Cowboy Songs and Singers: Of Lifeways and Legend

Orejana Bull for Cowboys Only
by Gail Gardner

REAL COWBOY LIFE

You have read these cowboy stories,
About their life so wild and free,
I expect that you could tell me,
What a cowboy's life should be.
Oh, he rescues lovely maidens,
And he shoots the rustlers down,
He wears a fancy outfit,
And he paints up every town.

You can see him in the movies,
He's a high-falutin' swell,
A-ridin' wring-tailed pintos,
Anal always raisin' Hell.
But now let me tell you somethin',
'Bout this cowboy life so free,
It ain't no bed of roses,
You can take a tip from me.

Now there ain't no handsome cowboys,
Nowhere I've ever been,
For a real top-notch Buckero
Is just homlier than sin.
And all cowboys have their troubles,
A few of which I'll name,
To show you that cowpunching
Is a mighty sorry game.

When the roundup starts in April,
The first job you undertake
Is to shoe up all your horses
Till you think your back will break.
Now then you can be a "center,"
Or a "rimmy" if you will;
It don't make any difference,
You will have your troubles still.

When you take your dally-welties,
You can lose a lot of hide,
But if you fail to get 'em,
You have shorely got to ride.
Or you tie her hard and solid,
And then throw away the slack,
If your steer should hub a saplin',
You are shore to lose the pack.

When you get a wild bunch driftin',
Straight down for the home corral,
There will somethin' spook the leaders,
And your whole bunch go to Hell.
You build to an "orejana,"
For to tie him in a rush,
But your pony turns -a knocker,
And he throws you in the brush.

Then you long-ear's in the thicket,
And your dogs have plumb give out,
So the only thing that you can do
Is to cuss and cry and shout.
As you ride away and leave him,
You can hear the critter bawl,
And you know some feller'll git him
Before the rodeer comes next fall.

When you have a real hard winter,
And your cows all try to die,
You ride out every morning,
And to lift 'em up you try.
You can git one by the handle,
And you heave and lift and strain;
With a mighty awful struggle,
You can tail her up again.

Oh, you try to leave her standin',
But she charges you in high,
Then she breaks down in the middle,
So you leave her there to die.
On the range there's not a yearlin'
That is fat enough for meat,
And you are all burnt out on bacon,
And the beans ain't fit to eat.

When you've cowboyed for a lifetime,
Here is all 'twill do for you:
Some busted ribs and shoulders,
And a hip knocked down or two.
You have butted into cedars
Till your hair is hard to find,
And the malapais and granites
Have you all stove up behind.

If you ever have a youngster,
And he wants to foller stock,
The best thing you can do for him
Is to brain him with a rock.
Or if rocks ain't very handy,
You kin shove him down the well;
Do not let him be a cowboy,
For he's better off in Hell.

You may swear you'll never ride again,
And know you will not fail,
Till you hear a cavviada
Come a-jinglin' down the trail.
Then you pack up all your soogans,
And prepare to pull your freight,
For you know you're just a cowboy,
And your head ain't screwed on straight

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