STREETS OF LAREDO

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs

 

STREETS OF LAREDO
“Streets of Laredo” also known as the “Cowboy’s Lament”, is a famous cowboy ballad in
which a dying cowboy dispenses his advice to a living one. The song is universally
credited to Traditional, and the origins are not entirely clear; but it seems to be primarily
descended from an Irish/British folk song of the late 18th century called “The
Unfortunate Rake”, which has also evolved (with a time signature change and completely
different melody) into the New Orleans standard St. James Infirmary Blues“.
As I walked out in the streets of Laredo
As I walked out in Laredo one day,
I spied a young cowboy, all wrapped in white linen
Wrapped up in white linen and cold as the clay.
“I see by your outfit, that you are a cowboy.”
These words he did say as I slowly walked by.
“Come sit down beside me and hear my sad story,
For I’m shot in the breast, and I’m dying today.”
“‘Twas once in the saddle I used to go dashing,
‘Twas once in the saddle I used to go gay.
First to the dram-house, and then to the card-house,
Got shot in the breast, and I’m dying today.”
“Oh, beat the drum slowly and play the fife lowly,
And play the dead march as you carry me along;
Take me to the valley, and lay the sod o’er me,
For I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong.”
“Get six jolly cowboys to carry my coffin,
Get six pretty maidens to bear up my pall.
Put bunches of roses all over my coffin,
Roses to deaden the sods as they fall.”
“Then swing your rope slowly and rattle your spurs lowly,
And give a wild whoop as you carry me along;
And in the grave throw me and roll the sod o’er me.
For I’m a young cowboy and I know I’ve done wrong.”
“Go bring me a cup, a cup of cold water.
To cool my parched lips”, the cowboy then said.
Before I returned, his soul had departed,
And gone to the round up – the cowboy was dead.
We beat the drum slowly and played the fife lowly,
And bitterly wept as we bore him along.
For we loved our comrade, so brave, young and handsome,
We all loved our comrade, although he’d done wrong.