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Chords Req: Tom Ames' Prayer


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Dylan Adam Peterson 04 Nov 96 - 04:30 PM
Jim Dixon 29 Jan 12 - 12:16 AM
Jim Dixon 29 Jan 12 - 12:27 AM
GUEST,A bemused Australian 15 Apr 12 - 06:01 AM
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Subject: Robert Earl Keen Jr.
From: Dylan Adam Peterson
Date: 04 Nov 96 - 04:30 PM

I'm a big Robert Earl fan and like to play his songs on my guitar. He only has one music book out but he has a ton of easy to play, great songs. Does anyone know the chords to the song Tom Ame's Prayer? If you know the chords to any other songs not published in his book I would appreciate that information also. Please e-mail me at Thanks.


Dylan Adam Peterson

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Subject: Lyr Add: TOM AMES' PRAYER (Steve Earle)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 12:16 AM

I can't help with the chords, but here are the lyrics, which apparently have not been posted at Mudcat before:

Written by Steve Earle
As sung by Robert Earl Keen on "Gringo Honeymoon" (2006)

Ever'one in Nacogdoches knew Tom Ames'd come to some bad end,
'Cause the sheriff caught him stealin' chickens an' such by the time that he was ten.
One day his daddy took a ten-dollar bill; he tucked it in his hand.
He said, "I know that you're headed for trouble, son; your mama wouldn't understand."
So he took his dad's money an' his brother's old bay an' left without a word o' thanks.
He fell in with this crowd in some border town an' he took to robbin' banks.

Outside o' Lawlor(?) luck had run out fast; a few years came an' went,
Till he's trapped in an alley in Abilene with all but four shells spent,
An' he realized prayin' was the only thing that he had never tried.
Well, he wasn't sure that he knew quite how, but he looked up to the sky.
Said, "You don't owe me nothin', an' as far as I know, Lord, I don't owe nothin' to you.
I ain't askin' for a miracle, Lord, just a little bit o' luck'll do.
An' you know I ain't never prayed before, 'cause it always seemed to me
That prayin's the same as beggin', Lord; I don't take no charity.

"Right now, Lord, with my back to the wall, I can't help but recall
How they nearly hung me for stealin' a horse in Fort Smith, Arkansas.
Judge Parker said, 'Guilty,' an' the gavel came down just like a cannon shot,
An' I went away quietly; I began to file an' plot.
They sent the preacher on down to my cell; he said, 'The Lord is your only hope.
He's the only friend that you're gonna have, son, when you hit the end o' Parker's rope.'
An' I guess he could 'a' kep' on preachin' till Christmas, but he turned his back on me.
I put a homemade blade to that golden throat, asked the deputy for the key.

"It ain't the first trouble I've seen before, as you already know.
I've had some help from you, Lord, an' the devil himself; it's been stric'ly touch-an'-go.
Yeah, but who in the hell am I talkin' to? There ain't no one here but me."
So he cocked both his pistols, an' spit in the dirt, an' he walked out into that street.

Also recorded by:
Steve Earle on "Train a-Comin' " (1995) and "Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt, Guy Clark: Together at the Bluebird Café" (2001)
Jim Jones on "Tilting at Windmills" (2008)
John Mitchell & Sofie Jonsson on "Western Highways" (2011).

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Subject: RE: Chords Req: Tom Ames' Prayer
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 29 Jan 12 - 12:27 AM

Hey, I just noticed this is thread #100, probably the lowest-numbered (i.e. oldest) thread I have ever posted to. Do you suppose after 15 years Dylan is still looking for chords? No? Well, seeking out old unanswered requests like this has sure introduced me to some interesting songs.

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Subject: RE: Chords Req: Tom Ames' Prayer
From: GUEST,A bemused Australian
Date: 15 Apr 12 - 06:01 AM

Ha ha, this is weird. Im an australian guy reading this weird little thread.
A reply fifteen years later.
It was easy for me to find the chords for the song, but I was looking for the little riff he plays in the bluebird cafe recording with townes van zandt and guy clark. Which was recorded five years after Dylan asked his question. Its strange to think about that.
Incidentally I have a 1.5 year old son named Townes. Greatest songwriter ever.

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