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Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)

DigiTrad:
AIN'T LEAVIN' YOUR LOVE
AT MY WINDOW
BUCKSKIN STALLION BLUES
MR. MUDD AND MR. GOLD
MY PROUD MOUNTAINS


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Lyr Req: If I Needed You (Townes Van Zandt) (15)
Review: 'Pancho and Lefty' and more... (6)
New Townes Van Zandt Album (26)
Chord Req: Brand New Companion (Townes Van Zandt) (3)
Townes Van Zandt - 66th birthday (12)
Lyr Req: Colorado Girl (Townes Van Zandt) (6)
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Lyr Req: Columbine (Townes Van Zandt) (15)
Review: Townes van Zandt documentary (11)
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If I'm into Townes Van Zandt (14)
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Interesting Townes Van Zandt Article (13)
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Townes Van Zandt on PBS (9)
Lyr/Chords Req: My Mother the Mountain (4)
Help: Good place to start RE: Townes Van Zandt (8)
Lyr Req: songs by Townes Van Zandt (6)


Dave T 02 Sep 98 - 10:38 PM
Roger Himler 02 Sep 98 - 10:39 PM
Bob Schwarer 03 Sep 98 - 08:12 AM
Joe Offer 03 Sep 98 - 02:06 PM
Big Mick 03 Sep 98 - 09:15 PM
Roger Himler 03 Sep 98 - 09:25 PM
Dave T 03 Sep 98 - 10:03 PM
Gunny 03 Sep 98 - 11:43 PM
Barry Finn 04 Sep 98 - 12:12 AM
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Sheye 04 Sep 98 - 11:52 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: PANCHO AND LEFTY (Townes van Zandt)
From: Dave T
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 10:38 PM

I didn't find this in the DT database so I'll post the lyrics here. I hope I didn't screw up the formatting for HTML; I used Wordperfect to do the conversion and checked the HTML file with a text editor. It looked OK... honest!! By the way, Pupunutu, if you want the chords let me know and I'll send those along also.


PANCHO AND LEFTY
As sung by Townes van Zandt on "A Far Cry from Dead" (1999)


Livin' on the road, my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
But now you wear your skin like iron
And 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 guns outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match, ya know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dyin' words
Ah, but that's the way it goes

And all the federales say
They could 'a' had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out o' kindness, I suppose

Well, 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 old Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
Ah, there ain't nobody knows

And all the federales say
They could 'a' had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out o' kindness, I suppose

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

A few grey federales say
They could 'a' had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness, I suppose

A few grey federales say
They could 'a' had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out o' kindness, I suppose


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Roger Himler
Date: 02 Sep 98 - 10:39 PM

Pupunutu,

Try the Cowpie site. Here is the URL for the song you seek. Cowpie has a much greater number of Country and Western songs than the Mudcat.

Here's the exact URL.

http://www.roughstock.com/cowpie/cowpie-songs/h/harris_emmylou/pancho_and_lefty.crd

Enjoy the music.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Bob Schwarer
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 08:12 AM

For a couple of Townes Van Zandt sites go to:

http://home3.swipnet.se/~w36794/tvz/ & www.lonestarwebstation.con/jvzdex.html

Bob S.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 02:06 PM

I suppose this song might be considered "country," but mostly because of Willie Nelson's recording. You won't find many country fans who know much about Townes Van Zandt. I think this is one that will someday end up in the canon of "folk" music. It's a classic.
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 09:15 PM

Great song, one of my favorites to perform when I'm not playing Irish. I agree that it is more of a "folk" song than it is a "country".

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Roger Himler
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 09:25 PM

Joe(and anyone else out there),

This is probably Townes Van Zandt's most recorded song. My problem with the song is I don't understand it. Perhaps that is why I pointed towards Cowpie.

There are many wonderful, and powerful images.

Pancho was a bandit, boys,
His horse as fast as polished steel,
He wore his guns outside his pants,
For all the honest world to feel.

What a set of lines. There is no doubt here what he's talking about.

I know I am sometimes lyrically dense. I often tend to think a telephone pole is just a telephone pole (and sometimes I like my songs that straight forward).

I know Pancho is Pancho Villa, the Mexican bandit king (or patriot, depending on your point of view). So was Lefty someone I should know?

Entrancing melody as well. So, I understand the attraction of this song, I love to sing along, but I just don't know what it is about. I don't perform songs, that I don't understand, so this one is not in my repetoire.

Roger in Baltimore


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Dave T
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 10:03 PM

I don't think Lefty anyone specific Roger. There's lots of Leftys around; more than there are Panchos. I always figured the song was contrasting two different paths taken by people who start out from similar circumstances. Both were their mama's favourites, both went away and sank into their dreams; their dreams were just different. Because of that one became a legend, the other simply faded away but doesn't deserve our prayers any less. Maybe I'm lyrically dense too, but I just like the contrasting imagery created by the song. The music, at least the way Townes van Zandt sings it, adds to the overall mood.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Gunny
Date: 03 Sep 98 - 11:43 PM

Perhaps we'll find out the meaning of the song if they ever finish the darn movie (reportedly starring John Clark Gable and Tyrone Power, Jr.).


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Barry Finn
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 12:12 AM

Poncho, I think was the only son, left home as a kid after killing one of the rich ranchers who he labored for when the man tried to rape his 13 yr old sister in front of their mother. From the sounds of the song, I take it that Lefty had betrayed Poccho, but that seems doubtful, he was ambushed long after he became a farmer (the dust he bit?) & given up on revelotion & politics. The Mexicains Feds would most likely feel favor towards him & let him slip away, he fought in 2 revolutions & a civil war & always championed the poor as did his comrade Zapada (sp?), most others would eventually forget the poor that they started out fighting for. Depending upon what side of the border you came from would shape your opinion of outlaw or hero, but before his raids into the US he was very much a friend to the north untill the US turned on him. We used Poncho Villa as a reason/excuse to train our military, prior to the upcoming war, on the fields of Mexico. The song seems more like a nice romantic picture of a forgotten, fallen, aging hero than a factual account of anything, yet it's still a great song. Another song I always think of with this is (Willie Nelson ?) "Seven Spanish Angels". Barry


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 09:46 PM

I love "Seven Spanish Angels" as well, Barry. For me, on both of these songs, it hasn't got a hell of a lot to do with whether they are factual. The writers just crafted great lyrics which are wide open to the interpretive type of singing I like to do best. To me, there is nothing liked sitting with a group of people, singing these types of songs and watching them sink into the tale you are spinning.

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Sheye
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 11:52 PM

Two all-time great pieces. Gotta plug The Highwaymen's first album here. Many tales of a young country and it's growing pains. Shreds of social comment strung together with excellent melodies. Biased note: Cash is one of my heroes and Kristophers Kristofferson stole my heart when I was barely out of diapers.

Sheye


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Sheye
Date: 04 Sep 98 - 11:53 PM

Man, I hate it when I see typos after I hit the GO button, especially in names... Can you fix it Joe?? PLEEEEEASE!!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 05 Sep 98 - 02:41 AM

There, is that better, Sheye?
-Joe Offer-


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Sheye
Date: 05 Sep 98 - 10:30 AM

Thanks Joe!! How many cookies are we at now? I'm thinkin' several dozen!

