Battler's Ballad (J.Wright/M.O'Rourke) You are just a lonely battler and you're waiting for a rattler You wish to heaven you were never born For you ran to dodge a copper and you came an awful cropper The skin on both your hands is cut and torn You are tired and you're weary, lack of sleep makes your eyes bleary The soles of both your shoes are worn right through Your heart is sore and aching and your back is nearly breaking Your coat and shirt and pants have had it too Chorus: And it's hey, hey hobo, you're just a rolling stone Though you're stony broke, if you still can crack a joke You're as good as any king upon his throne Your blood is nearly boiling and your muscles need no oiling As you duck and dodge the headlight's brilliant glare For you've seen the copper's wood heap and you know that it's a good heap You know the tucker's not the best in there Then the engine gives a whistle, you trip up on a thistle Get tangled up in signal wires and points Then you blunder in the gutter and angrily you mutter 'Well, strike me pink, of all the flamin' joints!' First Repeat chorus And it's hey, hey hobo, you're just a rolling stone Though your pants are wearing thin, if you can still raise a grin You're as good as any king upon his throne Then you see the green light flashing and hear the bumpers crashing You see the great big engine rushing by With your swag all at the ready, your nerves are not so steady For you know you'll have to take her on the fly Then your swag you try to throw in , but the flamin' thing won't go in Bounces off the truck and hits you, and you fall Pick the remnants of your swag up, pick your billy-can and bag up You say, 'I missed the bastard after all!' Second Repeat chorus And it's hey, hey hobo, you're just a rolling stone Though the sky is looking grey, there will surely come a day When you'll own a bloody railway of your own. Words: Jack Wright c.1930s. Collected by Alan Scott. Tune: Mike O'Rourke Source: As recorded by Mike O'Rourke on 'Flying Pieman' 1980. PS. This excellent piece from the depression years in Australia came to me via Tony Suttor in Darwin. PS apr00
Thanks to Mudcat for the Digital Tradition!