Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

The Strawberry Roan: Lyrics

As performed by Cisco Houston

Lyrics: Curly Fletcher, Music: Traditional

Appears on:
I was hangin' 'round town and just spendin' my time,
Out of a job and not earnin' a dime
When a feller steps up and he says, "I suppose
You're a bronc' bustin' man by the looks of your clothes."

"You guessed is near right, and a good one," I claim,
"Do you happen to have any bad ones to tame?"
Says, "I've got one and a bad one to buck;
Throwin' bronc riders he's had lots of luck."

Says, "This old pony ain't never been rode,
And the boy that gets on him is bound to get throwed."
Gets all excited and I ask what he pays
To ride this old goat for a couple of days.

Ofers a ten spot. I says, "I'm your man,
For the bronc never lived that I couldn't fan;
The bronc never lived, nor he never drew breath
That I couldn't ride till be starved plumb to death."

Well he says, "Get your saddle, I'll give you a chance."
We got in his buckboard and rode to the ranch.
Stayed until morning, and right after chuck
We goes out to see how this outlaw could buck.

Down in the horse corral standing alone,
Was that old caballo, strawberry roan.
His legs were spavined, and he had pigeon toes,
Little pig eyes and a big Roman nose,

Little pin ears that were crimped at the tip,
With a big 44 branded 'cross his left hip;
Ewe-necked and old, with a long lower jaw,
You can see with one eye he's a reg'lar outlaw.

Well I puts on my spurs and I coils up my twine,
Piles my loop on him, I'm sure feeling fine.
Gets in his middle and I opens the blind,
I'm right in his middle to see him unwind.

Well he bowed his old neck and I think he unwound,
He seemed to quit living down there on the ground,
Goes up towards the east and comes down towards the west,
To stay in his middle I'm a-doin' my best,

I'll telling you, no foolin', this pony can step,
I'm still in his middle I'm buildin' a rep,
Goes up on all fours and comes down on his side,
I don't see what keeps him from losin' his hide.

He's about the worst bucker I've seen on the range
He can turn on a nickel and give you some change.
Loses my stirrup and also my hat,
Starts pulling leather, I'm blind as a bat;

With a big forward jump he goes up on high,
Leaves me sittin' on nothin' way up in the sky,
Turns over twice, and I comes down to earth,
Lights in a-cussin' the day of his birth.

Well, I know there is ponies I'm unable to ride,
Some are still living, they haven't all died.
But I'll bet my money the man ain't alive,
That can stay with old strawberry when he makes his high dive.

Of note:

Reorded by many and according to the notes still a popular tune among working cowboys. Cisco ignores the chorus, an interesting choice since he had no problem singing them in songs where they add little or nothing. But in this case it is a story without the chorus, a song with it.

Possibly Cisco's first solo performance, his voice is still a little tentative and timid, and the 1944 sound quality doesn't help. But still an enjoyable song well performed.

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