who biles the coffee that thaws out your nose?

In the old days the punchers took just what they got
It was sow-belly, beans, and the old coffee pot;
But now you come howlin' for pie and for cake,
Then you cuss at the cook for a good bellyache.

You say that I'm old, with my feet on the skids
Well, I'm tellin' you now that you're nothin' but kids
If you reckon your mounts are some snaky and raw,
Just try ridin herd on a stove that won't draw.

When you look at my apron, you're readin' my brand
Four-X, which is sign for the best in the land
On bottie or sack it sure stands for good luck,
So line up, you waddies, and wrangle your chuck.

No use to your snortin' and fightin' your head
If you like it with chili, just eat what I said:
For I aim to be boss of this end of the show
While you're punchin' cattle and I'm punchin' dough



(John Mills Hanson)

We're up in the morning at breaking of day,
The chuck wagon's busy, the thapjacks in play.
The herd is astir over hilside and vale
With the night riders crowding them onto the trail.

Come take up your cinches and shake out your reins,
Come wake your old bronco and break for the plains.
Come roust out your steers from the long chaparral
For the outfit is off to the railroad corral.

The sun circles upward, the steers as they plod
Are pounding to powder the hot prairie sod.
And it seems, as the dust makes you dizzy and sick
That we'll never reach noon and the cool shady creek.

But tie up your kerchief and ply up your nag
Come dry up your grumbles and try not to lag.
Come drive out your steers from the long chaparral
For we're far on the road to the railroad corral.

The afternoon shadows are starting to lean,
When the chuck wagon sticks in a marshy ravine.
The herd scatters farther than vision can look
You can bet all the punchers will help out the cook.

Come shake out your rawhide and shake it up fair
Come break your old bronco and take in your share.
Come roust out your steers from the long chapparal
For its all in the drive to the railroad corral.

But the longest of days must reach evening at last,
The hills are all climbed and the creeks are all passed.
The tired herd droops in the yellowing light
Let 'em loaf if they will, for the railroad's in sight.

So flap up your holster and snap up your belt
And strap up your saddle whose lap you have felt.
Good bye to the steers from the long chapparal
There's a town that's a trump by the railroad corral.

At the camp with bedrolls.


At the foot of yon mountain where the fountain doth flow
The greatest creation, where the soft wind doth blow
There lived a fair maiden, she's the one i adore
She's the one I would marry on the Red River Shore

I spoke to her kindly, saying, "Will you marry me?
My fortune's not great "No matter" said she
"Your beauty's a plenty, you're the one I adore,
You're the one I would marry on the Red River Shore".

I asked her old father would he giver her to me
"No sir, she shan't marry no cowboy" said he
So I jumped on my bronco and away I did ride,
And left my true love on the Red River side.

She wrote me a letter, and she wrote it so kind
And in this letter these words you could find
"Come back to me darling, you're the one I adore,
You're the on I would marry on the Red River Shore".

So I jumped on my bronco and away I did ride
To marry my true love on the Red River side
But her father the secret had learned
And gathered an army of twenty and four,
To fight this young cowboy on the Red River Shore.

I drew my six shooter, shooting round after round
Till six men were wounded and seven were down
No use of an army of twenty and four.
I'm bound for my true love on the Red River shore.



You go aboard of a leaky boat and sail for San Francisco
You've got to pump to keep her afloat: you have that, by jingo
The engine soon begins to squeak but nary thing to oil her
Impossible to stop the leak -- RIP goes the boiler

The captain on the promenade, looking very savage
Steward and the cabin maid fighting 'bout a cabbage
All about the cabin floor passengers lie sea-sick
Steamer's bound to go ashore -- RIP goes the physic

Pork and beans they can't afford to second-cabin passengers
The cook has tumbled overboard with forty pounds of "sassengers"
The engineer, a little tight, bragging on the Mail Line
Finally gets in a fight -- RIP goes the engine

Cholera begins to rage; a few have got the scurvy
Chickens dying in their cage; steerage topsy-turvy
When you get to Panama, greasers want a back-load
Officers begin to jaw -- RIP goes the railroad

When home you'll tell an awful tale, and always will be thinking
How long you had to pump and bail to keep the tub from sinking
Of course, you'll take a glass of gin; 't will make you feel so funny
Some city sharp will rope you in -- RIP goes your money


Come all you roving cowboys, bound down this lowly land
I'll tell to you a story, while you around me stand
I'm a going to quit this, wild west, it's a bleak and stormy plain
For I'm a thinking I will leave you to never return again.

