Songsters, Writers, Rovers

And if true Drifter history isn’t enough to whet your Hobo appetite, please visit E-Hobo.com. The original 700 Hobo names were written by John Hodgman for his book Areas of My Expertise (100 extra names were added with the paperback release of AoME).

Due to the overwhelming fascination with these vagabonds, artists from around the globe have collaborated and submitted illustrations for each.

Eleventh Stack

In California last week a friend taught me a hobo song. The tune flew back to Pittsburgh with me and followed me to work at the library. I still wake in the night with the melody teasing my sleepy brain. “Hobo’s Lullaby” is a beautiful song.

“Hobo’s Lullaby” was written by Goebel Reeves (born 1899). Teen-aged Reeves adored vaudeville and hobos. He traded a middle-class life for the adventure of roaming the U.S., singing, yodeling, and recording under pseudonyms, including “The Texas Drifter.” He wrote and performed autobiographical songs, and limited his chances for a lucrative career by refusing to settle in one place for more than a few months—a dedicated hobo.

Other musicians who hoboed are Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, and Utah Philips. Writers who hoboed include James Michener, George Orwell, Jack Kerouac (fictionalized in The Dharma Bums), and Jack London.

In its depression-era heyday…

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