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Origins: Last Ride / Hobo's Last Ride

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


Related threads:
(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)
(origins) Origin: Hobo Bill's Last Ride (13)
Lyr/Chords Req: The Hobo's Last Letter (13)
(origins) Origins: The hobo built the right-of-way (3)


Gene 27 Dec 97 - 01:50 PM
Frank Maher 28 Dec 97 - 10:59 PM
GUEST,Adam Miller 08 Feb 04 - 10:23 AM
open mike 09 Feb 04 - 03:10 AM
Joe Offer 09 Feb 04 - 03:18 AM
Stewie 09 Feb 04 - 03:51 AM
Art Thieme 10 Feb 04 - 12:57 AM
GUEST 24 Aug 08 - 04:51 PM
Jim Dixon 01 Sep 08 - 10:38 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 17 - 02:00 PM
GUEST 12 Nov 17 - 02:03 PM
Joe_F 12 Nov 17 - 06:09 PM
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Subject: HELP on lyrics/The Last Ride
From: Gene
Date: 27 Dec 97 - 01:50 PM

Need someone to lend a helping hand (ear, that is) on lyrics to THE LAST RIDE/this version by Hank Snow. Got a bad case of Cold Weather and ringing in the ears.

THE LAST RIDE
Recorded by Hank Snow
Words and music by Halcomb & Daffan

[C] In the Dodge City yards of the Sante Fe
Stood a freight made up for the [G7] east
And the engineer with his oil and (*unclear?)
Was groomin' the great iron [C] beast;
While ten cars back in the murky dust
A box-[C7] car door swung [F] wide
And a [G7] hobo lifted his pal aboard
To start on his last, long [C] ride;

A [F] lantern swung and the freight pulled out
The engine it gathered [C] speed
The [F] engineer pulled the throttle wide
And [D7] (*unclear?) to his fiery [G7] steed;

[C] Ten cars back in the empty box
The hobo rolled a [G7] pill
The flare of the match showed his partners' face
Stark white and deathly [C] still;
As the train wheels clicked on the couplin' joints
A [C7] song for the ramblers' [F] ears
The [G7] hobo talked to the still, white form
His pal for many a [C] year;

[SPOKEN]
[C] For a mighty long time we've rambled, Jack
With the luck of men that [F] roam
With [G7] the back door steps for a dining room
And the boxcar for a [C] home;

We dodged the bulls on the eastern route
And the cops on the Chesapeake
We travelled the Leadville Narrow Gauge
In the days of Cripple Creek;

We drifted down through sunny Cal
On the rails of the old S. P.
And of all you had, through good and bad
A half always belonged to me;

You made me promise to you, Jack
If I lived and you cashed in
To take you back to the old churchyard
And bury you there with your kin;

You seemed to know I would keep my word
For you said that I was wise
Well, I'm keepin my promise to you, pal
'Cause I'm takin' you home tonight;

I hadn't the money to send you there
So I'm takin' you back on the 'fly'
It's the decent way for a Bo to go
Home to the by and by;

I knew that fever had you, Jack
And that doctor just wouldn't come
He was too busy treatin' the wealthy folks
To doctor a worn out bum;

[SUNG]
As the train rolled over it's ribbon of steel
Straight through to the east it sped
The engineer in his high cab seat
Keep his eyes on the rails ahead;
While ten cars back in the empty box
The lonely hobo sighed
For the days of old and his pal so cold
Was taking his last long ride.


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Subject: RE: HELP ON LYRICS
From: Frank Maher
Date: 28 Dec 97 - 10:59 PM

The Engineer with His Oil and Waste

And Clucked to His Fiery Steed


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Subject: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: GUEST,Adam Miller
Date: 08 Feb 04 - 10:23 AM

I am interested in identifying the composer (s) of "The Last Long Ride".

"In the Dodge City yards on the Santa Fe stood a freight made up for the east,
The engineer with his oil and grease was grooming the great iron beast..."

In 1976 Utah Phillips said that this song was by a man named Patterson, composed in the 1890's.

In understand it was first recorded by Buell Kazee in 1928.

Hank Snow's recording credits authorship to Ted Daffan and Robert Halcomb.

Can anyone offer futher information?

Thanks,
Adam Miller
autoharper@earthlink.net


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: open mike
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 03:10 AM

methinks this one has been made famous by Spaw and the Layabouts.


