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The Hobo's Last Ride

This song is by Buell Kazee and appears on the compilation Lonesome Whistle: An Anthology of American Railroad Song (2012).

In the dark city yards of the Santa Fe
Stood a freight made up for the east
And the engineer, with his oily waste
Was grooming the great iron beast

Whilst ten cars back in the murky dusk
A boxcar door swung wide
And a hobo lifted his pal aboard
To start on his last long ride

As the train wheels clicked on a coupling joint
Was a song for the hobo's ears
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 Chessapeake
We travelled the Lydgyl Narrow gauge
In the days of Cripple-Creek

We drifted down from sunny Cal'
On the rails of the 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
For you said that I was white
Well, I'm keeping my promise to you pal
For I'm taking home tonight

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

I knew that fever had you Jack
And that Doctor just wouldn't come
He was to busy treating wealthy folks
To doctor a dying bum

As the train sped over the ribbons of steel
Straight through to the east it sped
The engineer in the high cab seat
Kept his eyes on the rails ahead

While, ten cars back in the empty box
A lonely hobo sighed
For days of old, and his pal so cold
Who was taking his last long ride


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