Slipjigs and Reels
He was barely a man in his grandfather's coat, Sewn into the lining was a ten shilling note, Goodbye to the family, farewell to the shore, 'Til I taste good fortune you'll see me no more. Now the ships on the ocean it tossed like a cork, Then one fine summers morning they sighted New York, He stood on the gangplank and breathed the air, Saying "Hello land of plenty I've come for my share". Chorus And he did like the ladies, and the rise and the fall, Of their ankles and their dresses down on the dance floor, And the roll of the dice and the spin of the wheel, But he took most delight in the slipjigs and reels.
There was talk of a pistol and some say a knife, But all are agreed there was somebody's wife, A dreadful commotion a terrible fight, He left one man dead and ran into the night. On a train to St. Louis just one jump ahead, He slept one eye open and a six-gun in bed, He dreamt of the mountains and green fields of home, Crossing the plains where the buffalo roam.
A bad reputation's a hard thing to bear, Mothers pour scorn and young children they stare, So he found consolation in flash company, Your life ain't so bad with a girl on each knee. Oh they called him "The Kid" and by twenty one, All that he knew was the power of the gun, And by twenty-three he'd shot five men down, Who got in his way as he rambled around.
There's bones on the desert and buzzards that fly, In the highest of circles just wishing he'd die, But in matters of cruelty it must be said, A landlord will pick your bones before you're dead. It was wild Mescaleros I heard someone say, In the deadliest ambush near old Sante Fe, A young buck was taken all dressed in a coat, And inside the lining a ten shilling note.