The planets are now realigned accordingly and we have avoided major catastrophe... "And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

Sheye


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,LEJ
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 01:20 PM

I have recently picked up, on Jed Marum's recommendation, Townes Van Zandt's Rear View Mirror Album, and I think its terrific. I really like Tecumseh Valley, Tower Song, To Live's To Fly, and Pancho and Lefty, and I'm in the process of learning to play them. Townes is the kind of singer I like, not skilled or polished, but he sings from his soul.

I revived this thread because of the interesting theories advanced pertaining to the song's meaning. I don't believe that the two characters are related to any particular real historic figures, but stand as examples of the lives of two rebels- one who lived brazenly and died heroically and young, the other who scratched by to survive and grow old. I think Townes saw himself in the Lefty character, unaware that his death would give him his own aura of myth. Its an irony that I think Van Zandt himself would have enjoyed.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 02:01 PM

My take, FWIW, is that this Pancho was not Villa, but a modern fictional archetype. Additionally, it seems to me that Lefty is the subject of the first verse; a white boy gone on the road from the Midwest, ending up at loose ends south of the border. The subtext is that Lefty turned Pancho in to the Federales, resulting in Pancho's death, in exchange for which Lefty got the bread to leave Mexico and go back to Cincinatti. Probably looking for Spaw.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: JedMarum
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 02:36 PM

I am a Townes fan. When I was in college I worked the radio station and found two or three of his records (in the pile of stuff no one listened to) and was floored with his song writing. Been enjoying his stuff ever since.

Mick, I sing Pancho and Lefty too, even to my Irish Pub audiences, on occasion (ain't been kicked yet). I also sing Tecumseh Valley - sometime with Eammons Kitchen - same thing, it ain't exactly 'genre' for the Irish crowds, but they always seem to respond!

LEJ - I was floored when I heard Lyle Lovett's version of "Won't give you lungs to me, mine are collapsing..." (sorry don't know the name of it). Townes' version is raw, hard, filled with pathos - Lyle's is rockin' hard, powerful but smooth.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Matt_R
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 02:47 PM

Exacly how I had interpreted it, Amos. I ADORE the song.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,LEJ
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 02:56 PM

Well, Jed, that song is in fact called Lungs, and was based on Townes' struggle with (I think) lung cancer. Didn't he die post-op as a result of mixing pain-killers with alcohol?

Amos...an interesting take, Lefty as Judas. It sure gives the song a different meaning.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Kim C
Date: 26 Jan 01 - 03:53 PM

This is a great song - haven't done it myself much since getting into the living history stuff. I always was struck by the line about "he wore his gun outside his pants" - it's such a great double entendre, equating one's manhood with his gun... but also bringing to mind that back in the old days, many towns had ordinances forbidding the wearing of pistols in the city limits. Doing so was a blatant violation of the law... just like you'd expect from somebody like Pancho.

I'm not sure these are any specific people, either... it's just a good story. They can be anybody you want them to be.

I used to worry that I wrote too many sad and mournful songs. Then I realized Townes made a living off of it and I didn't feel so bad anymore.

Another of his songs I really like is Tecumseh Valley.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Melani
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 01:43 AM

The Seven Boy Heroes, if I'm not mistaken, were very young military cadets who died defending Chapultepec Castle from the U.S. Marines during the Mexican War. (The Halls of Monteczuma) I think they did something like jump off the top wrapped in the Mexican flag to keep the enemy from getting it. There is a street in just about every town in Mexico called The Seven Boy Heroes.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: mkebenn
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 07:17 AM

Amos, I always felt that Lefty ambushed Pancho for reward money, or robbed the robber, so to speak{where he got the bread to go, ain't nobody knows}, and it was Lefty the Federales let go out of kindness, not Pancho.At least that's how I feel when I sing this wonderfull song, which I learned from listening to the goddess herself,Emmey Lou. Mike Bennett


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: JedMarum
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 09:51 AM

hmmm - I always presumed that "the Federales let him go out of kindness," was irony. The Federales might have told you they could've captured him - that it didn't need to be left to a bounty hunter - but they just didn't capture him, maybe out of kindness (something for which they were probably not known).


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,mkebenn@work
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 11:47 AM

Yea,Jeb,that works too,so many layers, only one song. Do you think Van Zandt wrote it like that, or was it clear to him, and we're not sure? Mike


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 12:19 PM

No, it wasn't kindness that made it safe for Lefty to make it back across the border. Anyone who has been in country knows the rep of the Federales; kindness is not a word you hear used. It was a payoff. They didn't let Pancho slip away, now did they? They gunned him down in the desert....Or, it could be that Lefty ambushed him as a bounty hunter; that would also fit. Part of the beauty of the song is these little indeterminate points

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 12:36 PM

I sing this one regularly, as I mentioned above.

Jed, a lot of songs don't necessarily fit the genre, but the Irish have a love of a tale well told. Examples: Deportees was one of Paddy Rileys greatest hits, and is sung by many Irish singers. I maintain this is because the experience of the border jumpers in the late twentieth/early twenty first century is so similar to the Irish experience. Another example would be The Dutchman. We, because of our bardic tradition, just love a tale well told.



Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: leprechaun
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 12:59 PM

An Irish song which seems to reflect the contemporary plight of the Mexican diaspora is "The Back Door," from Cherish The Ladies. I know my ancestors had to sneak into the United States without seeing the Statue of Liberty, but that was nearly a century ago.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Matt_R
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 05:31 PM

The only version of Pancho & Lefty that I know is by The Poozies. The way I sing it is how they do. Sounds really good with the harp and accordion. Love the Poozies.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,LEJ
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 05:56 PM

You ought to give Townes a listen, Matt. I think you'd like him.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 27 Jan 01 - 08:02 PM

Townes is the kind of singer I like, not skilled or polished, but he sings from his soul.

Not skilled??? Well I only saw him the one time at Cambridge Folk Festival (I mean I only saw him there - I made sure to see him every time he appeared, once I'd seen him the first time) - and I'd never heard of the man before. He was skilled all right.

This song, I can't see it being Pancho Villa - this Pancho is not a general, he's a loner, and it's a pretty common name. Great song.

Any song is capable of going down well with an Irish crowd, if it's a good song. What generally happens then is that people think it's an Irish song all along. (eg Wild Rover, I live not where I love, Fiddlers Green...). This'll probably end up being called the Ballad of Frank O'Phelan.)

But where Mick said "I agree that it is more of a "folk" song than it is a "country". it got me thinking, what does that mean when you get down to it. So I'm just popped out to start up a thread called What is Country? as a change from What is Folk. Seriously, I'd like to untangle it.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Bob T. { The Other One }
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 05:26 PM

Re Pancho & Lefty, Seven Spanish Angels, if it sounds good sing it, don't analize it to death.I just appreciate the talents of Mr Van Zantz and the messengers, Willie Nelson and that blind piano player that does such a great job with Mr. Nelson on Seven Spanish Angels


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: ddw
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 08:51 PM

That's Ray Charles, Bob....