So sweetheart, my dear sweetheart, for sure dear I can't get along
I left my dear old father, my country and my home
I left my dear old mother, to weep and to mourn
Go to be a roving cowboy, and with the cattle roam.

I left my friends and home so dear, with a many a parting tear
My father followed saying, my boy, my boy, I fear
May God protect and guide you, and leave you not alone
Or bring his roving cowboy, back to his native home.

This maiden fair and lovely, sits closely by my side
Tonight she promised faithful, that she would be my bride
So I kissed away a flowing tear, was dim to my blue eyes
I'll never forget my darling girl, I'll love her till I die.

I've tried the straits of rambling, I know their trial well
I've crossed the rocky mountain, where a many a brave boy fell
I've seen the far and distant countries, full of Indian, armed and wild
I'll never forget my dear old home, nor mother's sweetest smile.

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I'll sing you a song, though it may be a sad one,
Of trials and troubles and where first begun;
I left my dear fam'ly, my friends and my home,
To cross the wide mountains and deserts to roam.

I crossed the Missouri and joined a large train,
Which bore us over mountains, through valley and plain;
And often of an evening a-huntin' we'd go
To shoot the fleet antelope and wild buffalo.

We heard of Sioux Indians all out on the plains,
A-killing poor drivers and burning their trains,
A-killing poor drivers with arrows and bows,
When captured by Indians no mercy they'd show.

We traveled three weeks till we come to the Platte,_
A-pitching our tents at the head of the flat;
We spread down our blankets on the green shady ground
Where the mules and the horses were grazing around.

While taking refreshment, we heard a loud yell,
The whoops of Sioux Indians come up from the dell.
We sprang to our rifles with a flash in each eye _
And says our brave leader, "We'll fight till we die."

They made a bold dash and they come near our train
The arrows fell around us like showers of rain,
But with our long rifles we fed them hot lead
Till a-many a brave warrior around us lay dead.

We shot their bold chief at the head of their band,
He died like a warrior with his bow in his hand.
When they saw their brave chief lie dead in his gore
They whooped and they yelled and we saw them no more.

In our little band there were just twenty-four,
And of the Sioux Indians five hundred or more;
We fought them with courage, we spoke not a word;
The whoop of Sioux Indians was all could be heard.

We hooked up our horses and started our train;
Three more bloody battles this trip on the plain.
And in our last battle three of our brave boys fell,
And we left them to rest in the green shady dell.

County Bachelor)

My name is Frank Bolar, an old bach'lor I am
I'm keeping old batch on an elegant plan,
You'll find me out west in the County of Lane
Starving to death on my government claim.
My house it is built of the national soil
The walls are erected according to Hoyle,
The roof has no pitch, but is level and plane
And I never get wet till it happens to rain.

Then hurrah for Lane County, the land of the free
The home of the bedbug, mosquito and flea,
I'll sing loud her praises and never complain
While starving to death on my government claim.

My clothes they are ragged, my language is rough,
My bread is case-hardened, both solid and tough;
The dough it is scattered all over the room
And the floor would take fright at the sight of a broom.
My dishes are dirty, and some in the bed
Are covered with sorghum and government bread;
But I have a good time and I live at my ease
On common-sop sorghum, old bacon and grease.

Then hurrah for Lane County, the land of the West
Where the farmers and laborers are always at rest;
Where you've nothing to do but sweetly remain
And starve like a man on your government claim.

How happy am I when I crawl into bed
And a rattlesnake rattles a tune at my head;
And the gay little centipede, void of all fear
Crawls over my pillow ind into my ear.
And the nice little bedbug, so cheerful and bright
Keeps me a-scratching full half of the night,
And the gay little flea with toes sharp as a tack
Plays "why don't you catch me?" all over my back.

But hurrah for Lane County, where blizzards arise
Where the winds never cease and the flea never dies;
Where the sun is so hot if in it you remain,
'Twill burn you quite black on your government claim.

How happy am I on my government claim,
Where I've nothing to lose and nothing to gain;
Nothing to eat and nothing to wear,
Nothing from nothing is honest and square.
But here I am stuck, and here I must stay
My money's all gone, and I can't get away;
There's nothing to make a man hard and profane
Like starving to death on a government claim.

Then come to Lane County, there's room for you all
Where the winds never cease and the rains never fall.
Come join in the chorus, and boast of her fame
While starving to death on your government claim.
Now don't get discouraged, you poor hungry men,
We're all here as free as a pig in a pen;
Just stick to your homestead and battle your fleas
And pray to your Maker to send you a breeze.

