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ADD: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow

19 Nov 99 - 10:06 PM (#138580)
Subject: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: GaryD

There's a great song by Slim Critchlow called the Brave Engineer... It's about a cowboy who works part time on a train & tries to save a little girl on the tracks... it's got great irony as part of the lines are..."He killed 200 passengers, but thank God he saved the child!"... I just heard it on my favorite program on Minn. Public Radio.. just GOT to get the what do you say...Any takers?...You've never let me down before..Thanks..Gary

19 Nov 99 - 10:51 PM (#138596)
From: Frank of Toledo

The actual title is THE TRUSTY LARIAT (COWBOY FIREMAN), and it was written by Harry McClintock. My dear friend just recently recorded it in Portland, Oregon. Merritt Herring's CD "Precious Memories" has the lyrics, and some neat and interesting notes. Merritt says: "I learned it from Slim Critchlow, and was taking it as a true story until the "45th day of May" gave me the clue that I have been taken in."

Through the high Sierra Mountains came an SP train.
The hoboes tried to ride her, but found 'twas all in vain.
The conductor took the ticket and he counted every soul.
The engineer looked straight ahead and the fireman shoveled coal.

Now, the cowboy was a fireman, but do not think that strange.
He could make more money shoveling coal than riding on the range.
So, though he was a fireman, and though he had to sweat,
He still remained a western guy and he kept his lariat.

Now the train was way behind time and the passengers all were wild,
When on the track a-sudden there strolled a little child.
Her golden hair in ringlets were hanging down her back.
She little knew the danger great as she strolled along the track.

"My God," the hooghead shouted as he put on all the brakes.
I'll never stop this train in time 'cause she ain't got what it takes.
Oh, Heaven help the wee tot," he cried in anguish wild.
"Can nothing stop the SP train and save the little child?"

Then up sprang the cowboy fireman and a gallant lad was he.
"Now I will save that baby if I wreck the whole SP.
He climbed out on to the running board with tears his eyes were wet.
And in his hand, our hero brave, had his trusty lariat.

He quickly dropped a fast loop 'round a pole beside the track.
And tied the other end of it around the big smokestack.
He jerked the train right off the rails and he caused an awful wreck.
And our hero lay there in the ditch with the engine on his neck.

We will all remember that forty-fifth of May.
When there were many gallant hearts all filled with fear that day.
They buried that poor fireman where the prairie winds blow wild.
He killed two hundred passengers but thank God he saved the child.

19 Nov 99 - 11:25 PM (#138611)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Mark Cohen

I learned the song from Meryle Korn in Portland. Is she your dear friend, and if so, how can I get the recording?

Mark Cohen

20 Nov 99 - 12:00 AM (#138632)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Frank of Toledo

No "MC" Meryle Korn is not my dear friend; in fact I don't know the Lady, but Merritt Herring is a dear friend and if you're truly interested in his CD, You can obtain a copy by writing AS IS PRODUCTIONS 2037 NE 49th Ave. Portland Or 97213 1-503-281-4929

12 Nov 02 - 08:39 PM (#824733)
Subject: Cowboy Fireman (Trusty Lariat)
From: Joe Offer

The lyrics and tune are in the Digital Tradition here (click), but the tune is more familiar than I think it should be. Has it been used for something else?
-Joe Offer-

12 Nov 02 - 09:53 PM (#824770)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Stewie

You can find Slim's recording on Slim Critchlow 'Cowboy Songs: the Crooked Road to Holbrook' Arhoolie CD 479. A lovely CD!


13 Nov 02 - 12:52 AM (#824899)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: dick greenhaus

The tune is one of the versions of "Utah Carl (or Carrol)"

You can get the Critchlow CD through CAMSCO.

13 Nov 02 - 03:32 AM (#824938)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Mark Ross

Slims' version is slightly different from Haywire Macs.I learned the song from Larry Hanks 31 years ago in Berkeley, California. One of my alltime favorites!

Mark Ross

01 Feb 04 - 02:38 PM (#1106644)
Subject: Lyr Add: THE FIREMAN COWBOY (from Rex Allen)
From: Jim Dixon

Here's another version. Lyrics transcribed from the sound file at The Record Lady's All-Time Country Favorites, Requests Page 7.

[Rex Allen and Slim Pickens]
(As sung by Rex Allen)

The westbound train was speedin', speedin' toward its goal.
The engineer was ahead of it while the fireman shoveled coal.
Now the fireman had been a cowboy, an' he was a cowboy yet,
And to prove that he still was a westerner, he kept his lariat.

Now as that train went speedin' across the desert so wild,
Right down the track ahead of them, there strolled a little child.
Her golden hair in ringlets was a-streamin' down her back,
An' she little knew the danger as she strolled along that track.

"My God!" the engineer shouted, as he throwed on all of his brakes.
"I'd stop this engine if I could, but I—I just ain't got what it takes."
And then our fireman cowboy, with his lariat so true,
He climbed right out on that ol' runnin' board, an' said, "I'll see what I can do."

