Hobo's Lullaby

Goebel Leon Reeves (October 9, 1899 – January 26, 1959) was an American folk singer. His most famous song is "Hobo's Lullaby", which he recorded in 1934 and released in 1936.


Hobo's Lullaby (WORD)
Hobo's Lullaby (PDF)

The lyrics I did up to match the Goebel Reeves recording, but the timing in the songsheet has been evened out for group play and I've added an optional instrumental for the harmonica players in our midst. Thanks to Mike Cockburn for introducing us to this song!

"Hobo's Lullaby" has been covered by numerous singers, notably Woody Guthrie and his son Arlo. In 1917 Reeves enlisted in the army as a bugler; he was wounded in frontline action. He was discharged and in 1921 adopted the life of a hobo, writing and singing songs as he travelled. It was from this time that an aura of mystery surrounded the life of the Texas Drifter. He travelled to Italy as a merchant seaman in the mid-1920s and toured Europe. But Europe was not ready for the Drifter and so, broke and hungry, he stowed his way back. He arrived in Galveston in 1929, and the first sound he heard was a Jimmie Rodgers record playing from a record store. Making records seemed like a good idea, so he swung up on the next fast freight for New York practicing yodels in the boxcar straw. He used a variety of pseudonyms including: The Texas Drifter; The Yodelling Wrangler; George Riley; Bert Knowles; The Broadway Wrangler; The Yodelling Rustler; Johnny Fay; The Broadway Rustler and Louie Acker. Reeves' big break came in 1931. He was invited to join the clientele of a high-class New York restaurant and clutching his guitar, in he went. Graham McNamee, an NBC announcer, introduced "The Singing Bum" to Rudy Vallée, who immediately placed Reeves on his network radio show.

Share Tweet Send