“Walking Boss”

Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1906 (collected by Newman Ivey White)
Keywords: railroading work nonballad worksong boss
Found in: US(Ap,SE)


"Walking boss (x2), I don't belong to you. I belong (x2) to that steel driving crew." "Work one day, just one day, just one day, Then go lay in the shanty two." Etc. Verses loosely descriptive of life on a railroad crew.


A "walking boss" was a foreman who gave orders to workers' immediate supervisors, rather than to the workers themselves.

Source: Clarence "Tom" Ashley recalled this song being sung by railroad workers, probably in the 1920s. - PJS

Cross references



  1. Cohen/Seeger/Wood, p. 96, "Walking Boss" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Roud #7693
  3. BI, CSW096