Don't know how I missed this thread in its past lives, but found it an interesting read now. Points out how dense I can be sometimes.

It had never occurred to me that there were interpretations other than that Lefty turned Poncho in to the federales and went to Cleveland on the payoff cash. It also never occurred to me that the Pancho was Villa, since there is no idication of anything extraordinary about him, either as outlaw or rebel leader ? he seems just a run-of-the-mill outlaw, albiet one "honest" enough to not rely on concealed weapons.

My take is that Van Zantz was making the statement that an honest outlaw is a better man than a sneaky little stool pigeon and he leaves Lefty rotting away in the Mistake-on-the-Lake with his conscience gnawing away at him.....

just my take....

david


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 10:47 PM

Here are a couple more great outlaw songs...

Jesse With the Long Hair Hangin' Down (Steve Earl?)

Romance in Durango (Dylan)

- LH


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Troll
Date: 04 Oct 01 - 10:50 PM

I always saw Lefty as turning in his friend, Pancho, for tiewed as sour grapes. They couldn't catch him so they saved face by claiming they didn't want to.
Crackin' good song in any event.

troll


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Tedham Porterhouse
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 09:11 AM

Yesterday on Folk Roots/Folk Branches, Mike Regenstreif played a superb duet of Townes Van Zandt and Freddy Fender doing "Pancho and Lefty." Freddy Fender sang some of his part in Spanish.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,frankie
Date: 05 Oct 01 - 04:34 PM

"The dust that Pancho bit down south,
Ended up in Lefty's mouth."
One of the best lines I ever heard anywhere. I love E.L. Harris' version but I think Van Zandt did the best one on a live album somewhere, at Gruene Hall I think. f


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Mudlark
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 01:04 PM

I just heard on NPR this morning that 2 new TVZ albums have been released....one a collection of his work by various artists, including Nancy Griffith, and the other a live club recording with his buddies (who were in the radio studio talking to Scott Simon about VanZ), who's names I've suddenly drawn a blank on. Anyway, both albums sound well worth having...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Tedham Porterhouse
Date: 06 Oct 01 - 02:27 PM

I haven't seen/heard it yet, but the two buddies are Guy Clark and Steve Earle. Guy Clark was talking about it with the Mike Regenstreif on Folk Roots/folk Branches last Thursday.

There is also another "new" one called "Texas Rain," an album of duets with Townes and a bunch of others. As I said in an earlier post, Mike played the version of "Pancho & Lefty" from it with Freddy Fender.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,peter cyril
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 03:11 PM

how about the chords to pancho and lefty....I would love to have them...

peace, Peter


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Trapper
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 03:51 PM

The URL for the chords are listed in the THIRD post in this thread....

- Al


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 04:20 PM

Redundantly, I agree w/ Amos et al.

Aside to Roger in Balt.--as Melani explained, the 'or something' is Chapultepec (=Grasshopper Hill) Castle, which during the Mexican War was fortified and is now a museum, very worth seeing by visitors to Mexico City.

The problem with a lot of the labored interps is this. MAYBE P. Villa was the inspiration for Pancho in "P&L." Very extremely maybe, the Seven Child Heroes (Ninos Heroes) were inspiration for "7 Spanish Angels." Even if they were, the resulting songs were so completely reshaped by Willie, Townes et al that there's no point trying for one-to-one correspondences.

If anyone mentioned Emmylou Harris' cover of P&L, I missed the mention. I think it was on "Luxury Liner."

CC


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 06:50 PM

Townes tells an amusing story about how he came to write 'Pancho and Lefty' in the live version released on 'Rain on a Conga Drum' Torn and Frayed Records, Frayed CD1. It involved him having a 3-day gig in Dallas but being forced to stay at a rundown motel 50 miles from Dallas because all hotel rooms within 50 miles of Dallas were filled as a result of Billy Graham and an Indian guru both 'playing' Dallas on the same 3 days. He said Graham attracted about 500 thousand young Christians and the guru about 250 thousand young gurus and he had '7 winos from downtown'. There was nothing to do in the motel so he vowed not to move from a chair until he had written a song. Fortunately, 'Pancho and Lefty' came floating in the window. He said he always thought of Graham and the guru as co-writers, but he never heard from them. No mention of Pancho Villa. The recording was made at a live concert in Berlin on 25 October 1990.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 07:39 PM

Stewie - a Guru does not attract 250,000 "young gurus" to his meetings. The word Guru means a fully developed spiritual teacher, one who has achieved Self-realization. There are a tiny number of such people in this world at any given time. If there were 250,000 of them in the world, the world as we know it would be transformed beyond anything most of us can presently imagine. The word "Guru" means "dark-light"...e.g. the light that shines in the darkness. (Generally, I might add, the darkness does not comprehend it at all...if it even notices it...the dark is generally far too busy accumulating money and seeking worldly gains of one kind or another...or satisfying basic physical desires. Those are the things the ego just naturally does. Not that it's evil, it's just very limited in its viewpoint.)

Hence, a Guru does not attract young gurus, he attracts spiritual seekers, spiritual students, that type of thing. In time, through study and discipline, a tiny handful of those people attain to the point where they themselves can be termed a "guru". I'd say less than 1/100 of 1 per cent of them make it that far in a given lifetime, which is not to say that the others are wasting their time, as long as they progress part way along the path. Any progress is still progress and will not be wasted or lost.

The Indian tradition regards the life of the soul as eternal, although physical life is transitory. The soul returns again and again to physical existence until it attains Self-realization (God made real in an individual consciousness...the original Self that lies beneath the outer temporary ego brought forth into full conscious awareness and expression...the Divine fully manifested in a living being...those are ways of expressing it).

A follower of a guru can be termed a Sadhak (spiritual seeker, worker and student)...but he is not himself a guru at that point.

I've met exactly one fully fledged guru in my whole life so far, among the uncountable thousands of people who have crossed my path...and I've met a handful of people who were clearly progressing reasonably well toward a higher consciousness, but had a way still to go.

And, yes, there are some phony gurus out there, just like there's counterfeit money out there. I've heard of more than a few of those and I've seen how they misuse their influence on the credulous who follow them.

Like I said, I've met exactly one real one. How did I know he was real? It was plainly obvious. Period.

- LH


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Stewie
Date: 08 Nov 01 - 07:48 PM

Lighten up, Little Hawk. I didn't mean to offend you. I should have put 'young gurus' in quotes because that is how Townes put it - he was telling a funny story about how he came to write a song.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,VanGo
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 12:19 AM

Is it possible that the story behind Poncho and Lefty is not a tale of two friends, but of one man. It never states that the federales got him, only that he met his match, and noone heard his dying words... Perhaps this is because he hung up his guns, retiring from his outlawry.

It seems to me that all the signs point to this.. The dust that Poncho bit ends up in Lefty's mouth.. meaning Poncho's "death" gave life to Lefty

Add to that Lefty's leaving on the day Poncho was "laid low", and the federales saying they could've taken him anytime...this sounds like someone who never did something, but still wants to sound important.

