Diamond Joe

Photo courtesy istockphoto.com/peeterv
Photo courtesy istockphoto.com/peeterv

There is a man you hear about, most every place you go
His holdings are in Texas, and his name is Diamond Joe
He carries all his money, in a diamond studded jaw
And he’s never been much bothered by the process of the law

I hired on to Diamond Joe boys, I did offer him my hand
He gave me a string of horses, so old they could not stand
I liked to die of hunger, he did mistreat me so
And I never earned a dollar, in the pay of Diamond Joe

Well his bread it was corndodger, his meat I could not chaw
And he drove me near distracted, with the wagging of his jaw
By the telling of this story, I aim to let you know
There never was a rounder that lied like Diamond Joe

I tried three times to quit him boys, but he did argue so
That I’m still punching cattle, in the pay of Diamond Joe
When I’m called up yonder, when it is my time to go
Give my blankets to my buddies, give the fleas to Diamond Joe.


The origins of Diamond Joe aren’t clear. A staple tune of cowboy gatherings across North America, it has been recorded many, many times by such artists as Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, Sam Bush, Ian Tyson, Allen Christie?—?the list continues to grow to this day. One of the earliest recordings was by the Georgia Crackers in the 1920s.