Dust Eatin’ Cowboys
Western Music
The Lone Writer  

Western Song: Dust Eatin’ Cowboys

Dust Eatin’ Cowboys is a song of the Hotmud Family. It is one of the 15 tracks of Hotmuds LP Meat and Potatoes & Stuff Like That released by Flying Fish Records in 1981. Members of the Western Writers of America chose the song as one of the Top 100 Western Songs of all time. 


The Hotmud Family was a U.S. folk and bluegrass band based in Dayton, Ohio, active from 1970-1984. In 2010, four out of the six LP records they recorded were re-released on a two-CD.

Suzanne Thomas, Rick Good, and Dave Edmundson were the original band members. Their interest in country music of the 1920s and 1930s, fueled by the success of the New Lost City Ramblers, inspired them to study the recordings of pre-World War II artists which include the Carter Family, Uncle Dave Macon, Jimmie Rodgers, the Delmore Brothers, and the Skillet Lickers.

They were regular entertainers at string music festivals in the 1970s, playing hundreds of dates with entertaining stage performances and an unusual “mix of old times and bluegrass influences.” Hotmuds recorded four LPs for Vetco Records in Cincinnati between 1974 and 1978. In their 14-year run, they became known as “the former band that could sing.”

Among the 15 tracks from their 1981 LP Meat and Potatoes & Stuff Like That was Dust Eatin’ Cowboys. The song is about honoring the simple cowboys of the American West. 

Listen (The Hotmud Family Version)

Dust Eatin’ Cowboys Lyrics

I laid in some wages and went on a spree
But whiskey and women got the better of me
Boys, you might as well shoot for the man in the moon
As to shoot for the girls at the Red Dog Saloon

They're too hot to handle and too cold to touch
And their two dollar kiss is a little too much
Handsome young dandies are always preferred
To the dust eatin' cowboys at the rear of the herd
There's lots of them hungry old rounders around
Who'd give a month's pay for a weekend in town
For an armful of gingham and a glass full of foam
Now they're hustlin' for train fare to take them back home
But they sold off the prairie for a fist full of change
Now there's barbed wire fences all over the range
Before they did business, they should have conferred
With the dust eatin' cowboys at the rear of the herd
Some folks think everyone wants to do right
But some people out there ain't tryin' tonight
I'd give my right arm and the other one too
If I could do better, like I never do
And I can't help recallin' the chapel bell chimes
That Peter himself denied Jesus three times
If you talk to heaven, put in a good word
For the dust eatin' cowboys at the rear of the herd
For the dust eatin' cowboys at the rear of the herd.

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