“The Hobo's Last Ride (I)”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1929 (recording, Buell Kazee)
Keywords: grief poverty rambling train travel burial death dying friend hobo
Found in: US(SE) Canada

Description

A hobo lifts his dying partner Jack into a boxcar, then reminisces about their past. He is keeping his promise to take Jack back home to be buried. He sighs for the old days and "for his pal so cold/Who was taking his last long ride"

Long description

A hobo lifts his dying partner Jack into a boxcar, then reminisces to him as they ride about the places they've been and the lines they've ridden. He is keeping his promise to take Jack back home to be buried, and laments the doctor who was "too busy with the wealthy folks/To doctor a worn-out bum." As the train rolls east, he sighs for the old days and "for his pal so cold/Who was taking his last long ride"

Notes

Despite the obvious similarity in plot, this is an entirely separate song from "The Dying Hobo."

The Kazee and Reeves recordings use a tune that Kazee composed as a setting for a poem by A. L. Kirby, which he said he found in a book of Northwest poems. Hank Snow's recording, cited above, uses a different tune, possibly composed by Ted Daffan. To confuse things, Snow recorded another song called "The Hobo's Last Ride," which we have indexed separately as "Hobo's Last Ride (II)."- PJS

Cross references

Recordings