> Folk Music > Songs > Boomer's Story

Boomer's Story / The Railroad Boomer

[ Roud 24085 ; Ballad Index LSRai390 ; Carson J. Robison]

Frank Luther and Carson J. Robison sang the latter's song The Railroad Boomer under the artist moniker “Bud Billings and Robison” on a 1929 Victor record.

Ry Cooder sang Boomer's Story as the title track of his 1972 album Boomer's Story.

Swan Arcade sang Boomer's Story in 1984 on their Fellside album Together Forever. This album was included in 2001 as part of their Fellside compilation CD Round Again.

Steve Turner sang Boomer's Story in 1984 on his Fellside album Eclogue and in 2012 on his Tradition Bearers album Rim of the Wheel. He commented in the latter album's notes:

An American traditional song made famous by Ry Cooder which I stole many years ago from an LP by Swan Arcade. It was discovered by Ry Cooder and was the title track on his Boomer's Story LP of 1972. Apart from church bells one of the other things the concertina is good for is making train noises!

Lyrics

Swan Arcade sing Boomer's Story

Come and gather all around me, and listen to my tale of woe.
I've got some good advice to give you, lots of things you oughta know.
Take a tip from one who's travelled, I never stopped rambling round
Cos once you get the roaming fever, you never want to settle down, you never want to settle down.

Well, I met a little gal up in 'Frisco, and I asked her to be my wife
I told her I was tired of roaming, I'm gonna settle down for life.
Then I heard a whistle blowing and I knew it was a red ball train
And I left that gal beside the railroad, I never saw that gal again, I never saw that gal again.

Well, I've travelled all over the country, I've travelled everywhere.
I've been on every branch line railroad, I never paid a nickel fare.
Been from Maine to California, and Canada to Mexico.
And I never tried to save no money, and now I've got no place to go, and now I've got no place to go.

So come on listen to my boomer's story, pay attention to what I say.
Hear another train a-coming, I guess I'll be on my way.
If you want to do me a favour, and when I lay me down and die,
Come on and dig my grave beside the railroad so I can hear the trains go by, so I can hear the trains go by.
Come on and dig my grave beside the railroad so I can hear the trains go by, so I can hear the trains go by.

Steve Turner sings Boomer's Story

Come and gather all around me, and listen to my tale of woe.
I've got some good advice to give you, lots of things you ought to know.
Take a tip from one who's travelled, I never stop rambling round
Cos once you get the roaming fever, you never want to settle down, you never want to settle down.

Well, I met a little girl up in 'Frisco, I asked her to be my wife
I told her I was tired of roaming, I'm gonna settle down for life.
Then I heard the whistle blowing and I knew it was a red ball train
So I left that girl beside the railroad, I never saw that girl again, I never saw that girl again.

Well, I travel all over the country, I travelled everywhere.
I've been on every branch line railroad, I've never paid a nickel fare.
Been from Maine to California, and Canada to Mexico.
But I never tried to save no money, and now I've got no place to go, and now I've got no place to go.

So come listen to my boomer's story, pay attention to what I say.
I hear another train a-coming, I guess I'll be on my way.
If you want to do me a favour, and when I lay me down and die,
Come on and dig my grave beside the railroad so I can hear the trains go by, so I can hear the trains go by.
Come on and dig my grave beside the railroad so I can hear the trains go by, so I can hear the trains go by.

Acknowlegements

Thanks to Garry Gillard for transcribing the words Steve Turner sang which differ slightly from what is printed in the album's booklet.