Well, he crawled out onto the boiler as the train sped on its course,
An' he swung his trusty lariat just like he rode a horse.
He latched it onto a telegraph pole an' dallied on the big smokestack,
An' before you knowed what had happened, that train was jerked right off the track.

Well, it plowed into a sandbank. Oh, it caused a terrible wreck.
They found our fireman cowboy with the engine on his neck.
Well, they buried our fireman cowboy where the desert winds blow wild.
He killed two hundred passengers. Thank God, he saved the child.

[Recorded as a narration by Slim Pickens in 1977. Rex Allen's recording appears on "Voice of the West," Bear Family CD 15284, 1994; and on "The Arizona Cowboy," 2001.]

Rex Allen:

02 Feb 04 - 12:43 AM (#1106996)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: open mike

someone just asked me today about slim critchlow...
is the arhoolie record the only one he recorded?

02 Feb 04 - 05:06 PM (#1107605)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Mark Ross

    I believe so.

Mark Ross

02 Feb 04 - 05:41 PM (#1107637)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: open mike

i added 2 posts to this thread -- now they are not here...
they were links to 2 other albums which Slim is included on..
here is the track listing from the cow boy songs arhoolie disc..
from a Danish site...
1. The crooked trail to holdbrook
2. Borax Bill
3. The trail to Mexico
4. Forty a month and found
5. The brazos river
6. D-bar-2 hourse wrangler
7. Windy Bill
8. Good bye, old paint
9. The bucking bronco
10. I'd like to be in Texas
11. Zebra dun
12. Ten thousand cattle
13. Driftin' cowboy
14. Red river valley
15. The high tone dance
16. The old cowboy
17. State of Arkansas
18. The habit
19. Strawberry roan
20. The buffalo skinners
21. Cowboy's lament
22. The wild buckaroo
23. Snagtooth sal
24. The trusty lariat
25. John Garner's trail herd
26. Whiskey Bill
27. The last wagon
Arhoolie site

Slim Critchlow - guitar and vocals

The old-time cowboy songs grew out of the cow camps, trail herds, and open range - the everyday life of the cowboy. Slim's deep love for the old ways and the old songs - and his natural disdain for the Hollywood version ("With all the boys down in town shootin' each other, it kinda makes you wonder who was out tendin' the cows...." as he puts it) caused him to keep the old songs alive and to hold to the style he had learned from the old-timers during the 1920's and before.
Here is a collection of great songs to ride the trail with us - in our dreams and in our everyday lives, from here to eternity - riding with as good a compadre as could be found in a thousand years.

a review:

"The guitar playing Critchlow had a warm voice and a winning manner that makes this collection an end to end delight. The songs are 'real' cowboy songs ... and often represent parochial poetry put to music, the stories ... are rich in authentic details and strong on humor (and sometimes salty of language). Good notes, good sound, a fine CD!"

(Keith Briggs — Blues & Rhythm)

02 Feb 04 - 05:52 PM (#1107646)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: open mike

American Cowboy Songs
1983 New World Records

this seems to be a re-issue of the 1947 album of the same name..
This double CD (originally a double LP, which explains its somewhat short 90 minute running time) was produced and annotated by Charlie Seeman, curator of the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum. The scholarship shows -- the selection of songs includes old-time authentic material such as "The Old Chisholm Trail" by Harry "Haywire Mac" McClintock (who was the real article, a cowboy as well as songwriter, union organizer, and muleskinner) as well as modern recreations of traditional material, by the likes of Harry Jackson ("The Pot Wrassler") and Van Halyoak ("The Gol-Durned Wheel"). There's room along the way for Carl T. Sprague ("When the Work's All Done This Fall"), John G. Prude (a stripped-down, authentic sounding rendition of "Streets of Laredo"), Ken Maynard ("The Lone Star Trail"), the Arizona Wranglers ("Strawberry Roan"), Glen Rice and His Beverly Hill Billies ("Ridge Runnin' Roan"), and Marc Williams ("Sioux Indians"), as well as the expected classics by Gene Autry ("Back in the Saddle Again"), the Sons of the Pioneers ("One More Ride," from an unissued radio transcription), Tex Ritter ("Riding Old Paint"), Tex Owens ("Cattle Call"), and more recent works by Rex Allen and the Riders In the Sky. It's worth owning just for Jules Verne Allen's "The Cowboy's Lament" (aka "Bury Me Not on the Lone Prairie"), which sounds like a field recording sung from the other side of heaven. The notes are voluminous, and nearly as compelling as the music. Overall this is a somewhat more compact and perhaps more informative antecedent to Rhino's four-disc Songs of the West, less broad but a lot deeper (especially in the source research), with a lot more devotion to the real article and less to the pop-culture aspects of cowboy music. ~ Bruce Eder, All Music Guide

02 Feb 04 - 06:37 PM (#1107696)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: Stewie

Here's a link to the double album of cowboy songs referred to above by opne mike. There is one Critchlow recording on it:



23 Oct 15 - 02:45 PM (#3746196)
Subject: RE: Lyr Req: The Brave Engineer..Slim Critchlow
From: GUEST Faith Petric Mac McClintlock.