The Goodnight-Loving Trail
by Utah Phillips (1935-2008)
first published in 1973

Click here to watch a video of the song performed by Willy Sunday

Too old to wrangle or ride in the swing
You beat the triangle and curse everything
And if if dirt were a kingdom, then you'd be the king

On the Goodnight Trail, on the Loving Trail
Our Old Woman's* lonesome tonight
Your French harp** blows like a lone bawling calf
It's a wonder the wind don't tear off your skin
Get in there and blow out the light

The cooks fire's out, the coffee's all gone
The ole boys are up and they're raising the dawn
And you're sitting there, lost in a song


Your snake oil, your herbs and your liniments too
You can do anything that a doctor can do
Except find a cure for your own goddamn stew


Someday, I know, I'll be just the same
I'll be wearing an apron instead of a name
Now no one can change it, no one's to blame
'Cause the desert's a book written in lizards and sage
It's easy to look like an old torn out page
All faded and cracked with the colors of age


* the cook on a wagon train--often an old cowboy worn out from years of horseback riding
** harmonica