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Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride

DigiTrad:
HALLELUJAH I'M A BUM
HALLELUJAH, I'M A BUM 2
HOBO'S LULLABY


Related threads:
(origins) Origins: Last Ride / Hobo's Last Ride (12)
(origins) Origins: Hallelujah I'm a Bum (26)
(origins) Origins: It's A Big Bum I Am/Best Hobo Man (9)
Origins: Hobo's Lullaby (Goebel Reeves) (10)
Lyr Add: I Just Don't Want to Be Rich (Sam Hinton) (15)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Hobo's Last Letter (13)
(origins) Origins: The hobo built the right-of-way (3)


SeanM 10 Jun 99 - 11:43 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 10 Jun 99 - 11:51 PM
catspaw49 11 Jun 99 - 12:55 AM
Frank of Toledo 11 Jun 99 - 01:27 AM
Tiger 11 Jun 99 - 12:51 PM
Gene 11 Jun 99 - 01:58 PM
Frank of Toledo 11 Jun 99 - 02:16 PM
murray@mpce.mq.edu.au 12 Jun 99 - 05:37 AM
katlaughing 16 Aug 12 - 11:33 PM
Mrrzy 17 Aug 12 - 01:28 AM
catspaw49 17 Aug 12 - 01:02 PM
Mark Ross 17 Aug 12 - 02:31 PM
GUEST,Chuck Sears 19 Nov 12 - 06:01 AM
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Subject: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: SeanM
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 11:43 PM

Hello all... I'm trying to track down background info on a song... the particular is 'Hobo Bill's Last Ride'. I have it lised as being written by Waldo Lafayette O'Neil. I have full lyrics, I'm just trying to fulfill my deep curiousity.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 10 Jun 99 - 11:51 PM

I have a cassette of Jimmie Rodgers doing that song. The notes credit it to Waldo O'Neal. This particular recording is made in 1929, and I think it is one of the best things Rodgers has done. According to the notes, the song was written for Rodgers.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 12:55 AM

You may be right about Jimmie Rodgers best. I've always loved railroad songs and Jimmie did so many, but "Hobo Bill" is up there in the top group!

catspaw


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 01:27 AM

This is a true railroad classic, I can listen to Jimmie Rodgers singing this over and over and I also really like Cisco Houston's 1953 version, which is quite like Jimmie Rodgers'. Cisco shows his great admiration for the singing breakman. On a mid seventies recording Merle Haggard pays tribute to Jimmie Rodgers on the Capitol Release, "Sam Train, Different Time", and his version of Hobo Bill's Last Ride is a classis in its own right. I love to sing this song; but the only problem for me is I get pretty carried away and even try to yodel....Oh Well Jerry Jeff couldn't yodel either.......


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: Tiger
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 12:51 PM

Listen to "Night Rider's Lament" and you'll see that Jerry Jeff can yodel fine. BTW, I concur on the Jimmie Rodgers version of Hobo Bill.


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Subject: Lyr/Chords Add:HOBO BILL'S LAST RIDE (J Rodgers)
From: Gene
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 01:58 PM

Didn't see it in the database...
Here's what it sounds like to me...

HOBO BILL'S LAST RIDE
Recorded by: Jimmie Rodgers
Writer: Elsie McWilliams and Jimmie Rodgers

Yodel: [C] Ho-o-[G7] bo-o [C] Bil-ly!

[C] Riding on an east bound freight train
[F] Speeding thru the [C] night
[F] Hobo Bill, a [C] railroad bum
Was [D7] fighting for his [G7] life
The [C] sadness of his eyes revealed
The [F] torture of his [C] soul
He [F] raised a weak and [C] weary hand
To [G7] brush away the [C] cold.

Yodel: [C] Ho-o-[G7] bo-o [C] Bil-ly!

No warm lights flickered around him
No blankets there to fold
Nothing but the howling wind
And the driving rain so cold
When he heard a whistle blowing
In a dreamy kind of way
The hobo seemed contented
For he smiled there where he lay.

Yodel: Ho-o-bo-o Bi-ll!

Outside the rain was falling
On that lonely boxcar door
But the little form of Hobo Bill
Lay still upon the floor
While the train sped thru the darkness
And the raging storm outside
No one knew that Hobo Bill
Was taking his last ride.

[TRAIN WHISTLE SOUND]

It was early in the morning
When they raised the hobo's head
The smile still lingered on his face
But Hobo Bill was dead
There was no mother's longing
To soothe his weary soul
For he was just a railroad bum
Who died out in the cold.

[TRAIN WHISTLE SOUND]

SOURCE:
ALL ABOUT TRAINS/HANK SNOW & JIMMIE RODGERS
1975 RCA records ANL1-1052


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: Frank of Toledo
Date: 11 Jun 99 - 02:16 PM

I really like Jerry Jeff's Night Rider's Lament, and it was kind of a " kind' joke about his yodeling. Jerry handles the yodel just a bit different than a lot of folks. Mike Burton's composition was done by many people and every one of them is good.....Bok, Muir & Trickett, Suzy Boggus and on the Nancy Griffith version Don Edwards puts the emphasis on yodeling. No offense Tiger, I have quite a few of Jerry's older albums and I play them quite often. Also Ian Tyson covered that song........


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Subject: RE: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: murray@mpce.mq.edu.au
Date: 12 Jun 99 - 05:37 AM

I think the train whistle is a lot harder than the yodel! I saw a video with Pete Seeger singing the Blues Yodel #1 ("T for Texas"). He does a nice job; but he ruins it by the unsucessful attempt to make a train noise. I don't think Rodgers had a train whistle in that one anyway.

By the way there is a video with Rodgers singing three songs. He has a beautiful little Martin guitar with his name inlaid on the fingerboard. He sings three songs: "Waiting for a Train" which is good train song, "Daddy and Home", which is one of his soppy sentimental ones, and "Blues Yodel #1", which I think is one of the better blues yodels.

The name of the video is "Times Ain't Like They Used To Be" put out by Yazoo.

Murray


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Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: katlaughing
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 11:33 PM

Just found a great version of this on youtube, by Merle Haggard. The images are very evocative, too.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:28 AM

I had this by Cisco Houston, I believe, on the same album as Railroad Bill (he never worked and he never will). One of those not-full-sized but not 45-sized or -speed records, vinyl or whatever came earlier.


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Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:02 PM

Funny thing.....This very song went through my head just yesterday. Mudcat synchronicity again! I had the 45 and I was probably only 5 or 6. My Mom hated it for any number of reasons but I still got to play it.

I miss Murray...........


Spaw


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Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: Mark Ross
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 02:31 PM

I learned it from Hazel Dickens 40 years ago.

Mark Ross


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Subject: RE: Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride
From: GUEST,Chuck Sears
Date: 19 Nov 12 - 06:01 AM

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.


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