The Songs He Sang
Little Joe The Wrangler: Lyrics
As performed by Cisco Houston
Words: N. Howard Tharp; Music: William Shakespeare HaysAppears 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
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.