Saturday, July 16, 2016

On The Road: The Streets of Laredo, A Cowboy's Lament


As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day
I spied a young cowboy all wrapped in his buckskins,
All dressed in his buckskins, all fit for his grave.

"Then swing your rope slowly and rattle your spurs lowly
And give a wild whoop as you carry me along
Take me to the green valley and lay the sod o'er me
I'm just a young cowboy and I know I've done wrong

"Once in my saddle I used to go dashing
Once in my saddle I used to ride gay
But I just took to drinkin' and then to card playin'
Got shot by a gambler and I am dying today

"Go gather around me a lot of wild cowboys,
And tell them the story of a comrade's sad fate;
Warn them quite gently to give up wild roving,
To give up wild roving before it's too late.

"Someone write to my gray-headed mother,
And then to my sister, my sister so dear,
There is another far dearer than mother,
Who would bitterly weep if she knew I was here.

"Oh bury me beside my knife and my shooter,
My spurs on my heels, my rifle by my side,
Over my coffin put a bottle of bourbon,
That the cowboys may drink as they carry me along.

"Someone go bring me a drink of cold water
A drink of cold water," the poor fellow said
Before I returned his soul had departed
And gone to the round-up, the cowboy was dead.


Also known as, The Cowboy's Lament, the origins of the Streets of Laredo can be traced back to the 18th century as verses in the English folk song The Unfortunate Lad and the Irish Unfortunate Rake. The melody for Streets of Laredo is derived from the famous St. James Infirmary Blues. The second verse of the song is sometimes seen as, bang the drum slowly...