The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11491   Message #3438524
Posted By: GUEST,Chuck Sears
19-Nov-12 - 06:01 AM
Thread Name: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
When we bought our first wind-up Victrola in 1928 we bought a few 78 rpm records with it, and "Hobo Bill's Last Ride" was one of them. I don't know the singer's name, or the brand of the record. Most of them were RCA Victor, Brunswick, or Columbia, but this one may have been something else.

I loved the song. And I loved the lonely, sad sound of the train whistle. It wasn't a vocal imitation, it was an actual recording of a train whistle. It was so much like the train whistle we could hear late at night when the freight train approached the crossing about 2 miles from our house, 'way out in the country.

The lyrics offered by Gene, above, 11 Jun 99, are very close to what I remember. I suspect ours was the original Jimmie Rodgers recording. The one from 1975 may have been a different recording that had some slight changes in the lyrics. I can offer one possible minor correction. I don't think he raised a weak and weary hand to brush away the cold. I think it was to brush away the coal. Listening, it's hard to tell. I may be wrong.

Several years ago at the Senior Center in Yuma, Arizona, a local musician entertained us during lunch, and one of the songs he sang was "Hobo Billy" (as it is sometimes called). He sang the words exactly as I remember them, and in a good imitation of the same style so I assume he must have learned the song from the same original recording. He was selling cassettes which included his rendition of "Hobo Bill's Last Ride" and I could kick myself for not buying one. I don't know his name. But the experience encourages me to believe that there are survivors of the original Jimmie Rodgers recording out there somewhere.