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Joe Offer Lyr Add: The Disheartened Ranger (9) ADD Version: Come List to a Ranger 31 Dec 20


Come list to a ranger, You kind-hearted stranger,
This song, though a sad one, you're welcome to hear,
Who fought the Comanches away from your ranches,
And followed ‘em far o'er the Western frontier.

Though weary of routin’ an’ travellin’ an’ scoutin',
These bloodthirsty brutes over prairie an’ Woods,
The ’lection is a-comin’ an’ they will be drummin'
An’ praisin’ our value to purchase our food.

These big alligators an’ stately legislators,
A-puffin' an’ blowin’ two-thirds of the time,
No rest for the sinner, no breakfast, no dinner,
We sleep in the mud an’ we ain't got a dime.

No corn, no potatoes, no beets, no tomatoes,
The jerked beef is dry as the sole of your shoe,
We fight in our blood an’ we sleep in the mud,
An’ what in the hell can a poor ranger do?

No glory, no payment, no victuals, no raiment,
No longer we’ll fight on the Texas frontier;
So guard your own ranches, an’ fight the Comanches
Yourself, or they’ll scalp you in less’n a year.

This is a muddled fragment of the “Disheartened Ranger" song reported by Lomax (Cowboy Songs, 1910, p. 261), which doubtless goes back to print. Stuart Lake (Saturday Evening Post 203, Apr. 11, 1931, p. 145) gives part of a variant entitled “The Ranger's Lament which he heard at a Ranger reunion in Eastland, Texas. According to J. Evetts Haley (Goodnight, 1936, p. 97), two rangers, Tom Pollard and Alec McClosky, composed this "bit of doggerel" during Civil War times. One stanza, beginning “Oh pray for the Ranger,” is reprinted in J. Frank Dobie’s Guide to Life and Literature of the Southwest (Austin, Texas,
p. 39). Several songs of similar content were once popular in Texas, praising the Rangers and calling upon the legislators to provide for them more generously. Two of these songs printed in Lomax (Cowboy Songs, 1938, pp. 368 and 371), and one has been recorded phonographically by Carl T. Sprague (Victor V-40066).

Sung by Mrs. Lee Stephens, White Rock, Mo., Dec. 15, 1927.

Source: Ozark Folksongs, collected and edited by Vance Randolph (University of Missouri Press, 1980) #181, Volume II, pp 178-179

I think I like this melody better. The same melody appears in Songs of the American West, by Lingenfelter-Dwyer, pp. 268-69.

Click to play (joeweb)

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