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Spirit & Heritage In Song – ‘When the Work’s All Done This Fall’ – 1893

 

Spirit & Heritage In Song is a series highlighting Traditional American Music.

In the last half century many of these traditional songs have been forgotten in a flood of contemporary music and international cultural influences. Yet these songs, ballads, melodies and hymns reflect the events, cultural backgrounds, aspirations, land and faith that make up the soul of the American People far more than the strains of moderne music that have washed upon the nation’s shores. This series is offered as a reminder of the Spirit of America as given voice in song.

American cowboy, circa 1888 - Wikipedia

 

” A group of jolly cowboys, discussing plans at ease
Says one, I’ll tell you something, boys, if you will listen, please
I am an old cow-puncher, you see me dressed in rags
I used to be a good one boys, and went on great big jags ”

 
 
 
 
 
 

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A classic image of the American cowboy, as portrayed by C.M. Russell - Wikipedia


When the Work’s All Done This Fall

Even though the old West cowboys reign was only about 25 years, there have been more movies and songs written about that period of American history than any other. The true cowboy’s life has been fabricated and romanticized to the point of no return. Going for days and sometimes weeks without a change of clothes, dust, dysentery, and the not -so-beautiful ‘saloon gals’ are seldom portrayed in the movies or songs. This song tells a tragic story about a cowboy who yearns to see his mother after the roundup in the fall. The lyrics are from a D. J. O’Malley poem called ‘After The Roundup’ that was published in the Montana Stock Growers Journal in 1893. The composer of the music is unknown.

Source MusicOfTomRoush

Origional poem by D.J. O’Malley here >>

D. J. O’Malley was born in San Angelo, Texas, in 1868, and put in nearly a score of years on the open range. He started cowboying in Montana in 1884. Read more about D.J. O’Malley here >>

 
 
 

Carl T. “Doc” Sprague (born May 10, 1895 – died February 21, 1979) was an American country musician. He was often dubbed “The Original Singing Cowboy”. Sprague was one of the first country musicians on record, recording in the early 1920s.

Sprague grew up on a farm near Houston, Texas and learned traditional cowboy songs as a child. During his college years at Texas A&M, he played in a band and later on, worked as an athletic trainer. He also found time to conduct a weekly radio program on campus. He graduated from college in 1922. Sprague served in World War I, and was offered occasional work performing on radio. He received a recording contract by Victor in 1925.

In August, the same year, he went to Camden, New Jersey to record his first ten songs. His debut sides were “When the Work’s All Done This Fall” and “Bad Companions”; the former would go on to sell over 900,000 copies. His recording of “The Dying Cowboy” became a hit in 1926. Other successful recordings was “The Boston Burglar” and “The Two Soldiers”. He recorded with Victor until 1929, releasing 33 songs. In the 1930s he moved to Bryan, Texas and ceased recording, though he would return to play folk festivals during the genre’s resurgence in the 1950s and 1960s. He died in 1979 in Bryan, Texas.

Source Wikipedia

Further reading:

Cattle Trails From Wyoming Tales and Trails
The Old West Gallery

 

Lyrics below


By Tom Roush


 


Marty Robbins


 


Gene Autry


 


See other songs of the American Spirit in History and at Music

 

Lyrics

From CowboyLyrics.com

1. A group of jolly cowboys, discussing plans at ease
Says one, I’ll tell you something, boys, if you will listen, please
I am an old cow-puncher, you see me dressed in rags
I used to be a good one boys, and went on great big jags

2. I have got a home boys, a good one you all know
Although I haven’t seen it since very long ago
I’m headed back to Dixie once more to see them all
I’m going to see my mother when the work’s all done this fall

3. When I left my home, boys, my mother for me cried
She begged me not to go, boys, for me she would have died
My mother’s heart is aching, breaking for me, that’s all
With God’s help I’ll see her when the work’s all done this fall”

4. That very night this cowboy went out to stand his guard
The night was dark and cloudy and storming very hard
The cattle, they got frightened and rushed in wild stampede
The cowboy tried to head them while riding at full speed

5. Riding in the darkness, so loudly he did shout
Trying hard to head them and turn the herd about
His saddle horse did stumble and on him it did fall
He’ll not see his mother when the work’s all done this fall

6. “Send my mother my wages, boys, the wages I have earned
I am so afraid, boys, the last steer I have turned
I’m headed for a new range, I hear my Master call
I’ll not see my mother when the work’s all done this fall

7. Fred, you take my saddle, George, you take my bed
Bill, you take my pistol after I am dead
Then think of me kindly when you look upon them all
I’ll not see my mother when the work’s all done this fall”

8. Charlie was buried at sunrise, no tombstone for his head
Nothing but a little board, and this is what it said
“Charlie died at daybreak, he died from a fall
He’ll not see his mother when the work’s all done this fall”

 


America remember and honor your history – it will give direction,
purpose and security to your future.

 
 
 

Plow & Hearth

 

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