Saturday, June 12, 2010

More Info on "Billy Richardson's Last Ride"

Thanks to John Rucker for finding the lyrics to "Bill Richardson's Last Ride," a song performed by Grandpa Jones that I played on The Santa Fe Opry last night and downloaded from eMusic recently.

As you can see, the song has nothing to do with the governor of New Mexico -- although political foes of the current governor might find metaphorical significance in the fact the song, originally recorded by Vernon Dalhart in 1926, is about a train wreck.

Rucker also found this page with more information on the song.

Here's those lyrics, (which came from this page.) :


Through the west wood Virginia mountain comes the morning mail,
Number three was westbound, the fastest on the rail,
Pulled right into Hinton, the junction along the line,
The Baldwin mounted engine made the run on time.

Billy Richardson's son at Hinton was called to make the run,
Pulled the fastest mail train from there to Huntington.
Fireman 'ported on duty just along the line,
Reading them train orders, left Hinton right on time.

Billy said, "Dear fireman, how happy I would be,
If I could die while pulling a train like number three."
Wanted to die on duty in his engine cab so free,
While pulling eastbound number four or westbound number three.

Fireman said, "Billy, you know you're old and gray,
Your name is on the pension list, you should retire some day."
Billy said, "Dear fireman, the truth I'm tellin' you,
I'll die right in my engine cab and nothing else will do."

Pulling down the river came westbound number three,
Sterning through the cotton hills*, and danger could it be.
His head-end struck a mail train while pulling down the line,
He'll never pull his train again through Huntington town on time.
He pulled the fastest time freight, he pulled the U.S. mail,
He pulled the fast excursion to the music of the rail.
He lost his life on duty in his engine cab so free,
While pulling in Montgomery on westbound number three.

Now ladies if your husband is a railroad engineer,
You know he's in lots of danger and death is ever near.
You know he loves you dearly when he is by your side,
Remember while it's his next run might be his farewell ride.

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A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican   Jan. 18, 2018 "You gotta know how to pony ..." “I hold th...