The Railroad Corral
(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.
Note: First published as "Cowboy Song" in 1910. Lomax, apparently
not aware of the source, included it in his first collection
of cowboy songs. RG
From He Was Singin' This Song, Tinsley