Now a word to claim holders who are bound for to stay
You may chew on your hardtack till you're toothless and gray;
But as for me, I'll no longer remain
And starve like a dog on my government claim.
Then farewell to Lane County, farewell to the West
I'll travel back East to the girl I love best;
I'll stop in Missouri and get me a wife
And live on corn dodgers the rest of my life.



O, I'm a Texas cowboy and far away from home,
If I get back to Texas, I never more will roam.
Montana is too cold for me and the winters are too long
Before the roundups do begin, your money is all gone.

To win these fancy leggins, you'll have enough to do
They cost me twenty dollars the day that they were new;
And this old hen-skin bedding is too thin to keep me warm
I nearly freeze to death, boys, whenever there's a storm.

I've worked down in Nebraska where the grass grows ten feet high,
Where the cattle are such rustlers, they hardly ever die;
I've worked up in the Sand Hills and down along the Platte
Where the punchers are good fellows and the cattle always fat.

I've traveled lots of country, from Nebraska's hills of sand
Down through the Indian Nation and up the Rio Grande
But the badlands of Montana are the worst I've ever seen
The cowboys are all tenderfeet and the dogies are too lean.

They wake you in the morning before the break of day
And send you on a circle a hundred miles away,
Your grub is bread and bacon and coffee black as ink
And water so full of alkali it's hardly fit to drink.

If you want to see some badlands, go over to the Dry
You'll bog down in the coulees where the mountains meet the sky.
With a tenderfoot to guide you, who never knows the way
You are playing in the best of luck if you eat three times a day.

Up along the Yellowstone, it's cold the whole year round,
And you'll surely get consumption if you sleep upon the ground;
Your pay is almost nothing for six months in the year
And when your debts are settled, there's nothing left for beer.

Now all you Texas cowboys, this warning take from me,
Don't come up to Montana to spend your money free.
But stay at home in Texas where there's work the whole year round
And you'll never get consumption from sleeping on the ground.




Come all ye Texas Rangers wherever you may be,
I'll tell to you a story that happened unto me.
One night the age of fifteen years I joined a royal band,
We marched from San Antonio unto the Rio Grande.

And yet the captain told us,
Perhaps he thought it right,
" Before we reach the station, boys,
I'm sure we'll have to fight"'

We saw the Indians coming,
We heard them give their yell;
My feelings at that moment
No tongue could ever tell.

We saw their glittering lances,
Their arrows round us hailed.
My heart was sink (sic) within me,
My courage almost failed.

I thought of my old mother,
Who in tears to me did say:
"To you they all are strangers,
With me you'd better stay."

I thought her weak and childish,
And that she did not know,
For I was bent on roaming
And I was bound to go.

We fought them full five hours
Before the fight gave o'er.
Three hundred of our soldiers
Lay weltering in their gore.

Three hundred noble rangers
As ever trod the West,
We laid them by their comrades,
Sweet peace to be their rest.

Perhaps you have a mother,
Likewise a sister too,
And maybe so a sweetheart
To weep and mourn for you.

If this should be your condition,
And you are bound to roam,
I advise you from experience
You'd better stay at home.


I made up my mind to change my way
To leave the crowd that was too gay,
And leave my native home awhile
And travel west for many a mile.

It was in the merry month of May
When I started for Texas far away,
I left my darling girl behind
She said her heart was only mine.

When I embraced her in my arms
I thought she had ten thousand charms
Her caresses soft, her kisses sweet
Saying,"We'll get married next time we meet."

It was in the year of '83
That A.J. Stinson hired me
He said,"Young man, I want you to go
And follow my herd into Mexico."

Well, it was early in the year
When I volunteered to drive the steers
I can tell you boys, it was a lonesome go
As the herd rolled on toward Mexico.

When I arrived in Mexico
I longed for my girl, but I could not go
So I wrote a letter to my dear
But not a word did I ever hear.

I started back to my once-loved home
Inquired for the girl I called my own,
They said she'd married a richer life
"Therefore, cowboy, seek another wife."

"O, curse your gold and your silver, too,
O, curse the girls that don't prove true.
I'll go right back to the Rio Grande
And get me a job with a cowboy band."

She said,"Oh, buddy, stay at home
Don't be forever on the roam.
There's many a girl more true than I
So please don't go where the bullets fly."

"Yes, I know girls more true than you
And I know girls who would prove true;
But I'll go back where the bullets fly
And follow the cow trail 'til I die."