Just my 2 cents

VanGo


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Uncle Steve
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 02:20 AM

Apropos of absolutely nothing... my fried Jerry Rau, a folk singer in Minnesota, tells the story of sitting across a cafe table from Townes when he was scratching down those words. That's the way it was. Anybody know of Jerry? He's been kicking around for plenty a year, used to hang out with Bill Staines and Nanci Griffith.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Kernow John
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 04:13 AM

The words have got me hooked. Where can I get to hear this in the UK? The record shops over here when I mention Townes say who?
Regards KJ


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 09 Nov 01 - 07:43 AM

The song appears on several of Van Zandt's records: "Rear View Mirror"; "The late great Townes Van Zandt"; "Live at the old quarter"; "Live and obscure:" "Rain on a conga drum"; "The masters"; "Documentary", and "A far cry from dead".  There may be even more by now.  Most of them are listed at amazon.co.uk, which might be your best bet.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Jack The Lad
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 07:01 AM

I bought the Double album "Townes Van Zandt- Anthology 1968-1979" in the UK- in a record shop- can't remember which. It cost 15.99 and is on the Charly label CDGr 207-2. It was in the Country section- Lots of his best including P&L and Tecumseh Valley, Lungs etc Cheers, Jack The Lad


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: fox4zero
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 10:48 AM

The only version that I have heard was Willie Nelson when he did a concert in Torrington CT about 6 months ago. He sand it very clearly 'cause I could make out most of the words, which was not true of most of the rest of the concert.

As to the "guns outside of his pants"...when I was stationed in Alaska in the mid 50's it was illegal to carry a handgun concealed. It was perfectly legal to wear a handgun in a holster on your hip (exposed). As a matter of fact, I once traded a shotgun for a brand new Colt Super .38 Auto that a Deputy US Marshal took off a seaman who had a "bulge" under his jacket.(I wish I kept that gun, it was a beauty). I believe that the same was true in the "old West"....that it was illegal or against the "ethical" code to carry a concealed gun. I believe the implication is that Lefty (the cowardly lowlife) carried a hideout gun.

My interpretation (for what it's worth) is that Lefty (the cowardly Gringo) either shot his pal Pancho (definitely not Villa) in the back, or set him up for the Federales who did the shooting). The bread which enabled him to flee to Cleveland (serves him right) was his 30 pieces of silver. [I concur with ddw on this]

Troll, I concur: The Federales "we could get him any ol' time" was, I agree, sour grapes.

Guest Frankie, Itis a beutiful poetic line: The shared "dust in the mouth" bit represented Lefty's eternal guilt over his betrayal of a buddy.

Stewie, do you need any bandaids as a result of the avian attack of a small raptor? I guess it's better than being shit upon by pidgeons. My father always said (among many other sage quotes) "Never look up with your mouth open" and "It's a good thing that cows can't fly". I believe that the latter was lifted from the classic:

Little birdie in the sky You dropped something in my eye. I won't swear and I won't cry, But I'll be glad that cows can't fly.

Regards to all, Larry Parish


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 12:20 PM

GUEST's "Pancho and Lefty as the same person" idea is very interesting. If you look at the song in that way, a lot of the confusing aspects make sense. That dust-biting line for one. Also, the mystery of where Lefty got the bread to go. And "And all the federales say they could have had him any day" - which "him?" There is not ONE reference to the relationship between the two - it's all implied very vaguely. When not naming names, van Zandt seems to be talking to/about one person - see first verse in particular. Maybe Lefty just got too old to continue the outlaw life as Pancho...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: X
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 01:47 PM

To fox4zero, The .38 super is a fantastic round, just short of being a .357 in an auto. To bad the US didn't switch to that one. Shooting a big man with a 9mm P just might make him mad.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 06:49 PM

Larry, I'm right for bandaids, thanks. Your 'open mouth' reference brings to mind the opening lines of Les Barker's classic 'Quasimodo':

An unlucky man that Quasimodo
The local people said
He used to be six foot three
But a bell fell on his head
Pigeons used to crap on his hat
Quasimodo was bound to lose
He'd look up open-mouthed, in dismay
But his pigeons all flew round in twos

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: fox4zero
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 09:43 PM

Stewie

That is the funniest f'cking thing I have read since the Magna Carta....I really LOL! Larry


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 09:58 PM

Naw -- it wasn't the same guy. It was a payoff. "Left the taste of dust in his mouth" and "bit the dust" are two cliches being brilliantly combined in a new line. There is no way the line implies identity of the two people. The mystery of where he got the bread to go is obviously due to the fact that he was on the bum in Mexico, a shiftless gringo, and suddenly got his palm crossed with thirty peices of silver -- enough for a one-way ticket ? to Cincinnatti, for crying out loud!! Why would he go there?? THAT's the mystery.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 10:03 PM

Larry, rather than thread creep further, I'll PM you the whole thing - it's one of Barker's best.

--Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Stewie
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 10:16 PM

Larry, I just remembered that I have posted it to the forum previously. You'll find it here:

Quasimodo

Cheers, Stewie.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Jeri
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 10:47 PM

Amos - Cleveland!

So how did the dust that Pancho bit get into Lefty's mouth, anyway?

Who's the first verse about? Who is it that the federales could have had any day? Pancho or Lefty? Who the heck is he talkin' to?

How come if Pancho "met his match" and was "laid low," "no one heard his dying words?" Whoever killed him should have heard his dying words. Oops, it never actually says he was killed. Sounds like nobody was there when he was laid low.

Pancho needs your prayers, it's true
But save a few for Lefty, too
He only did what he had to do...

So what is it he had to do?

And if there are two separate guys, what was their relationship? Partners, or did one kill the other? What in the lyrics makes you think so?

I still think it's one guy with a secret identity, sort of like Cleveland's own Batman. (No, Jeri - don't think about a parody...)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 10 Nov 01 - 11:34 PM

If we have to get into minutiae, I'd guess that

The day they laid old Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
...(etc.)

suggests that we're dealing with two separate people; evidently, the locals knew Lefty and couldn't work out where he got the money for his train-fare from; Pancho, having bit some serious dust, was in no position to comment.  Had they been the same person, somebody local would have known.  We're not talking about Zorro, after all.

Damn good song, mind; been playing backup fiddle on it for years over here in Yorkshire, where we have our fair share of outlaws and biteable dust (though we have moors instead of deserts, and only farmers are allowed to carry guns, inside or outside of their trousers).If we have to get into minutiae, I'd guess that

The day they laid old Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
...(etc.)

suggests that we're dealing with two separate people; evidently, the locals knew Lefty and couldn't work out where he got the money for his train-fare from; Pancho, having bit some serious dust, was in no position to comment.  Had they been the same person, somebody local would have known.  We're not talking about Zorro, after all.

Damn good song, mind; been playing backup fiddle on it for years over here in Yorkshire, where we have our fair share of outlaws and biteable dust (though we have moors instead of deserts, and only farmers are allowed to carry guns, inside or outside of their trousers).


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 12:08 AM

Oh, bugger.  Worth saying once, I thought, but twice; probably not. We seem to have been having trouble with the inter-dimensional gateways between here and the rest of the world (or even the top of the street) just lately...

