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HOBO BILL'S LAST RIDE (Waldo LaFayette O'Neal) Jimmy Rodgers - 1929 Gene Autry - 1929 Merle Haggard - 1969 Hank Snow - 1972 Also recorded by: Iris DeMent; Johnny Cash; Sourdough Slim; Bill Harrell & The Virginians; Jimmie Skinner. Riding on the eastbound freight train speeding through the night Hobo Bill the railroad bum was fighting for his life The sadness of his eyes revealed the torture of his soul He raised a weak and weary hand to brush away the coal No warm lights flickered round him no blankets there to fold Nothing but the howling wind the driving rain so cold When he heard a whistle blowing in a dreamy kind of way The hobo seemed contented for he smile there where he lay (Guitar Break) Outside the rain was falling on that lonely boxcar door But the little form of Hobo Bill lay still upon the floor As the train sped through the darkness and the raging storm outside No one knew that Hobo Bill was taking his last ride It was early in the morning when they raised the hobo's head The smile still lingered on his face but Hobo Bill was dead There was no mother's longing to soothe his weary soul For he was just a railroad bum who died out in the cold ********** As recorded by Merle Haggard - January 23rd 1969 SPOKEN INTRO: The hobo is a re-occurring subject in the Jimmie Rodgers songs. Hoboing was an accepted form of travel for the migrant worker, or for the unemployed who simply wanted a change of weather. And during the period of Jimmie's greatest popularity, you could set your watch by the highbawl of any train. Hoboing was an inexpensive almost sure way of getting from one place to another. And during the peak of the depression it was not unusual to see, oh, half a hundred bo's jump from a train just as it came into the outskirts of a city. They'd jump off a soon as they could so as to ditch the trainbulls of the oncoming yard. But many quite respectable men find it convenient to hop trains also and many of them died identifed only as a railroad bum. And I would imagine that hobo Bill was one of them..... Riding on the eastbound freight train speeding through the night Hobo Bill the railroad bum was fighting for his life And the sadness of his eyes revealed the torture of his soul He raised a weak and weary hand to brush away the coal No warm lights flickered round him, no blankets there to hold Nothing but the howling wind, the driving rain so cold When he heard a whistle blowing in a dreamy kind of way The hobo seemed contented for he smile there where he lay Hey-ho-bo Bill (Guitar Break) Outside the rain was falling on the lonely boxcar door But the little form of Hobo Bill lay dead upon the floor While the train sped through the darkness with the raging storm outside No one knew that Hobo Bill was taking his last ride Hey-ho-bo Bill ********** As recorded in concert by Merle Haggard - Oct 10th 1969, The Civic Center, Muskogee SPOKEN INTRO: The hobo was a subject that the late and great Jimmie Rodgers sang of many times during his great career and the freight train served as a faithful means of travel for the migrant worker or for the fellah out of work, or some ol' boy that just wanted to live off the fat of our great land. And, of course, at this time the fat was kind a scarce because during the period of Jimmie Rodger's greatest popularity. Our great Nation's economy was at all time low and it was known as the depression days. During this time it wasn't unusual to see fifty or seventy-five hobos jump from a moving freight train as it neared the edge of a city. This was dangerous, but it was done to keep from being caught by the train bulls that worked the great freight yards during this era a lot of the hobos were respectable men and rode the rods because it provided a dependable means of travel which they could afford. And some of them made their destinations and some of them died along the tracks and their friends and family never knew what happened to 'em. And I would imagine maybe that Hobo Bill was one of them..... Riding on the eastbound freight train speeding through the night Hobo Bill the railroad bum was fighting for his life The sadness of his eyes revealed the torture of his soul He rose a weak and weary hand to brush away the coal Hey-Ho-bo Bill No warm lights flickered round him, no blankets there to hold Nothing but the howling wind and the driving rain so cold When I heard a whistle blowing in a dreamy kind of way The hobo seemed contented for he smile there where he lay Yea-Ho-bo Bill Pick on (Guitar Break) Outside the rain was falling on a lonely boxcar door But the little form of Hobo Bill lay dead upon the floor And there was no mother's longin' to soothe his weary soul For he was just a hobo and he died out in the cold Yeah-Ho-bo Bill ********** (Transcriptions by Mel Priddle - October 2010)

    


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