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East Texas Red *
Down in the scrub oak country by the southeast Texas Gulf
There used to ride a brakeman, a brakeman double tough.
He worked the town of Kilgore, and Longview twelve miles down,
And the travelers all said that little East Texas Red was the meanest bull around.

If you rode by night and the broad daylight in the wintery wind or the sun,
You'd be sure to see little East Texas Red just a sportin' his smooth-runnin gun.
The tales got switched down the stems and mains, and everybody said
The meanest bull on them shiney irons was little East Texas Red.

It was on a cold and a windy mornand along towards nine or ten,
 A couple of boys on the hunt of a job they stood that blizzardy wind.
Hungry and cold they knocked on the doors of the workin people in town
For a piece of meat and a carrot or spud just to boil a stew around.

East Texas Red come down the line and he swung off old number two.
He kicked their bucket over a bush and he dumped out all their stew.
The travelers said, Little East Texas Red, you better get your business straight
Cause you're gonna ride your little black train just one year from today.

Red he laughed and he clumb the bank and he swung on the side of a wheeler,
The boys caught a tanker to Seminole and west to Amarillo.
They struck them a job of oil-field work and followed the pipeline down.
It took them lots of places before that year had rolled around.

On one cold and wintry day they hooked them a Gulf-bound train.
They shivered and shook with the dough in their clothes to the scrub oak flats again,
Over the hills of sand and hard froze roads where the cotton wagons roll,
On past the town of Kilgore and on to old Longview.

With their warm suits of clothes and overcoats they walk into a store.
They pay the man for some meat and stuff to boil a stew once more.
They track the ties down past the yard till they come to the same old spot
Where East Texas Red just a year ago had dumped their last stew pot.

The smoke of their fire rose higher and higher, a man come down the line.
With his head tucked low in the blizzardy wind and waved old number nine.
He walked on down through the jungle yard till he come to the same old spot
And there was the same two men again around that same stew pot.

Red went to his kness and he hollered  "Please, don't pull your trigger on me.
I did not get my business straight." But he did not get his say.
A gun wheeled out of an overcoat and it played the old one two,
And Red was dead when the other two men sat down to eat their stew.

*This version of the ballad, from a recording by Cisco Houston, appears suspiciously regular when compared with what may be the earliest publication, Ten Songs Woody Guthrie, unfortunately no longer available on the web.