I came into Yuba as soon as I read
Of all of those twenty-five hobos found dead,
I came in to find out if one of the slain
Could have answered to my brother's name.
It might be your brother, I just couldn't say,
We hire lots of floaters who work by the day;
Now I see his photo they might be the same,
But I never did ask him his name.
Chorus: If I had a list and if I only knew,
I'd write down their names and sing them to you,
And when I got done, I'd sing them again,
So you'd all know each one had a name.
He had a room and ran out on the rent,
Hired on a crew, I don't know where he went,
If I knew his boss, I might make a claim,
But I never did write down his name.
He stopped for a drink every now and again,
Didn't look no different than hundreds of men;
You know these old bums, they all look the same,
No reason to ask him his name.
It might have been Shorty, a feller I knew,
We bunked in the empties when the season was through.
You know, I been thinking, it sure is a shame
I never did ask him his name.
We always abandon the old for the new,
And second-hand people get thrown away, too;
I know it won't help, but still it explains
Why no one remembers their names.