>grumble<


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 01:03 AM

I got carried away on that "guru" rap, mainly cos it's a subject that just happens to interest me a lot...and I have apologized in a PM to Stewie for so doing...it was really off topic, anyway.

Getting back to the Ballad of Pancho and Lefty...I wonder if the line about the Federales letting Pancho get away "out of kindness, I suppose" is a bit satirical...a wry or sarcastic comment on the Federales themselves?

I have NEVER heard of the Federales letting anyone get away out of kindness...it's not a quality they were know for. Sounds more to me like they were making empty boasts, and that Pancho was simply too smart for them...till his luck finally ran out.

He was too smart for Pershing and the US Army (assuming it was Villa the song refers to). Their incursion into Mexico caused Villa's opponents in the Mexican government great damage, but did no harm whatsoever to Villa. He was one clever bandit.

- LH


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 02:53 AM

Geeze you guys!.

"What he had to do" was get the hell out of Mexico, to get back to his own culture, where he was still a loser! The dust is a fucking METAPHOR. Pancho bit the dust. Lefty had to live with the guilt. The reason they let Lefty go was not out of kindness -- that's ramapnat sarcasm -- it is because they had them a paid informer. That's where Lewfty got the bread to go... oh, fuggit...I MUST have something better to do.

The first verse is about Lefty splitting from home (Cleveeand, Cincinnatti, alla same me!). It introduces the character. Then another character gets introduced. Then ... oh, never mind. The song is as plain as the nose on your face. You guys pursuing college degrees or somp'n, trying to make everything other than it is and complicate the universe? Tell ya what -- get a day job, you'll be much happier!

A.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 01:55 PM

Har! Har! Getting a bit testy there Amos... A day job wouldn't be a bad idea at this point, but do you know what the employment scene is like in this town? Even chicken-sexers can't find work here. There is Tim Hortons and McDonalds, but they're looking for teenagers mostly.

I find your analysis of the song to be bang-on. A pity you didn't launch it right at the beginning of this thread, and you could have saved us all a lot of time and trouble, eh? :-)

- LH


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Kernow John
Date: 11 Nov 01 - 02:35 PM

Thanks
I'm going looking. KJ


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Just another Townes fan
Date: 02 Nov 05 - 09:57 AM

Hello everyone, I'm just looking for Townes lyrics and ran across mudcat dot.

Anyway, Townes Van Zant, on his live album, explains in length to the crowd where and how Poncho and Lefty was written. I'll let y'all enjoy the recording yourselves but will say it was written in a motel in Texas, according to Townes himself.

Personally, I got to hear stories about Townes while in Nashville. I'll spare you the details and get to the story teller's point; Mr. Van Zant was a prolific writter of extrodinary talent and a style to himself, and music row (as they call it in Nashville) knew it. Moreover, again according to the teller's POV, when the large corporations and or people like Harlen Howard need songs they often could get them by finding Townes, usually on the street somewhere, and putting him up in a cockroach motel and provide alchohol until he was finished writing. Then they would forget about him, again. Now I don't know how true this story is, but I do know the look in this fellows eyes as he told the story and I accept his words as true.

Coincidently, Townes died a week later in Nashville (at one of his former girlfriend or wives home). The paper had a fine bio on Townes and I recall them saying that no one expected much more than a pine box and a few people to say farewell. Amazingly, all types of musicians from all genres attended his funeral. So much so that music row was shut down as dozens, perhaps hundreds of people stood in line to pay their final respects to Townes while three prominent names in the business (I only remember Lyle Lovette, sorry) played alongside. Truly a beautiful goodbye.

Thanks for taking the time, Townes. Your music continues to live in our hearts.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Joe Offer
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 05:34 PM

Dave T's transcriptions are usually pretty good. His is the second post in this thread. Any corrections, or can we call it a "definitive" version of the lyrics?
-Joe-


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Q (Frank Staplin)
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 06:37 PM

Attaching van Zandt's Pancho to Francisco Villa is nonsense, of course. Anyone named Francis, Francisco Franklin or variations always ends up as 'Pancho' in New Mexico, northern Mexico, south Tejas or Arizona. Dunno when that started, but I think it was before Villa. It is also a surname.
As an anglo named F-, raised in that area, non-anglo schoolmates called me Pancho. When I went to university in Texas, I thought I had shed the name, but an old mate out of my home town also went there, and when he spotted me, he shouted "Pancho!" Well, I didn't get rid of Pancho until I went to gringo country and joined a multinational. My Pancho didn't die in Cleveland, but nearer Chicago.

Guest and Joe, thanks for bringing the song up top again.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: gecko
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 07:58 PM

Dick Gaughan does a fine version of 'Pancho and Lefty' on his CD Redwood Cathedral, though the song notes for this track are restricted to "I record this as a small personal homage to a fine songwriter" with no printed lyrics - permission could not be obtained to print.

fox4zero: the only thing funnier than reading 'Quasimodo' is to hear Stewie recite it! It's a tradition at all Top Half Folk Festivals in the Northern Territory often accompanied by Stewie's recital of 'The Bastard from the Bush' Onya Stewie!

YIU

gecko


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 08:06 PM

Yah, thanks from me as well for refreshing this thread. It's another "commercial" song that has haunted me for years, and which I never had seen all the words.

I enjoyed much of the discussion above but I have to acknowledge that Amos has nailed the interpretation, and may even be "Lefty" or the son of "Lefty." I mean, why is he so sure he's right?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 08:11 PM

This was one of the very first threads I ever read here back in '98 and let me say I have always loved TVZ but the subsequent times this thread appeared I seemed to be in one of my numerous near death experiences. So now it appears once more and I get the chance to read all of the posts........and laugh my ass off!

Though I loved his work, I always had the feeling that he was a supreme wordsmith who was also pretty whacked out.   I still think that's true. For all of you who have tried to provide context, meaning, history, or whatever else to this song.........y'all are fucked up! That's because TVZ himself was fucked up! I saw this show once a few years back on television and now some of it is on YouTube. You'll think twice about doing any analyzing of this song or any of his others afterwards......kinda' hopeless and pretty wasted........much like poor old Townes himself.

Spend 10 minutes here!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Barry Finn
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 08:16 PM

"Dick Gaughan does a fine version of 'Pancho and Lefty'"

That's a matter of personnal opinion & taste. After hearing him do this, if it were me that wrote it & was dead I'd be spitting out dirt in Dick's face & he'd be bitin dust instead of singing about it.

Barry


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Janice in NJ
Date: 27 Dec 07 - 10:52 PM

I have heard Panchita used as a diminutive for Francesca. More common is Chita.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 08:43 AM

Spaw-

The artist is frequently clueless about what the song or other creative work really means. That's why there are critics and fans!

I think it was Bob Franke who explained that as a songwriter he was "mining the collective unconcious." Hmmm, that sounds like the title of a new song!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Jeri
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 08:48 AM

On the deserts down in Mexico

According to the YouTube thing, should be a singular 'desert'.

Dick does a decent version. It's a bit strange with the accent, but I guess it's no stranger than Americans singing Scots songs. I can't remember who I first heard sing it - Maybe Gaughan, maybe Nancy Griffith - but it's one of the first songs I tried figuring out on guitar.

