Tall Men Riding
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Barry Taylor

This is an American version of lyrics to the tune Tramps and Hawkers. There are several other versions:

I have made separate pages for each version. The music is, of course, the same.

The lyrics to Tall Men Riding were written by Omar Barker (b. 1894) who was the honorary president of the Western Writers of America. He was a rancher, writer and teacher, and served a term in the New Mexico legislature.

Oh, the high hawk knows where the rabbit goes,
and the buzzard marks the kill
But few there be with eyes to see the tall men riding still
We hark in vain on the speeding train
for an echo of hoofbeat thunder
And the yellow wheat is a winding sheet
for cattle trails plowed under

Hoofdust flies at the low moon's rise
and the bullbat's lonesome whir
Is an echoed note from the longhorn throat of a steer,
in the days that were
Inch by inch, time draws the cinch,
till the saddle will creak no more
And they who were lords of the cattle hordes
have tallied their final score

This is the song that the night birds
sing as the phantom herds trail by
Horn by horn where the long plains fling
flat miles to the Texas sky
And this is the song that the night birds wail
where the Texas plains lie wide
Over the dust of a ghostly trail
where the phantom tall men ride
Related Links
Lyrics from The Mudcat Cafe
A great version of Tramps and Hawkers is found on Alastair MacDonald's
Songs From Gretna to Glen Coe