Two Riders Were Approaching

Two riders were approaching
on hogs and wearing leather.
“Let’s stop here,” said one to the other,
“for a cool drinking beer.”

They passed the time on songs
that ofttimes rhymed.
On the trail or in the big city.
They parked the hogs in the gutter.

At the bar the one he uttered,
“What’s that you got in the vat?”
“Saltwort Ale,” the barkeep did tell,
combing his beard with a hand.

“Two lights for us, my friend,
the day grows warm and thin,
the dust is finding its corners,
the dogs want shade and water.”

“No light here,” the barkeep says,
“and we don’t serve no rhymesters.”
“But we are the two riders,
two riders who were approaching.”

“This here’s a craft brew pub,
not some seedy tavern.
Take your hogs and dogs across the tracks,
go see John Wesley’s mother.”

The two riders went back to riding.
On the trail where we last heard their cry,
they were still approaching.
Two riders were approaching.

“Yippi-yi-yo,
yippie-ki-yay,
we’re gonna go
our own way.”

Yippi-yi-yo,
yippie-ki-yay,
we’re gonna go
our own way.”

“Two Riders Were Approaching” is a song I wrote and performed on my show “Live at 5 from the JoeZone” on Instagram on Saturday, May 9 (now deleted). I used the chord progression Am Dm E7 Am. I changed a few words and lines here, and I discarded here a few of the lines sung live, as follows:

“…where the hodads hang their hats”;
“The hogs are hot and tired”;
“I don’t care if you’re the four horses of the apocalypse.”

If I ever play “Two Riders” again, I’ll probably change it some more.
Meantime, tune in to Live at 5 from the JoeZone Saturday nights (PST), a pandemic quarantine social distancing live video hour (or less) of music, talk, stories, and such to help pass the time and ease the mind.

I wrote this song, as I explained on “Live at 5,” to celebrate the latest Bob Dylan recordings, his first with all original songs in eight years. The title of my song, “Two Riders Were Approaching,” is the penultimate line in the Dylan song “All Along the Watchtower.” As I asked my audience, “Have you ever wondered what happened to those two riders?”

Photo: Pic I took of a photo at the Oregon Historical Society “Barley, Barrels, Bottles, and Brews” exhibit in 2019: two musicians and a bartender at the Cowdell Saloon in Antelope, Oregon, 1913.