Cowboy Songs & Frontier Ballads

Cowboy Singing, Thomas Eakins, 1892

Cowboy Singing, Thomas Eakins, 1892

Cowboys and pioneers spent a lot of slow moving time on the range and on the many trails westward. To pass the time, numerous songs and ballads were made up and sung along the way. For the vast majority of these historic lyrics, the author is unknown and many versions often existed.

What keeps the herd from running,
Stampeding far and wide?
The cowboy’s long, low whistle,
And singing by their side.

Cowboy Songs:

Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona, 1882

Allen Street, Tombstone, Arizona, 1882

Arizona Killer

I killed a man in Dallas,
And another in Cheyenne
But when I killed the man in Tombstone
I overplayed my hand.

I rode all night for Tucson
To rob the Robles Mine
And I left old Arizona
With a posse right behind.

I rode across the border
And there it did not fail
The men that was a-follerin’ me
They soon did lose my trail;

They galloped back to Tucson
To get the Cavalry
While I stayed on in Mexico
Enjoying liberty;

Ayi-ha, enjoyed my liberty
I promised my Rosita
A pretty dress of blue
She said, “You’d go and get it.”

Cowboy to the Bone - T-shirt

Available at Legends’ General Store in multiple colors and sizes.

So I went back to the border
Just to get that gal a dress
I killed a man in Guaymas
And two in Nogales;

But the posse was a-waitin’
To get me on the trail
Now in Tombstone I’m a layin’
In the Cochise County jail;

They-re gonna hang me in the morning
A’fore this night is done
They’re gonna hang me in the mornin’
And I’ll never see the sun

I want to warn you fellers
And tell you one by one
What makes a gallows rope to swing
A woman and a gun

3 thoughts on “Cowboy Songs & Frontier Ballads”

  1. When I was a lad I saw hop along Cassidy in dublins Croke park . He threw the ball in for a hurling match.his real name of course was William Boyd, and he was in fact from Northern Ireland.

  2. Wow, this is a great sight. Thanks for the cowboy song lyrics. Now to find the music to go along.
    I have some but most of the songs look like poems put to music.
    I am glad these songs won’t be lost.
    Harp gal

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