I like songs that leave 'negative space' for a listener to interpret their own way. I know this drives some people nuts, but I like it because the listener gets to exercise their creativity.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 28 Dec 07 - 10:45 AM

I agree Jeri and Charley.

But negative space for interpretation seems different to me than trying to do analysis finding meaning in every nuance which always sorta' gives me a chuckle..........especially when you later find out that the songwriter had put far less thought into it. We ran a long thread on "Don't Think Twice" but its hard to say what Dylan was actually thinking. And I guess that's what makes some songs great.......they lend themselves to a broad range of interpretations.

But its so enjoyable to find out in this case that Townes didn't have a clue himself. I'd love to see the day where Don McLean comes out and says that "American Pie" was really about the cold winter day his sister broke his record player and trashed his 45 collection while he was out on his paper route.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 01:05 PM

Spaw, you are a man of rare genius. It is simply a good bit of yarn spinning. Amen.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 03:18 PM

I remember, in a story telling workshop, the man running it (Dan Keding, perhaps?)talking about how it was often best to leave out stuff, so the listeners could fill it in themselves, and make the story more vivid and personal. So you don't say "A tall dark-haired man with a bemused expression, wearing a trench-coat...", you say "A man".

It's not the only way, but it's a good way, and it's the way of the old ballads, and of this one too. And it can apply to more than just details like that, it can be motivations and even the actual events. The storyteller gives the bare bones,and the listeners put flesh on the bones and clothes on the body, and what they make of it will be different for all of them.
.................

I'd read it pretty well the same way as Amos did (five years ago - doesn't time fly in these revived threads!) - except that "He only did what he had to do" I'd see as referring to (maybe) selling out Pancho, playing the role of Judas or little Robert Ford, a necessary role in a legend where "poets sing how Pancho fell". But that's just me.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 04:55 PM

I guess that I'm hopelessly old-fashioned, but I find it difficult to comprehend why one would sing a song when one doesn't have the faintest idea of what it's about.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 05:46 PM

So how do you feel about Townes dick? He sang it after writing it and he had no idea what it was about!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 05:51 PM

Geeziz, Dick, that means you couldn't sing a ton of trad songs, dunninit?

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 06:20 PM

Of course you'd need to have an idea of what any song you sing is about, Dick.

But, with some songs anyway, that needn't necessarily be the same idea as a listener has, or as whoever you learnt the song from, or as whoever made it up in the first place or those who changed it along the way...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 09:47 PM

"So how do you feel about Townes dick? He sang it after writing it and he had no idea what it was about!"--Spaw

    I don't think about Townes very much, obe way or t'other. IMy lack of comprehension hasn't changed.
   


"Geeziz, Dick, that means you couldn't sing a ton of trad songs, dunninit?"--Big Mick

       No. With a very few exceptions, traditional songs are straightforward and to the point.


"Of course you'd need to have an idea of what any song you sing is about, Dick.

"But, with some songs anyway, that needn't necessarily be the same idea as a listener has, or as whoever you learnt the song from, or as whoever made it up in the first place or those who changed it along the way..." --McGrath of Harlow

      True. But a song that seems to tell a story should, IMO, tell a story; not vaguely suggest one. I"m not attacking TvanZ; I just don't understand what he's doing.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 30 Dec 07 - 10:12 PM

Seems to me he is telling a tale, just as vividly as an Childs ballad does. Mexican bandido gets double crossed by good for nothing gringo who thereby gets his airfare home.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: freightdawg
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 12:42 AM

check out the video on You Tube. I can't do the blicky thing with the You Tube address but go to You Tube and search for Pancho and Lefty Willie Nelson. The video is with Willie Nelson as Pancho and Merle Haggard as Lefty, and there is a cameo of Townes Van Zandt at the end of the video. The interpretation of the video is quite interesting - kind of follows some of the suggestions posted above, with maybe a twist or two. It's good stuff.

Freightdawg


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 11:58 AM

Freightdawg-

What a video! Here's the link but have a neckerchief handy: Click at Your Own Risk!

Did I see Amos in that last clip, raising a beer with Willy?

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 03:17 PM

I like to sing songs that mean something to ME.

I might be interested in the writer's intention, or not.

I think I developed this attitude as I got into Dylan.

A lot of his stuff that I like was probably "triggered" by something or somebody, but the songs were never really about the trigger.

"Motor cycle black madonna two wheeled gypsy queen."
I really don't care who or where or when, I just like the imagery and the rhythm.

Who cares who the "sad eyed lady of the lowlands" really was? Not me. When I sing it I am thinking about MY sad eyed lady of the lowlands.

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 03:25 PM

Russ-
They all represent the vague, evocative stuff I refer to. OK if you like it, but not part of any folk tradition I know of.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Russ
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 04:13 PM

Dick,
Thanks for the response.

I guess it all depends on what you mean by "tell" and "a" and "story".

I sing several versions of "The cruel mother." That's as traditional as you can get.

They all purport to tell a story, but according to my belief system the story cannot possibly be true.

So when I sing the song I sing it as vague and evocative.
It's a song about infanticide and its consequences, not about a specific instance of infanticide.

I sing Pancho and Lefty as a song about betrayal and its consequences, not about a specific instance of betrayal.

Am I even addressing your point?

Russ (Permanent GUEST)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,QuestionMark
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 04:32 PM

Pancho and Lefty is a unique song in that when I play it with others at a jam or partnering with another musician, I don't really care what the song is about at all. It's just the chance to play those TexMex arpeggio fillers and do that one cool chord change on the gitbox before the last line in each verse in the song that makes the song a standout.

QM


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 08:26 PM

but not part of any folk tradition I know of.

How about St James Infirmary? Just one example of a song which implies a story rather than narrating it, and leaves that story pretty wide open.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 08:55 PM

Russ- I don't demand that a song be realistic. Just comprehensible.

McGrath-
To me, there's a huge difference between an incomplete story and intentional obscurantism. If Pancho and Left makes sense to you, good on yer.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Declan
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 09:02 PM

Its a song with a story. A bit of a mystery story. Many stories dont have a resolved conclusion. There are at least two plausible outcomes suggested on this thread. A third, which suggested itself reading this thread, was that Poncho attacked Lefty, assumed his identity and disappeared to Ohio, leaving Lefty for dead in the desert.   And now he's growing old, something that Poncho had little chance of doing in Ohio. Doesn't seem to me to be any more far fetched than any of the other suggested explanations.

The song presents numerous conclusions. Just enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 10:45 PM

The notion that there was a stolen identity makes no sense to me. There are two guys. One betrays the other. The betrayer ends up poor and aging in a cheap motel in Cleveland. The other one ends up dead in the dunes of Mexico.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Question Mark
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 11:19 PM

Maybe the song was simly Townes Van Zant's TexMex take on Dylan's Lily, Rosemary, and the Jack of Hearts. Or vice a versa. Which was written first? Weren't they written about the same time...mid 70's? Heck, after hearing Dylan's song, I too wrote a song with an unexplanable story line...it was the cool thing to do as a songwriter at that time.