Trouble For the Range Cook

Come wrangle your bronco and saddle him quick!
The cook is in trouble down there by the creek!
Oh, cinch up your latigoes all of your runts,
And pull 'em so tight that your 'ol bronco grunts.
We'll need all the punchers the foreman can send,
'Cuz the chuckwagons mired down there by the bend.

The cattle are scattering all over the plain,
While the punchers are yelling in language profane!
But let 'em spread out-for the cooks in a muss,
And quicksand's are causing the fellow to cuss.
Oh, this is the time every puncher's his friend,
'Cuz the chuckwagon's mired down there by the bend!

Come with your ropes that are heavy and stout!
No grub for the bunch till the wagon's pulled out!
It's in to the hubs and sinking down slow,
And cookie is a cussin' and watching it go!
Come, hustle, you punchers and haul him to land,
Before we are conquered by water and sand!

A-straining of ropes and a-grunting of nags,
And woe to the puncher whose lariat sags!
It's spur them and quirt them and make them lay to-
And now she is moving! And now she is through!
It's worth all the time and effort required,
'Cuz it's nothing to eat when the chuckwagon is mired!

Tying Knots In the Devil's Tail

Away up high in the Sierra Peaks,
Where the yellow pines stand tall,
Ol' Sandy Bob and Buster Jig
Had a rodeer camp last fall.
Oh, they taken their horses and running irons,
And maybe a dawg or two,
And they 'lowed they'd brand all the long eared calves,
That come within their view.

And any old long eared dogie that flapped long ears,
And didn't brush up by day,
Got his long ears whittled and his old hid scortched, 
In a most artistic way.
Now one fine day old Sandy Bob,
He throwed his soogun down,
"I'm sick of the smell of burnin' hair,
And I 'lows I'm a-going to town."

So they saddled up and hits a lope,
For it weren't no site of a ride,
And them was the days a Buckeroo
Could oil up his inside.
Oh, they starts her in at the Kentucky Bar,
At the head of Whisky Row,
And they winds up down by the Depot House,
Some forty drinks below.

They then sets up and turns around,
And goes her the other way,
And to tell you the Gawd-forsaken truth,
Them boys got stewed that day.
As they was a ridin' back to camp,
A packin' a pretty good load,
Who should they meet but the Devil himself,
A-prancin' down the road.

Says he, "You ornery cowboy skunks,
You'd better hunt your holes,
For I've come up from Hell's Rim Rock,
To gather in your souls."
Says Sandy Bob, "Old Devil be durned,
We boys is kinda tight,
But you aint a-goin' to gather no cowboy souls,
'Thout you has some kind of a fight."

So Sand Bob punched a hole in his rope,
And he swang her straight and true,
He lapped it on to the Devil's horns,
And he taken his dallies too.
Now Buster Jig was a riata man,
With his gut line coiled up neat,
So  he shaken her out an' he built him a loop,
And he lassoed the Devil's hind feet.

Oh, they stretched him out an' they tailed him down,
While the irons was a gettin' hot,
They cropped and swallow forked his ears,
Then they branded him up a lot.
They pruned him up with a de-hornin' saw
And they knotted his tail for a joke,
They then rode off and left him there,
Necked to a Black-Jack oak.

If you're ever up high in the Sierra Peaks,
And you hear one hell of a wail,
You'll know its the Devil a-bellerin' around,
About them knots in his tail.




The Wagoner's Lad

My horses ain't hungry, they won't eat your hay,
It's farewell dear Polly, I'm riding away:
Your parents despise me 'cause I'm over poor;
They say I ain't fittin' to enter your door!

I'm just a poor cowboy, I don't own no herd;
I ain't got much money, but give you my word,
I'm handy at roping up poor loneful strays,
And we'll sure be rich 'fore the end of our days.

Dear Polly, you promised to be my own wife,
You vowed for to wed me and share all through life,
So mind you words, Polly, I've not long to stay:
Please pack up your duds and we'll ride far away!

You know I'm your Polly, your sweet loving dear;
Cause my kin despise you, don't you have a fear.
Just calm down your feelings and raise up your head;
I know you're the fittin' man for me to wed.

Yes, Tom, I'll go with you, though you're poor, I'm told,
But it's love I'm wanting, not silver or gold-
Tie on my belongings, we'll ride till we come
To some far off cabin, and there make our home!

I mourn for to leave maw, she treats me so fine,
But I've given my promise to you, cowboy mine!
So I'll bid good-bye to my parents this day,
Then we'll mount our ponies and lope far away.

Far over the mountains we'll come to a rest
In a pretty valley, and build us a nest:
We'll raise a big herd, and a fine family,
And live our lives there, Tom, all happily!




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