I Ride An Old Paint

From Vol. 1
Traditional Treasures


CAPO: Fret 3




A Little About This Song…

Cowboys faced real dangers on the trail including lightning, swift-flowing water, and hostile Native Americans. The greatest danger of all, though, was the stampede. When the cattle were lying peacefully on the ground at night, any sound, flash of lightning, or instinct could bring them all to their feet and send them charging into the darkness. Many a cowboy’s life was lost in an attempt to get a herd back in control by riding to the front and heading them off into a wide, but ever-narrowing circle.

To discourage stampedes, each cowboy would serve two-hour shifts of night duty. Two at a time, all night long, the cowboys would ride slowly in opposite directions in a giant circle around the sleeping herd. They would sing and whistle continuously to pass the time, to keep themselves awake, to drown out the noises of the night, and so the cattle would know that a friend was watching over them. Old Paint and The Cowboy’s Lament are among the many songs that were sung to slumbering cattle.

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