“A Cowboy's Life”


"A cowboy's life is a weary, dreary life, Some say it's free from care." The singer complains of long hours, rising too early in the day, howling wild animals, bad weather, and wealthy bosses


Roud seems to lump all cowboy songs which contain the words "A cowboy's life is a (weary/dreary), dreary life" here. I'm not really convinced -- some of these songs share hardly any othe rlyrics. But, with none of them telling distinct stories, there isn't much basis for distinguishing. - RBW

Cross references


  • Sloan Matthews, "The Cowboy's Life is a Very Dreary Life" (AFS, 1940s; on LC28)


  1. Larkin, pp. 53-57, "The Dreary Life" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. Lomax-FSNA 187, "A Cowboy's Life" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Thorp/Fife XVII, pp. 228-239 (38-39), "The Pecos Stream" (6 texts, 2 tunes, though not all appear to be part of this piece)
  4. Fife-Cowboy/West 86, "The Cowboy's Life" (3 texts, 1 tune, although only the "A" text is demonstrably this piece)
  5. Roud #838
  6. BI, LoF187


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1908
Keywords: cowboy work hardtimes
Found in: US