Cowboy's Dream, The

DESCRIPTION: "One night as I lay on the prairie... I wondered if ever a cowboy Could drift to that sweet by and by.... Roll on, roll on, roll on, little dogies, roll on, roll on...." A cowboy's reflections on the afterlife, with the images cast in herding terms
AUTHOR: unknown
EARLIEST DATE: 1893 ("Cow-Boy Life in Texas"); Will Barnes thought he learned the words in 1886 or 1887
KEYWORDS: cowboy religious dream
FOUND IN: US(Ap,SE,So,SW) Canada(Ont)
REFERENCES (19 citations):
Randolph 185, "One Night As I Lay on the Prairie" (2 texts, 1 tune)
BrownIII 516, "The Great Round-Up" (1 text)
Hudson 95, p. 227, "Cowboy Meditations" (1 text)
HudsonTunes 44, "Cowboy Meditations" (1 fragment, 1 tune)
Welsch, pp. 14-17, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Moore-Southwest 146, "The Cowboys Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Larkin, pp. 105-108, "The Cowboy's Heaven" (1 text, 1 tune)
Thorp/Fife VI, pp. 66-86 (19), "Grand Round-Up" (9 texts, 3 tunes)
Fife-Cowboy/West 122, "The Grand Roundup" (2 texts, 1 tune)
Finger, pp. 101-103, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-FSUSA 61, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text, 1 tune)
Lomax-ABFS, pp. 410-411, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text)
LPound-ABS, 75, pp. 166-167, "Cowboy Song" (1 text)
Tinsley, pp. 112-116, "The Cowboy's Sweet By-and-By" (1 text, 1 tune)
Darling-NAS, pp. 3309-331, "Roll On, Little Dogies" (1 text)
Silber-FSWB, p. 112, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text)
Saffel-CowboyP, p. 182-183, "The Cowboy's Dream" (1 text)
ADDITIONAL: John I. White, _Git Along, Little Dogies: Songs and Songmakers of the American West_, 1975 (page references are to the 1989 University of Illinois Press edition), pp. 62-72, "Will Barnes and 'The Cowboy's Sweet By and By'" (1 text plus various excerpts and a history of the song)

Roud #4453
Jules [Verne] Allen, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Victor V-40178, 1929; on AuthCowboys)
Arkansas Woodchopper [pseud. for Luther Ossenbrink] "The Cowboy's Dream" (Champion 15897 [as West Virginia Rail Splitter]/Supertone 9571, 1929; Gennett 7065, 1930)
Harry Jackson, "Roll On, Little Dogies" (on HJackson1)
Bradley Kincaid, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Decca 5048, 1934)
Vernon Dalhart, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Romeo 431. 1927)
McGinty's Oklahoma Cowboy Band, "Cowboy's Dream" (OKeh 45057, 1926)
Goebel Reeves, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Melotone 12214/Conqueror 7742, 1931)
George Riley (The Yodeling Rustler), "The Cowboy's Dream" (Romeo 5037, n.d. but probably c. 1930; Conqueror 7742, 1931)
Carl T. Sprague, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Victor 20122, 1926; Montgomery Ward M-4343, 1933)
Westerners [pseud. for Massey Family], "The Cowboy's Dream" (Perfect 13008, 1934)
Marc Williams, "The Cowboy's Dream" (Brunswick 244, 1928; Supertone S-2054, 1930)

cf. "My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean" (tune) and references there
cf. "Sweet By and By"
NOTES [70 words]: An extended discussion of the authorship of this piece is found in Thorp/Fife. What it seems to boil down to is that several people played a role, and none can claim the whole thing.
It was apparently built around "(In the) Sweet By and By" (so, e.g., Welsch, citing Ross Santee to the effect the words were by Will C. Barnes), but I've always heard it sung to "My Bonnie," and White reports that as the original tune.- RBW
Last updated in version 4.0
File: R185

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