Bennett Foster, who died in 1969, wrote this poem, and Slim Critchlow gave it the tune. Slim included it on his Arhoolie record, The Crooked Trail to Holllrook, an album put together from tapes made by Barry Olivier of a number of programs Slim gave in the Berkeley, California, area during the late 1960s. Slim died just a few weeks before the album was released (and only one month after the author of the poem). I'm indebted to Katie Lee's Katydid publication, Ten Thousand Goddam Cattle, for most of this information. Let me give you a quote from the book: Slim was, until settling in Califomia, an outdoor man; a cowboy in Idaho, a deputy sheriff in Salt Lake County, a park ranger in Bryce and Zion National Parks, and finally corraled indoors, a radio singer. (You can order this book, as well as Katie Lee's recordings, from her at P.O. Box 395, Jerome, AZ 86331.) Slim himself had this to say about the song: "To the old time cowboy the coming of the wire fences was the signal that the old days and the old ways had gone for good." Ed tells us he learned the song from Larry Hanks out in Berkeley, "a long time ago."
One day, when the barbed wire flings its band
The last remuda will jingle in
And then, in the morning, from tarp and tent,
The drive will come from flat and hill
The last round-up crew, the last wagon boss.