The man who preached the funeralSaid it really was a simple way to dieHe laid down to rest one afternoonAnd never opened up his eyesThey hired me and Fred and JoeTo dig the grave and carry up some chairsIt took us seven hoursAnd I guess we must have drunk a case of beer.
I guess I ought to go and watch them put 'im downBut I don't own a suitAnd anyway when they start talkin'About the fire in Hell, well, I get spookedSo, I'll just sit here in my truckAnd act like I don't know 'im when they passAnyway, when they're all throughI've got to go to work and mow the grass.
Well, here they come and who's thatRidin' in that big ol' shiny limousineMmh! look at all that chrome, I do believeThat that's the sharpest thing I've seenThat must belong to his great uncleSomeone said he owned a big ol' farmWhen they get parked I'll mosey downand look it over, that won't do no harm.
Well, that must be the widow in the carAnd would you take a look at thatThat sure is a pretty dressYou know some women do look good in blackWell, he's not even in the groundAnd they say that his truck is up for saleThey say she took it pretty hardBut you can't tell too much behind the veil.
Well, listen ain't that prettyWhen the bugler plays the military TapsI think that when you's in the warThey always have to play a song like thatWell, here I am and there they goAnd I guess you'd just call it my bad luckI hope he rests in peace, the trouble isThe fellow owes me forty bucks.
― would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 4 June 2009 20:47 (ten years ago) link
i know it's actually just classic, but sometimes i think it really is the greatest thing ever written.
Definitely the best capital punishment song ever written, though.
― xhuxk, Thursday, 4 June 2009 20:51 (ten years ago) link
i thought the guy just died in his sleep.
but i love the little turns of phrase -- "some women do look good in black," "he's not even in the ground and they say that his truck is up for sale," "when they're all through i've gotta go to work and mow the grass" ... pretty much every line, really. it reminds me of edwin arlington robinson or somebody.
― would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 4 June 2009 20:58 (ten years ago) link
Oh shit, you're right, sorry -- I was thinking "Turn It On, Turn It On, Turn It On." That was the capital punishment one. But yeah, this one is amazing too. Tom T Hall knew how how to an awesome death song. And he had the best surprise endings of anybody. I just bought a couple old LPs by him over the weekend:
Rolling Country 2009 Thread
And here are "Turn It On Turn It On Turn It On"'s words:
Johnny got up one mornin' he went down to the company storeGot him a big box of bullets to fit into his 44The storeman said son are you gonna work you know you owe me too much to stopJohn said I got a little working to do but I ain't goin' by your clock.
People said John was a slacker cause he wouldn't fight in their warA man wasn't much if he wouldn't fight back in nineteen forty and fourThe doctor said John was just too sick to goBut the people said that he was a cowardAnd one of the men makin' fun of him was a feller named a Milton Howard.
Milton was down at the Cold Spring a drinkin' from a Mason jarHe said John you better get yourself to work you gonna fool aroundTill you get firedJohn blew the dust from his old 44 put two holes in Milton's headWhen Johnny walked off to get some more shootin' doneThat old Cold Spring was a runnin' with red.
Next guy he met was a Steagall boy and the boy had a hammer in his handJohn said son you should've built yourself a box'Cause you're aheaded for the Promised LandSteagall fell down to his knees to pray and he cried Lord JohnnyPlease don't shootBefore he got half way to sayin' amen well, old John shot himOut of his boots.
--- Instrumental ---
Word went out thru the County that old John had lost his headThe people were running and screaming there were seven of 'emLayin' there deadJohnny hid out in a farmhouse he had satisfaction in his eyesHe said I know they're coming to get me boys but they ain't a gonnaTake me alive.
People gathered round that old farmhouse was the relativesOf all them deadNow John said if the sheriff comes thru that door I'm gonna fill himPlum full of leadThe sheriff kicked down that old farmhouse door but old John's gunWould not shootJohnny just smiled at the sheriff and said the Lord must think a lot of you.
They took old John to the jailhouse he entered in a guilty pleaThe judge said death in the electric chair cause it's murder in the first degreeJohn's last meal was a lot of fried chicken cold beans and a baby squashHe ate every bite that they brought him then he smiled and saidI thank you all a lot.
They put old John in the electric chair they shaved his ankles and his headThe preacher said son you got something to say in a minute you'reA gonna be deadJohn said I ain't no coward and the people know that I won't runThen Johnny smiled up at the warden and said, turn it on, turn it onTurn it on...
― xhuxk, Thursday, 4 June 2009 21:06 (ten years ago) link
yeah i love that one. every time i listen to tom t. i'm always surprised all over again. one of the greatest songwriters, period.
― would you ask tom petty that? (tipsy mothra), Thursday, 4 June 2009 21:19 (ten years ago) link
― barman's bar mitz (unregistered), Wednesday, 30 May 2012 04:38 (seven years ago) link