Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

Little Joe The Wrangler: Lyrics

As performed by Cisco Houston

Words: N. Howard Tharp; Music: William Shakespeare Hays

Appears on:
He was little Joe, the wrangler,
   he'll wrangle nevermore
His days with the remuda, they are o'er
Was a year ago last April
   that he rode into our camp
Just a little Texas stray and all alone

His saddle was a Texas kak,
   made many years ago
With an OK spur on one foot lightly slung
His bedroll in the cotton sack
   was loosely tied behind
And his canteen o'er his saddle horn was hung

He said if we would give him work
   he'd do the best he could
Though he didn't know straightup about a cow
So the boss he cut him out a mount
   and he kindly put him on
'Cause he sort o' liked this little kid somehow

He learned to wrangle horses,
   and know 'em all by name
And get them in by daybreak, if he could
To follow the chuckwagon
   and always hitch the team
And help the Cocinero rustle wood

Well, we'd driven down the Pecos,
   the weather being fine
We camped on the south side in a bend
When a norther started blowin,
   and we called out every man
For it'd taken all us hands to hold 'em in

Well, Little Joe, the wrangler,
   was called out with the rest
Although the kid had scarcely reached the herd
When the cattle they stampeded,
   like a hailstorm 'long they fled
And we was all a' ridin for the lead

Amid'st the streaks of lightin
   we could see a horse ahead
T'was little Joe, the wrangler, in the lead
He was ridin old Blue Rocket
   with a slicker o'er his head
A tryin to check the cattle in their speed

At last we got them millin'
   and kind'a quieted down
And the extra guard back to the wagon went
But one o' them was missin',
   and we knew it at a glance
Was our little Texas stray, poor wrangling Joe

Next mornin', just at daybreak,
   we found where Rocket fell
In a washout twenty feet below
And beneath his horse, smashed to a pulp,
   his spur had rung the knell
Was a little Texas stray, poor wranglin' Joe

Of note:

A melodramatic song with a cliché in every verse comes across beautifully with Cisco's earnest rendition. Touching and sincere, the kind of song that would sound dreadful in most every other performance, works here. For a discussion of the music, see: Here.

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