Stawberry Roan

Curley Fletcher and the boys

This cowboy song is not traditional, strictly speaking. It was written by cowboy poet Curley Fletcher and published in his "Songs of the Sage" in 1936. But it is about as authentic as you can get and has long been a favorite among working cowboys.

My version is a composite of lyrics I heard from Cisco Houston and Ed McCurdy as well as some from the original poem.


I was hangin' 'round town and just spendin' my time,
Out of a job and not earnin' a dime
When a feller steps up and he says, "I suppose
You're a bronc' bustin' man by the looks of your clothes."

"You figgers me right. I’m a good one," I claim,
"Do you happen to have any bad ones to tame?"
Says, "I've got one and a bad one to buck;
For throwin' good riders he's had lots of luck."

Says, "This old pony ain't never been rode,
And the boy that gets on him is bound to get throwed."
Gets all excited and I ask what he pays
To ride this old goat for a couple of days.

Offers a ten spot. I says, "I'm your man,
For the bronc never lived that I couldn't fan;
The hoss never lived, nor he never drew breath
That I couldn't ride till be starved plumb to death."

Oh that strawberry roan
Oh that strawberry roan
They say he’s a cayuse that’s never been rode
The man that gets on him is bound to get throwed
You can’t stay on that strawberry roan

Well he says, "Get your saddle, I'll give you a chance."
We got in his buckboard and rode to the ranch.
Stayed until morning, and right after chuck
We goes out to see how this outlaw could buck.

Down in the horse corral standing alone,
Was that old caballo, that strawberry roan.
His legs were spavined, and he had pigeon toes,
Little pig eyes and a big Roman nose,

Little pin ears that were crimped at the tip,
With a big 44 branded 'cross his left hip;
Ewe-necked and old, with a long narrow jaw,
You can see with one eye he's a reg'lar outlaw.

I buckle on my spurs and I’m sure feelin’ fine
I picks up my hat and I curls up my twine
I piles my rope on him and well I know then
That before I’ve done ridin’ I’ve sure earned my ten.

I get’s my blinds on and it sure is a fight
Next comes my old saddle and I screws her on tight.
Then I steps up on to him and raises the blinds
I’m right in his middle to see him unwind

Well he bowed his old neck and by God he unwound,
He seemed to quit living down there on the ground,
Goes up towards the east and comes down towards the west,
To stay in his middle I'm a-doin' my best,

I'll telling you, no foolin', this pony can step,
I'm still in his middle I'm buildin' a rep,
He hits on all fours and comes down on his side,
I don't see what keeps him from losin' his hide.

He's about the worst bucker I've seen on the range
He can turn on a nickel and give you the change.
I loses my stirrup and also my hat,
I starts pulling leather, I'm blind as a bat;

With a big forward jump he goes up on high,
Leaves me sittin' on nothin' way up in the sky,
Turns over twice, and I comes down to earth,
I lights in a-cussin' the day of his birth.

Well, I know there’s ponies I ain’t able to ride,
Some are still living, they haven't all died.
But I'll bet all my money the man ain't alive,
That can stay with old strawberry when he makes his high dive.

Oh that strawberry roan . . .