QM


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST
Date: 31 Dec 07 - 11:48 PM

I just re-read through the lyrics. It isn't really that mysterious or incomprehensible. There were two sons. One was a peaceful freewheeling drifter/dreamer...that'd be Lefty. The other was a mean gun totin' bandit. That's be Pancho. Pancho lived the real life, Lefty the dreamer life. Pancho got killed. Lefty didn't do so well either, none of his dreamer dreams of being a drift produced much of anything, but a lonely loner's life. Society looked down on both in many ways. Pancho got the lost soul prayers...Townes reminds that Lefty needed some of those prayers, too. I suspect Townes related to Lefty. A good dude drifter, not an outward bad seed...but a lost soul, too. That's my take on it. Probably, why Willie sings it so especially good, with both the "outlaw" and drifter elements in him.

Just my interpretation of the song.

QM


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Art Thieme
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 12:57 AM

Jerry is well last I heard from him --- but that was an e-mail years ago now; 1998 I think it was. He is a fine singer. One of my favorites. I do believe he was/is still in Dinkytown. And he did this song wondrously well!

Art Thieme


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 11:51 AM

Fascinating how various the propositions are about what the song says. Lefty and Pancho are now proposed to be brothers, and earlier someone suggested they were alter-egos of the same person.

One of the ads down below leads to the Pandora On-Line radio with TVZ themes.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 02:01 PM

"The other one ends up dead in the dunes of Mexico."

But he also, perhaps more significantly in the long run, ends up as a folk-hero - "Now poets sing how Pancho fell. As much alive as predecessors like Robin Hood and Jesse James.
.....................................

What typically happens in folk balladry is that it probably starts with a complete version with all the answers provided, but through the proceeds of being handed on this gets pared down to the bone, so that we end with a version in which it open to the imagination of the singer or the listener to fill in the gaps. The end result is less complete in a sense, but there is something gained that can outweigh that.

More often than not, when you go back to the earliest version of some story song in a broadsheet, it just doesn't measure up to what it was transformed into, in the course of being passed along. That's what "the folk process" is centrally about, turning straw into gold.

It seems to me that what Townes van Zandt was doing with this song, intentionally or not - foreshortening the process.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,QuestionMark
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 03:00 PM

I think you just hit it upon the head by citing "Now poets sing how Pancho fell"...this is a perhaps a song best commenting on sung and unsung heroes. The bandit gets glorified by poets, while the drifter dreamer (the poet...perhaps, Townes himself) only gets the glorified bandit who bit the dust's dust in his mouth...ie. the unglorified life that Townes likely felt he lived as a singer-songwriter.   

QM


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 01 Jan 08 - 06:32 PM

The best songs, I think, are written out of a pure feeling that comes over a person, and it pours out spontaneously in a completely unplanned way into a song. That doesn't mean that the writer necessarily knows what it's about at the time, though it might be that some of the meanings become more clear to him or her with the singing of the song as time goes by. Other people will find their own personal meanings in it, and new meanings will be found. That's good. The song arose out of powerful feelings of some kind, and it engenders powerful feelings in the listeners...if they are susceptible to it.

If not...(shrug)   Well, then they'll tune into something else instead.

I think the greatest songs are written by something far beyond the writer himself, something way beyond the boundaries of a human being. To let that happen one has to either be quite unaware it's happening...or one has to consciously surrender to something greater. It's surrender, either way...either conscious or unconscious. The song writes itself. The so-called writer is the scribe...his voice is the instrument. He becomes the instrument of what people in a far more worshipful and courtly age than the present one might have called the Allmighty or the Great Spirit.

You have to be without prejudice or judgement in such moments of surrender, seems to me.

And how common is that?

Pancho and Lefty is a great song. Doesn't matter whether or not TVZ had a clue what it was about when or after he wrote it. Does it resonate somehow with the life of Pancho Villa? Yeah, probably, just the way a wave that bounces off the shores of New York will one day kiss the sands of France. It's inevitable. The wave, like the song, is moved by something greater than prejudice or judgement. It goes where it will and arrives in its own time, seen or unseen.

"The cloak and dagger dangles,
Madams light the candles.
In ceremonies of the horsemen,
Even the pawn must hold a grudge.
Statues made of match sticks,
Crumble into one another,
My love winks, she does not bother,
She knows too much to argue or to judge."
- Bob Dylan


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Question Mark
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 09:01 AM

I've listened a number of times to this song since the beginning of the year. Can't get it out of my head now.

In retrospect, I like the theory of the song that I previously stated. Kinda deep.

The only thing to add to that interpretation is that the story line might be referencing that Pancho's dying words were to tell Lefty where the money he stole as a bandit was at...which Lefty then took. The local police may have known that, but let Lefty split town with it 1) because Lefty was a dreamer, and 2. because they killed his brother. Over the years, though, Pancho's dirty money got Lefty nowhere...perhaps even guilt ridden.

QM


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 09:14 AM

LH et al-

I like the romantic theorgy of "where the best songs come from" but I also admire the song crafters who grind out waste quantities of songs, out of which a few great ones still float to the top. It's a hard business, this songwriting, and if we had to wait for the muse to strike before composing a song we songwriters might not be so filthy rich!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 01:31 PM

Yes, Charlie, that's a whole different kind of discipline, and it's definitely a worthy one. People who do it that way, writing new songs every day like the folks in Tin Pan Alley did, are to be respected for their hard work and their accomplishments. They come up with a few really great ones.

I never approached songwriting in that disciplined fashion, because I wasn't trying to make a living at it, so I just wrote stuff when the muse hit me, and you never know when that will be.

I would say that the worst stuff I ever wrote was the stuff that I was pre-thinking or calculating as I was doing it...in other words, I had some idea in advance to write about something in particular...that usually resulted in a mediocre song.

The best stuff I ever wrote came seemingly out of nowhere, very fast, totally unplanned, as if I was just the conduit and the song came from beyond me, but through me.

That has shaped my view of where the best songs come from. I don't think they come from me, but simply through me. In coming through me, they are of course influenced and colored to some extent by the person I am, so my fingerprints, so to speak, might be all over them, but they still came from way out there far beyond my own calculating mind.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Chad
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 10:55 PM

Just to add a few thoughts to this discussion, and I am probably wrong. But what if Lefty was a folk singer writing songs about Mexican outlaws (Poncho). But after Poncho dies so does Lefty's dream and he can no longer sing the blues all night long like he used to. So he moves back home to Cleveland back dies off slowly with dust in his mouth the same way Poncho died in the desert.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 11:05 PM

Chad:

You're spinning an interesting story, but it's not the one in the song. The night they laid old Pancho low, Lefty split for Ohio. But where he got the bread to go, ain't nobody knows. There's only one rational conclusion to be made from this little line.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 07 Jan 08 - 11:07 PM

May I say just one thing at this juncture...?

It's not Poncho fer Chrissake! It's PANCHO!!!!!!!!!!!! P-A-N-C-H-O! Pancho with an "A". Got it, folks?

A poncho is a thing you wear. The common Mexican name is Pancho.

