comments 2

East Texas Red

I think I may make the series of thematic music posts I’ve been making on the subject of murder ballads a weekly post rather than continue it daily. While only one reader has mentioned that I seem to be playing a lot of violent music, it is a little creepy hearing all those songs about murders day after day. However, that won’t start until after tonight’s post. Tonight I’m going to feature a Woody Guthrie tune called East Texas Red. It’s about a railroad bull named East Texas Red, the meanest bull around if you want the truth. In the song, sees the cook fire of a couple hobos on the hunt for work and he shows up and kicks over their stew pot so they have nothing to eat. The hobos tell Red he’d better get his business straight because he’ll be riding that little black train one year from that day. What is this little black train? It’s not good news, I can tell you that…

A year goes buy and those hobos find some work but they take the trouble to head back to the spot where East Texas Red dumped their stew pot. They light their cook fire and start cooking their stew and they and wait for Red to show up. He does and you can guess the rest. Red was arrogant and he didn’t get his business straight, but he had no time to plead his case. I guess the message is that if you are mean and nasty one day you’ll be mean and nasty to the wrong guys and you’ll pay for your bad behavior in a really big way.

Here are two versions of East Texas Red, the first by dixiesguitar and the second by heyisis

Attentive readers may have noticed occasional comments on this blog by somebody who goes by the name of East Texas Red. Let me just say that my friend East Texas Red is not the meanest bull around, unlike the guy in the song.


  1. This song is new to me, but I am always happy to add another murder ballad to my repertoire. Could come in handy someday…

Have your say...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s