Tying in with this week’s Western Trivia, I hereby present THE OLD CHISOLM TRAIL. It was usually sung with the refrain after every verse, but usually recorded with the refrain after every 2 or 3 verses. A version by the inimitable Randy Travis is right here. And it includes a few verses I’ve never heard before!
The Old Chisholm Trail
Come along, boys, and listen to my tale,
I’ll tell you of my troubles on the old Chisholm trail.
Come-a-ti-yi-yippy, yippy-yay, yippy-yay,
I started up the trail October twenty-third,
I started up the trail with the 2-U herd.
Oh, a ten dollar hoss and a forty dollar saddle,
And I’m a-gonna punch some Texas cattle.
I’m up in the mornin’ afore daylight
And afore I sleep the moon shines bright.
It’s cloudy in the West, a-looking like rain,
And my danged old slicker’s in the wagon again.
No chaps, no slicker, and it’s pouring down rain,
And I swear I’ll never night-herd again.
Oh, it’s bacon and beans ‘most every day,
I’d as soon be a-eatin’ prairie hay.
I’m on my best horse and I’m goin’ at a run,
I’m the quickest shootin’ cowboy that ever pulled a gun.
I went to the boss to draw my roll,
He had it figgered I was nine* in the hole.
Goin’ back to town to draw my money,
Goin’ back home to see my honey.
With my knees in the saddle and my seat in the sky,
I’ll quit punching cows in the sweet by and by.
*Nine refers to nine dollars; this cowboy had drawn more in advances than he had earned.
This song has at least a dozen more verses, and it’s very easy for children to learn. With this one, and other simple ditties like it, each cowboy would select the verse that he liked best and sing it (or even make up his own verse), while all joined in the refrain.