Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Texas Cultural Appreciation Series, v. 1


"Well, many of the songs, they aren't sad, they're hopeless."

Townes Van Zandt, after being asked why he only wrote sad songs.

Pancho & Lefty

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

Pancho was a bandit, boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words
That's the way it goes

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

Lefty he can't sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty's mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
There ain't nobody knows

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
So the story ends we're told
Pancho needs your prayers it's true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he's growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose

(off of the album The Late Great Townes Van Zandt, 1972)

"There are only two kinds of songs; there's the blues, and there's zip-a-dee-doo-dah."
- Townes Van Zandt

"Townes Van Zandt is the best songwriter in the whole world and I'll stand on Bob Dylan's coffee table in my cowboy boots and say that."
- Steve Earle.

"I've met Bob Dylan and his bodyguards, and I don't think Steve [Earle] could get anywhere near his coffee table."
- Townes Van Zandt.

8 comments:

UF Mike said...

That's a great quote, Kissyface, and I plan to have it put on my gravestone. Hey, am I alone in thinking there's something hinky about the couplet:

"Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel"

Something tells me this outlaw frequently found himself in jail for indecent exposure.

kissyface said...

Indeed, Sir. Seems he was a bit of an exhibitionist. I just hope it was a piece worth viewing.

And thank you for teaching me a new word! Few things excite the KFace like a great addition to her lexicon, and that's a humdinger. Now, finally, I have a decent rhyme for 'kinky.' The sound of it alone is gratifying, and it's concise and cheeky, to boot. I'm jumping up and down like Reese Witherspoon after she won over the student body in Election!!

kissyface said...

ok, it's not in my American Heritage Dic. in any form, but dictionary.com says it means 'suspicious,' yet is a variant of 'hincty' and 'dincty,' which mean haughty or snobbish, both of obscure origin. How did the word traverse that particular evolutionary path, I wonder?

Hincty-Dincty sat on a wall...

I am overly caffeinated.

steve said...

I'd a thought it was a combo of hokey and kinky... but thanks KF for the plug for Townes...I actually fixed his supper a coupla times...wish he was here.

kissyface said...

Steve - wow. all i can say is 'wow.'

UF Mike said...

Ditto, Steve: Wow.

Kissyface: I don't know where hinky comes from. The same place "skeeve" comes from, as in

"She skeeves me!"

UF Mike said...

"Please keep Steve Earle off me. His cowboy boots have cow poop all over them."
--Bob Dylan's coffee table

red-dirt-girl said...

ooo this is sort of twilight zone for me.....well, maybe not.

Steve recommended Poncho and Lefty for my iPod playlist post....and I'm really lovin' Townes....not ever having heard of him or his music before.....

just shows even a red dirt girl has something to learn.....

rdg

ps Steve told me to make up and be nice...Men!