TOM SHERMAN’S BARROOM
(THE DYING COWBOY; THE UNFORTUNATE RAKE)
Sung by: Almeda Riddle
Recorded in Miller, AR 9/5/61
Click here to listen to the original recording
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.”