Les Almanac Singers étaient spécialisés dans la chanson protestataire, mais avaient également l’ambition de faire revivre le patrimoine de la chanson populaire. Ils ont ainsi interprété des chansons traditionnelles, chansons de travail, chansons de marins, chansons de cow-boys.

I Ride An Old Paint est l’une des plus classiques de ces chansons de cow-boys : une de celles qui n’évoque pas d’autres aspects de la vie de l’Ouest que le travail des vachers, avec tout au plus quelques cancans sur la vie des unes et des autres. Le cow-boy travaille dur au milieu du bétail, juché sur son cheval. Il a les mains calleuses, et ne possède que sa selle. Pour trouver du travail, il peut montrer ses muscles, ses mains et ses pieds. Il veut mourir la face tournée vers l’ouest, et n’envisage l’avenir qu’un lasso à la main.

C’est Woody Guthrie qui chante le couplet, ses camarades l’accompagnant en chœur pour le refrain.

I RIDE AN OLD PAINT

I ride an old Paint and I lead an old Dan
Goin’ to Montana to throw the houlihan
Feed them in the coulees, then water in the draw
Their tails are all matted and their backs are all raw

Ride around, little dogies, ride around them slow
For the fiery and snuffy are raring to go

Old Bill Jones had a daughter and a son
Son went to college and his daughter went wrong
His wife got killed in a free-for-all fight
Still he keeps singing from morning ’til night

Ride around, little dogies, ride around them slow
For the fiery and snuffy are raring to go

When I die take my saddle from the wall
Put it onto my pony, lead him out of his stall
Tie my bones on his back and turn our faces to the west
We’ll ride the prairies that we love the best

Ride around, little dogies, ride around them slow
For the fiery and snuffy are raring to go

I’ve worked in a town and I’ve worked in the farms
All i’ve got to shows just this muscle in my arm
Blisters on my feet, callous on my hand
And I’m goin’ to Montana to throw the houlihan

Ride around little doggies, ride around them slow
for the firey and snuffy are raring to go

Ride around little doggies, ride around them slow
For the firey and snuffy are raring to go