The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #6228   Message #36361
Posted By: rich r
29-Aug-98 - 11:22 AM
Thread Name: Lyr Req: Gold Miners' Songs (American)
Subject: Lyr Add: ROOT HOG, OR DIE (Colorado version)^^
ROOT HOG, OR DIE (Colorado gold rush version)

Way our upon the Patte, near Pike's Peak we were told,
There by a little digging, we could get a pile of gold,
So we bundled up our duds, resolved at least to try
And tempt old Madam Fortune, root hog, or die.

So we travelled across the country, and we got upon the ground,
But cold weather was ahead, the first thing we found,
We bult our shanties on the ground, resolved in spring to try,
To gather up the dust and slugs, root hog, or die.

Speculation is the fashion even at this early stage,
And corner lots and big hotels appear to be the rage,
The emigration's bound to come, and to greet them we will try,
Big pig, little pig, root hog, or die.

Let shouts resound, the cup pass 'round, we all came for gold
The politicians are all gas, the speculators sold,
The "scads" are all we want, and to get them we will try,
Big pig, little pig, root hog, or die.

Surveyors now are at their work, laying off the towns,
And some will be of low degree, and some of high renown.
They don't care a jot nor tittle who do buy
The corner lots, or any lots, root hog, or die.

The doctors are among us, you can find them where you will,
They say their trade it is to cure, I say it is to kill;
They'll dose you and they'll physic you, until you make a sigh,
And their powders and their lotions make you root hog, or die.

The next in turn comes lawyers, a precious set are they,
In the public dairy they drink the milk, their clients drink ther whey
A cunning set these fellows are, they'll sap you till you're dry,
And never leave you till they have to root hog, or die.

A preacher now is all we want, to make us all do good,
But at present, there's no lack of spiritual food,
The kind I refer to will make you laugh or cry,
And it's real name is Taos, root hog, or die.

I have finished now my song, or if you please, my ditty
And that it was not shorter is about the only pity.
And now that I have had my say, don't say I've told a lie,
For the subject I've touched will make us root hog, or die.

words by A. O. McGrew
tune "Root Hog Or Die" by G.W.H. Griffin

The Colorado (or Pike's Peak) goldrush was based on a little bit of fact, the discovery of some gold outcroppings and the mineral wealth of Colorado. But mostly it was fueled by businessmen and land speculators whose Colorado holding weren't moving very well. They planted newspaper articles and took out adds in places like Kansas City & Omaha & Independence. The efffective PR campaign induced tens of thousands to "cross the wide prairie" with "Pike's Peak of Bust!" crudely lettered on their covered wagons. It was "bust" for most of them. The wealth was their but not accessible to pick and pan mining. The big money was made much later by using power tools and dynamite. The westward trek became a chaotic eastward retreat and the signs now read "Busted, By Gosh!"