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Subject: Lyr Add: LAST RIDE (Hank Snow)
From: Joe Offer
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 03:18 AM

Hi, Adam - I didn't find much information on the song at all. We don't have the song here, as far as I can see, so I thought I'd post a copy of the lyrics I found on this page (click), along with a number of other Hank Snow lyrics. Hey - it reminds me of "The Cremation of Sam McGee."

I like that line, "grooming the great iron beast." I checked Norm Cohen's Long Steel Rail songbook. Cohen noted that "Last Ride" was on the Railroad Man LP by Hank Snow, but that's all the information Cohen had. I wondered if it was the same song as Hobo Bill's Last Ride - the two songs have similar elements, but they're definitely not the same song.
-Joe Offer-


LAST RIDE
(Ted Daffan - Robert Holcomb)
« © '59 Peer International »

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe stood a freight made up for the East,
And the engineer with his oil and waste was grooming the great iron beast,
While ten cars back in the murky dust, a boxcar door swung wide,
And a hobo lifted his pal aboard to start on his last long ride.

A lantern swung and the freight pulled out. the engine it gathered speed.
The engineer pulled the throttle wide and clacked to his fiery steed.
Ten cars back in the empty box, the hobo rolled a pill.
The flare of the match showed his partner's face stark white and deathly still.

As the train wheels clicked on the coupling joints a song for the rambler's ear.
The hobo talked to the still white form, his pal for many a year.
"For a mighty long time we've rambled, Jack, with the luck of men that roam,
With the backdoor steps for a dining room and a boxcar for a home.

"We dodged the bulls on the Eastern route and the cops on the Chesapeake.
We traveled the Leadville narrow gauge in the days of Cripple Creek.
We drifted down through sunny Cal on the rails of that old SP,
And of all you had, through good and bad, a half always belonged to me.

"You made me promise to you, Jack, if I lived and you cashed in,
To take you back to the old churchyard and bury you there with your kin.
You seemed to know I would keep my word 'cause you said that I was right.
Well, I'm keepin' my promise to you, pal, 'cause I'm takin' you home tonight.

"I haven't the money to send you there, so I'm takin' you back on the fly.
It's the decent way for a 'bo to go home to the bye-and-bye.
I knew that that fever had you, Jack, and the doctor he just wouldn't come.
He was too busy treatin' wealthy folks to doctor a worn-out bum."

As the train rolled over its ribbons of steel, straight to the East it sped.
The engineer in his high cab seat kept his eyes on the rails ahead
While ten cars back in the empty box, the lonely hobo sighed
For the days of old and his pal so cold who was takin' his last long ride.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: Stewie
Date: 09 Feb 04 - 03:51 AM

Art Thieme recorded 'Hobo's Last Ride' on his 'That's the Ticket!'. Art noted that he had it from listening to Hank Snow on country radio show in the Chicago in the 1950s. Hopefully, he'll join this thread and fill you in with more detail.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: Art Thieme
Date: 10 Feb 04 - 12:57 AM

Yep, folks, I got the song from listening to Randy Blake's country records show on WJJD in Chicao. That show was THE SUPPERTIME FROLIC. Dale Rose, who looks in and posts here too, sent me a photo of a fellow who looked like Paul Whiteman the band leader---but it was Randy Blake. Randy had a great voice. He was always hyping fruit tree seedlings for sale. Everything advertised on the show you could send a check or money-order to pay for OR you could do it C.O.D. (Cash On Delivery)---yourmailman would actually take your cash money for it when he gave the package to you !! Can anyone imagine that today in the USA??? They'd be offing mailmen for their cash like they do cab drivers.

Anyhow, that song done by me is now on a CD from Sandy Paton and Folk Legacy Records. The title is Art Thieme---That's The Ticket.

Get it at: www.folklegacy.com --- Camsco Music --- and all other reputable dealers from coast to coast.

Buell Kazee's, the original record of this song, had a different tune.

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: GUEST
Date: 24 Aug 08 - 04:51 PM

When I recorded this song, I did not pay a royalty because I was unable to find any relative or representative of the alleged composer.

I have a cassette recording made from a 1976 KFAT fm radio broadcast of Utah Phillips concert at the Strand Theater in Santa Cruz, CA. On the tape, Mr. Phillips says that "Hobo's Last Ride" was one of the oldest hobo ballads, composed by a man named Patterson in the 1890s, and published long ago in "Hobo News".

Those who were close to late Mr. Phillips know that he was a great and mighty repository of folk knowledge, but often a careless historian. It is entirely possible that it was published in "Hobo News", however I have not yet had the opportunity to corroborate this assertion.

