Cowboy Songs & Frontier Ballads

Cowboys from the Raton, New Mexico area drive 500 head of cattle along  the Dry Cimarron to Des Moines, New Mexico by Kathy Weiser.

Cowboys from the Raton, New Mexico area drive 500 head of cattle along the Dry Cimarron to Des Moines, New Mexico by Kathy Weiser. Click for prints & products.

Hard Times

Come listen a while and I’ll sing you a song
Concerning the times — it will not be long —
When everybody is striving to buy,
And cheating each other, I cannot tell why, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

From father to mother, from sister to brother,
From cousin to cousin, they’re cheating each other.
Since cheating has grown to be so much the fashion,
I believe to my soul it will run the whole Nation, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

Now there is the talker, by talking he eats,
And so does the butcher by killing his meats.
He’ll toss the steelyards, and weigh it right down,
And swear it’s just right if it lacks forty pounds, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there is the merchant, as honest, we’re told.
Whatever he sells you, my friend, you are sold;
Believe what I tell you, and don’t be surprised
To find yourself cheated half out of your eyes, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there is the lawyer you plainly will see,
He will plead your case for a very large fee,
He’ll law you and tell you the wrong side is right,
And make you believe that a black horse is white, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there is the doctor, I like to forgot,
I believe to my soul he’s the worst of the lot;
He’ll tell you he’ll cure you for half you possess,
And when you’re buried he’ll take all the rest, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there’s the old bachelor, all hated with scorn,
He’s like an old garment all tattered and torn,
The girls and the widows all toss him a sigh,
And think it quite right, and so do I, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there’s the young widow, coquettish and shy,
With a smile on her lips and a tear in her eye,
But when she gets married she’ll cut quite a dash,
She’ll give him the reins and she’ll handle the cash, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there’s the young lady I like to have missed,
And I believe to my soul she’d like to be kissed;
She’ll tell you she loves you with all pretence
And ask you to call again some time hence, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

And there’s the young man, the worst of the whole.
Oh, he will tell you with all of his soul,
He’ll tell you he loves you and for you will die,
And when he’s away he will swear it’s a lie, —
And it’s hard, hard times.

Hell in Texas postcard.

Hell in Texas postcard. Click to see larger version.

Hell In Texas

The devil, we’re told, in hell was chained,
And a thousand years he there remained;
He never complained nor did he groan,
But determined to start a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Without being chained in a prison pen.
So he asked the Lord if he had on hand
Anything left when he made the land.

The Lord said, “Yes, I had plenty on hand,
But I left it down on the Rio Grande;
The fact is, old boy, the stuff is so poor
I don’t think you could use it in hell anymore.”
But the devil went down to look at the truck,
And said if it came as a gift he was stuck;
For after examining it carefully and well
He concluded the place was too dry for hell.

So, in order to get it off his hands,
The Lord promised the devil to water the lands;
For he had some water, or rather some dregs,
A regular cathartic that smelled like bad eggs.
Hence the deal was closed and the deed was given
And the Lord went back to his home in heaven.
And the devil then said, “I have all that is needed
To make a good hell,” and hence he succeeded.

He began to put thorns in all of the trees,
And mixed up the sand with millions of fleas;
And scattered tarantulas along all the roads;
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads.
He lengthened the horns of the Texas steers,
And put an addition on the rabbit’s ears;
He put a little devil in the broncho steed,
And poisoned the feet of the centipede.

The rattlesnake bites you, the scorpion stings,
The mosquito delights you with buzzing wings;
The sand-burrs prevail and so do the ants,
And those who sit down need half-soles on their pants.
The devil then said that throughout the land
He’d managed to keep up the devil’s own brand,
And all would be mavericks unless they bore
The marks of scratches and bites and thorns by the score.

The heat in the summer is a hundred and ten,
Too hot for the devil and too hot for men.
The wild boar roams through the black chaparral, —
It’s a hell of a place he has for a hell.
The red pepper grows on the banks of the brook;
The Mexicans use it 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!”

Texas Rangers, 1890

Texas Rangers, 1890

Here’s To the Ranger

He leaves unplowed his furrow,
He leaves his books unread
For a life of tented freedom
By lure of danger led.
He’s first in the hour of peril,
He’s gayest in the dance,
Like the guardsman of old England
Or the beau sabreur of France.

He stands our faithful bulwark
Against our savage foe;
Through lonely woodland places
Our children come and go;
Our flocks and herds untended
O’er hill and valley roam,
The Ranger in the saddle
Means peace for us at home.

Behold our smiling farmsteads
Where waves the golden grain!
Beneath yon tree, earth’s bosom
Was dark with crimson stain.
That bluff the death-shot echoed
Of husband, father, slain!
God grant such sight of horror
We never see again!

The gay and hardy Ranger,
His blanket on the ground,
Lies by the blazing camp-fire
While song and tale goes round;
And if one voice is silent,
One fails to hear the jest,
They know his thoughts are absent
With her who loves him best.

Our state, her sons confess it,
That queenly, star-crowned brow,
Has darkened with the shadow
Of lawlessness ere now;
And men of evil passions
On her reproach have laid,
But that the ready Ranger
Rode promptly to her aid.

He may not win the laurel
Nor trumpet tongue of fame;
But beauty smiles upon him,
And ranchmen bless his name.
Then here’s to the Texas Ranger,
Past, present and to come!
Our safety from the savage,
The guardian of our home.

Cattle on the Range

Cattle on the Range

Home On the Range

Oh, give me a home where the buffalo roam,
Where the deer and the antelope play,
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Where the air is so pure, the zephyrs so free,
The breezes so balmy and light,
That I would not exchange my home on the range
For all of the cities so bright.

The red man was pressed from this part of the West,
He’s likely no more to return
To the banks of Red River where seldom if ever
Their flickering camp-fires burn.

How often at night when the heavens are bright
With the light from the glittering stars,
Have I stood here amazed and asked as I gazed
If their glory exceeds that of ours.

Oh, I love these wild flowers in this dear land of ours,
The curlew I love to hear scream,
And I love the white rocks and the antelope flocks
That graze on the mountain-tops green.

Oh, give me a land where the bright diamond sand
Flows leisurely down the stream;
Where the graceful white swan goes gliding along
Like a maid in a heavenly dream.

Then I would not exchange my home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.

Home, home on the range,
Where the deer and the antelope play;
Where seldom is heard a discouraging word
And the skies are not cloudy all day.