© 1985 Bill Gallaher  SOCAN


Mary Garvey of Vancouver, Washington introduce to the music of this amazing Canadian songwriter.  Bill says this was one of the first songs he wrote; and while he always knows whereof he writes, luckily this song did not become autobiographical.


Bill says, "Back in '72, Jaye* said to me 'Why don't you write a song?' I asked, 'What kind of song?' And without skipping a beat she said 'A cowboy song.' Not knowing much of anything about cowboys, I eventually settled on the idea of 'Sufferin'' when I recalled the old gent whose groceries I used to carry home when I was a kid of 7 or 8 years old.  He was well into his eighties and would regale me with tales of his life.  I remember him saying he'd been a cowboy, a prospector, a railroad worker, among other things, and the addendum would always be, 'People today have it real easy.  Now, when I was a young man…'"

*Bill's wife


Gordon – 12-string guitar


When I was young and in my prime

I had a woman and her future by my side

But the four winds blow and the grass don't grow

'Round the feet of a man with travelin' in his hide

            So I threw off all the shackles and the chains

            Said goodbye to what's her name

            And I suffered through the cold September rain      

            Heading back to freedom once again


Well, I tried my luck on a fiery buck

In back of ramblin' two-room ranchin' shack

There ain't nothing worse than a buckskin horse

With a mind of his own and a saddle on his back

            For riding he just didn't seem to care

            So he left me there in the dusty air

            And I suffered through the insults and the pain

            Of landing on my backside once again


Well, I broke my back laying down the track

For the railroad that was making its way out West

But I had no feel for the cold hard steel

And a job that gave no time for a man to rest

            So I said goodbye and headed North for gold

            Staked my claim on a salted* vein

            And I suffered through the hunger and the cold

            All I found was a young man growing old


I drank my fill of the barroom swill

Danced 'til the sun was a jewel in the morning sky

I used my fist for a goodnight kiss

On the face of a man with evil in his eye

            Then I stumbled through the morning feeling ill         

            Till I fell with a thud in the rain and the mud

            And I suffered through a day or two in jail

            Then I headed back to the freedom of the trail


Well, the years have flown but the times I've known

Were better than a poke in the eye with a rusty nail

If a man will try and a man don't lie to himself

Then his life can be a hell of a tale

            To change my life I wouldn't give a dime

            And when I go the books will show

            That I suffered from my birth right through my prime

            Now I'm heading back to freedom, one last time


*someone had spread a little "good news" around



Sufferin' is recorded on the album Dear To Our Island