"Hobo's Last Ride" was first published on page 131 of George Milburn's 1930 _Hobo's Hornbook_, (published by Washburn in New York). This is still probably the best book on the subject of hobo lore, poetry and song, and it is a shame the book is out-of-print and quite rare. Milburn must have been finishing his manuscript when the stock market crashed, as his book was published before the worst years of the Great Depression.

For more than half the poems and songs in _Hobo's Hornbook_, Milburn offers no author's name. So his naming of A.L. Kirby is exceptional in that regard. Furthermore, Milburn certainly had access to "Hobo News," which was still in print when we has compiling his manuscript.

At this point I should mention that many hours in university libraries has yielded not one word about this A.L. Kirby. I have learned nothing about him, nor located any of his other poems.

In 2004, when I was writing the liner notes for my "Orphan Train and Other Reminiscences" CD, I wrote to Mr. Phillips. I asked him about the authorship of "Hobo's Last Ride." And, communicating as he liked to do, through his friend and neighbor, the singer and songwriter, Kuddie, Mr. Phillips response was that he agreed that the song was most likely by A.L. Kirby, and not Patterson. This is why I have credited the song as such.

To introduce the song "Hobo's Last Ride," Milburn writes:

"As a tribe, the hoboes are not a sentimental lot. I have never heard a mammy song in a jungle camp. Tearful selections are not popular among the fraternity, and the hobo is more likely to burlesque sentimentality, than to take it seriously. (See "The Dying Hobo," and "Down in the Mohawk Valley.") The following poem by A.L. Kirby, however, is superior to the usual mawkish homeguard songs about hoboes."

Milburn supplies no melody for the tune. The lyrics Milburn printed are different from those I learned in the oral tradition, and tell an even more melancholy story:

In the Dodge City yards of the Santa Fe
Stood a freight made up for the east,
The engineer, with oil and waste,
Was grooming his iron beast,
While ten cars back in the murky dust
A boxdoor door swung wide,
And a hobo lifted his pal aboard
To start on his last long ride.

A lantern swung, and the freight pulled out.
The engine gathered speed;
The engineer pulled the throttle wide,
And clucked to his iron steed,
While ten cars back, in the empty,
The hobo rolled a pill,
And the flaring match showed his pardner's [sic] face,
Stark white and deathly still.

The train wheels clipped on the coupling joints,
The song for a ramber's ears,
And the hobo talked to the lifeless form
Of one he'd palled with for years.
"For a long, long stretch we've rambled, Jack,
With the luck of the men that roam,
A backdoor step for a dining room,
And a boxcar for a home."

"We've dodged the bulls on the C.B. & Q,
And the shacks on the Chesapeake.
We bummed the Leadville narrow gauge
In the days of Cripple Creek;
We've coasted down through Sunny Cal
On the rails of the old S.P.,
And all you had, through good or bad,
One half belonged to me."

"One day you made me promise Jack,
If I lived when you cashed in,
That I'd take you back and bury you
In the churchyard with your kin.
You seemed to know that I'd keep my word,
For you found that I was white,
And so I'm true to my promise, pal - -
I'm keeping it tonight."

"I knew that the fever had you right.
The pill-roller wouldn't come.
Too busy treating the decent folks
To doctor a worn-out bum.
And I hadn't the dough to send you back,
So I'm taking you on the fly.
It's a fitting way for a 'bo to ride
To the sweet bye and bye."

The rattler rolled on its ribbons of steel,
Straight through to the east it sped;
The engineer, on his high cab-seat,
Kept his eyes on the rails ahead,
While ten cars back, in the empty,
A lonely hobo sighed
For the days of old with his faithful pal,
Who was taking his long last ride.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Long Ride authorship
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 01 Sep 08 - 10:38 PM

Google Book Search indicates there's another version of this song in this book:

Irwin, Godfrey. American Tramp and Underworld Slang. Ann Arbor, Mich: Gryphon Books, 1971.


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Ride / Hobo's Last Ride
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 02:00 PM

Correction to lyric in second verse
"The engineer pulled the throttle wide and "CLUNG" to his firey steed"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Ride / Hobo's Last Ride
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 02:03 PM

Correction to lyric in first verse
"The engineer with his oil and "WASTE"or "PASTE" was grooming the great iron beast"


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Subject: RE: Origins: Last Ride / Hobo's Last Ride
From: Joe_F
Date: 12 Nov 17 - 06:09 PM

I imagine that "waste" referred to the rags soaked with oil that filled the stuffing boxes.


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