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BRUCE BRILL
Israel
About Bruce Brill

 

 

High Pockets Bob

Highpockets Bob like other cowboys did tedious work that needed be done:
Brandin' and makin' hay, mendin' fence, out all day; so, they would look for some fun.

Rodeos, drinkin', dancin', singin', laughin' at Hollywood's cowpokes,
Riding the rails & trails, their tongue-in-cheek tall tales, best of all, practical jokes.

Loosen your buddy's saddle cinch-strap. Laugh as he falls and eats some dust.
'Tween saddle and mount's fur, just slip a cocklebur. Who in the world can you trust?

A big one-eyed bruiser loved this burr prank. It was the way he'd get his thrill.
He was half-Indian, given name William; so, was called Cocklebur Bill.

Cocklebur Bill one break decided, under a loft to take a nap.
Each time he'd close that eye, straw would fall from the sky, landin' on Cocklebur's lap.

Up from the loft Bill heard Bob snickerin'. "Why, you S.O.B.!" All heard Bill shout.
By cowboy lore out there, this really was a dare. So, they had to have it out.

     If the shoe be on the other foot, some try their best to shake it.
     They're mighty quick to dish it out, but they don't know how to take it.

Cocklebur in both ways, a puncher. Bob knew he have to watch his step.
'Cause Bill's punch was stronger and Bill's reach was longer, so Bob had to dodge and back-step.

Bob didn't see that peg he tripped on. Bill pulled Bob's shirt o'er Bob's head.
Now Bob was blinded and his arms were binded: Bill would pound Bob 'til he's dead.

Just then the foreman, Heavy Handsome, said, "OK, Bill, end of fight!"
Do you think Bill listened? In that eye hate glistened. Kept up with all of his might.

Old Heavy Handsome lumbered forward. Then he let his huge fist fly.
Then as now, might makes right. Put quick end to the fight. One punch in Bill's one good eye.

     It's been said, "What's good for the goose, should be as good for the gander."
     But when Highpockets Bob fooled Cocklebur Bill, Heavy Handsome had to cool Bill's dander.

Highpockets Bob a few years later rode into a Road Fuddler's hatch.
After chuck and chit-chat, sang the Road Fuddler that Cocklebur Bill'd met his match.

In "The Ballad of Cocklebur Bill's Last Fight", nothing of Heavy Handsome said.
'Tho it was a cute song, got the main detail wrong: making Bob the winner instead!

     If the shoe be on the other foot, some try their best to shake it.
     They're mighty quick to dish it out, but they don't know how to take it.
     It's been said, "What's good for the goose, should be as good for the gander."
     But when Highpockets Bob fooled Cocklebur Bill, Heavy Handsome had to cool Bill's dander.

2013, Bruce Brill, All Rights Reserved
This poem may not be reprinted or reposted without the author's  permission.

 

Bruce told us: What inspired the song was a true story of a fight between "High Pockets Bob," (Robert William Johnson), my mentor and violin teacher in my youth, and "Cockelbur Bill." The fight ended in the work foreman on the cattle ranch they were working, a big Swede called "Heavy Handsome" ending the fight by giving Bill a punch in his one good eye. Some years later, High Pockets heard a song called "The Last Fight of Cocklebur Bill" in which High Pockets was portrayed as the winner of the fight.  I have searched and searched to find "The Last Fight of Cockelbur Bill," but so far in vain. Not finding the song inspired me to write a song about the phantom song.

 

 


       About Bruce Brill
                                                     
provided 2013

Originally, I'm from the West ... the West Bronx!

i was blessed in my later childhood to have had a mentor, Bob Johnson. He was a working and professional cowboy in the 1930s (as I mentioned in the introduction to the song "High Pockets Bob"). He was once asked to participate in a rodeo in Madison Square Garden in New York City ... and rode his horse all the way from Wyoming to New York.

He was truly an inspiration to me: teaching me violin, and the beauty, ethics, and adventure of the cowboy way of life. He shared with me a rich roundup of genuine cowboy songs he learned at the many cow camp and ranch house venues that were his home for those years he cowboyed.

For the last 30 years I've also been living in "the West" ... the West Bank in Israel. Come visit!




 

 

 

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