Buffalo Skinners


At four o'clock in the morning when the bars all closed in Chicago, a few of us would go out for breakfast. There were musicians, singers and people who worked at the various bars and nightclubs along Rush Street. Herb O'Brian was a tall fellow with a mustache and a big bass voice who worked as the bartender at Easy Street. He liked to drink 151 proof rum and sing one song a cappella, over and over as we ate steak and eggs. Here is the song he sang.
[Bm] 'Twas in the town of [A] Jacksburo, in the [G] year of [Bm]'73
That a [D] man by the name of [G] Kre- [A] ggo come [D] walking up to [G] me
Saying [D] how you doing young [G] fel- [A] ler and [D] would you like to [G] go
To [Bm] spend the summer [A] pleasantly on the [G] range of the [Bm] buffalo

Me being out of employment, to Kreggo I did say
This summer on the buffalo range depends upon the pay
For if you pay good wages, transportation to and fro'
It's likely I go with you to the range of the buffalo

Yes I will pay good wages, and transportation too
If you'll agree to work for me until the season's through
But if you do get homesick and you try to run away
You'll starve to death on the buffalo range, and also lose your pay

With all this fancy talking he set up quite a plan
Some ten or twelve in number, all able bodied men
Our trip it was a pleasant one as we hit the westward road
Until we reached Las Cruces in old New Mexico

Well then our pleasures ended and our troubles they begun
When lightning struck the wagon boys and made the buffalo run
A thousand head a-breathin' fire, stampeding they did go
And outlaws waiting to pick us off from the hills of Mexico

Well the working season ended but the drover would not pay
He said 'you boys been extravagant , your all in debt to me'
But the cowboys never heard such a thing as a bankrupt drover-o
So they left his bones to bleach in the hills of Mexico

Across the Rio Grande my boys and homeward we are bound
No one on this buffalo range will ever more be found
Go home to your wives and sweethearts, tell others not to go
To spend the summer pleasantly on the range of the buffalo