Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Miller, AR 9/5/61

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As I rode by Tom Sherman’s barroom,
Tom Sherman’s barroom quite early one morn,
I spied a young cowboy all dressed in his buckskins,
All dressed in his buckskins, nor fit for the grave.

Chorus: “Oh, beat the drum lowly and play the fife slowly;
Keep up a dead march as you bear me along.
Take me out on the prairie and fire a volley o’er me,
For I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong.”

“Oh, once in the saddle, I used to go dashing.
Oh, once o'er the prairie I used to ride gay,
But I first took to drinking and then to card playing.
Got shot by a gambler, and I’m dying today.”


“Go write me a letter to my gray-headed mother,
And state the sad news to my sister so dear,
But there is another that’s dearer than a mother,
And bitterly she’d weep if she knew I was here.”


“Somebody go bring me a glass of cool water,
A glass of cool water,” the dying boy said.
They brought him some water; some words he did mutter.
A gasp and the dying cowboy was dead.


(Comment by Mrs. Riddle: “There’s another verse I left out. You want it on there?”
Dr. Wolf: “Yes, put it on.”)

“Oh, bury beside me my knife and six-shooter,
My spurs on my heel, and my rifle by my side,
And on my coffin place a bottle of brandy
That the cowboys may drink as so merrily they ride.”


Also found in Belden, p. 392, “The Unfortunate Rake.”

All Songs Recorded by John Quincy Wolf, Jr., unless otherwise noted

The John Quincy Wolf Folklore Collection
Lyon College, Batesville, Arkansas
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