Geez!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 12:22 PM

I was able to copy the first verse with detailed explanations for each line from another website where they too seem to be doing research on this song. Here's the first verse I copied and the website with a blue clicky hot link provided:

Livin' on the road, my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
TVZ believed that a life without soap wasn't worth living and since the best soaps came from many far away places, a life on the road would be needed to avail oneself of all the possibilities. There is also some reasonably certain probability that the mention of "free" had something to do with TVZ's fear of living in houses. His boyhood home was destroyed when the neighboring condom factory exploded and coated the whole place in latex.
But now you wear your skin like iron
Van Zandt now alleges that his central character failed miserably in finding any soap at all and now after years of weathering his skin was in pretty bad shape.
And your breath's as hard as kerosene
Plus he was in dire need of toothpaste and a dentist as well
You weren't your mama's only boy
While this was true, he was the only one born with balls the size of cantelopes which required immediate surgery
But her favorite one, it seems
This was because the baby had a willie to match which they didn't operate on
She began to cry when you said goodbye
Mom had been long into the incestuous relationship which would prove to be very detrimental to her son's mental health. While she dreamed of a porn star future for him, all he could think of was how great it would be taking a piss without stepping on his dick. His dream was surgery
And sank into your dreams
He vowed to save all he could for that glorious day when penis reduction surgery would be possible.


For more info click the link and go to www.tvzwuzzadoofusandurallfucktup.com

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 12:36 PM

You are such a dipwad, man. ;-) I have it on good authority that immediately after dying you are going to be teleported to a special part of hell where you will be surrounded by nothing but Woody Allen clones who will talk to you constantly about their personal problems and follow you around relentlessly. There will be no women there, no beer, no food at all, no easy chairs, no TV, no music, and no weimaraners! But there will be Freudian analysts to whom you can go to talk about your woes, and they will all look and act very much like Dick Cheney. They will charge you heavily for their time, and you will have no money, so you'll have to work it off in the salt mines while "Woody" tells you all about his romantic disappointments and family problems.

You're fucked.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 12:48 PM

Man, that all sounds great to me........except for the lack of Weimaraners. Any kind of life, afterlife or otherwise, is simply worthless without Weimies.............***sigh***............but I guess I could even take that providing there were no fucking Dachshunds!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 01:03 PM

Oh, now you're really asking for it...! Sacred ground, buddy, you're treading on sacred ground.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 04:01 PM

Seems to make as much sense as the other explanations.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 08 Jan 08 - 08:29 PM

Awesome!

Why do I even bother to post! Such insight! Reality stripped away to its orgasmic elemental state. But words are inadequate.

I need another drink...

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:04 AM

Charley, that one drove me back to the hard drugs of my youth.

LOL.

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 08:50 AM

SPaw,

I think you might have over-analyzed things, here. But not by much...



A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 09:07 AM

An alternative explanation would posit that Pancho was weaned all too early and had latent sexual fantasies about his mother:

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


There's the additional suggestion that Pancho was also impotent:

Wore his guns outside his pants

Lefty on the other hand (his larboard one) was equally tramatized but by too early toilet training, the key reference in the song being these lines:

The dust that Pancho bit down South
It ended up in Lefty's mouth


This song, I fear, is never going to seem the same after all this erudite discourse.

I suppose, out of kindness, we might have let it go.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:07 AM

The Ballad of Pat and Charley's Literary Criticisms

Old Pat was plain and sexual,
He warn't no inty-leckshual,
He like to shout in terms obscene,
At people on the movie screen.
But down at Mudcat, on a break
Someone made abig mistake,
Asked Pat for a literary critique,
Something you should never do.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.

Now Charley, he a can't pick amd choose
Every verse, like he useter do,
When Pat produced his grand critique,
It raised a bit of Charley's pique
It was all bullshit, smoke and phlegm
But that didn't matter much to him,
He started writing one himself,
AN' we all know how that goes.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.

Now critics all ignored old Pat,
And Charley's counterpoint fell flat
On grounds of insufficient charm
And post-deconstructionist alarm.
And Pat, he needs your prayers, it's true
But save a few for Charley, too,
He's writing guidebooks for the Zoo
Who show up in the spring.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow....
Oh, when the winds began to blow....



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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:24 AM

I ...... cannot ......... wait ....... for ..... the ....... response ....... to ...... this!!!!!!

You are a master, Amos.

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:37 AM

Mick-

how can i typeeee when i keep falling off this chair laughingggggg

Amos, you's the KING!

Charley NNNNNoble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 11:17 AM

Well FINALLY!!!!!!



At last this has turned into a real Mudcat thread. Lots of fun pokin', an Amos original of high quality, and foremost above all, just about completely lost from the original topic in the best tradition of this joint. Truly past the classic "Thread Drift" and into the rare air of "Thread Blown All to Hell."

I want to thank all of the other "Old Timers".........Hawk, Dick, Mick, Charley, Amos.......... who have successfully converted this otherwise sillyass thread into a complete piece of crap.


BRAVO! BRAVO!   BRAVO!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:13 PM

Ha! Ha! Ha! (jeez....it's a good thing that poor old TVZ is not here to see this)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 02:15 PM

By the way, Spaw, I printed out some of your "member" photos from Mudcat on the printer and showed them to my Dachshunds.

"This is the guy," I said.

They tore them up savagely and pissed on them.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 09 Jan 08 - 10:55 PM

Hawk, Dick, Mick, Charley, Amos, and Spaw all toll the bell -
All along, down along, down along lee;
They've huffed an' they've puffed this whole thread to hell,
And it's a good thing ol' TVZ is not here to see!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Franz S.
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM

I've always believed that the TVZ song more or less followed the story of the film "Viva Villa!" (1934; Wallace Beery). There was a reporter named Wallace who was portrayed as a sort of Boswell to Villa. And according to the film Villa was killed by a relative of one of the "wives" he had wronged. I don't recall any hint that the reporter had betrayed Villa in the film, but it's been at least 30 years since I've seen it. Doesn't anyone else here remember it?

For web references:
http://www.geocities.com/cinemorgue2/wallacebeery.html
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0025948/

Sorry, my blue clickies never work.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 01:46 PM

Pancho Villa as Samuel Johnson? Quite a thought. Or the other way round, that would have been fun: ""Depend upon it, sir, when a man knows he is to be hanged in a fortnight, it concentrates his mind wonderfully."


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:21 PM

Franz was getting hot and sore,
Pacing up and down the floor,
Researching antecedents which
He found in 1934.
But Franz could not, for all his tryin'
Get the other guys to buy-in,
He swore old Villa was the pillar,
But maybe it ain't so...

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.
Ohhhh, ohh, the winds began to blow....


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 02:28 PM

Villa rhymes with Mia...did you know?
Just say "Villa Farrow", put it in your barrow, feel it to the marrow, and you'll know!
Villa makes you see-a things you never saw before.
Villa is the bee-ah that you spilled upon the floor.
Villa wasn't quee-ah, he consorted with the gals.
Villa like Maria ends in "ee-ah"! That's how you say Villa.

And Pancho is still spelled with a "A" in the 1st syllable.

P-AAAHH-N-CHO   VEEEEE-YAHHH

Got it?


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 03:29 PM

HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !
HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO !

HEY FUCK YOU PAAAHH-N-CHO
HEY UPPA YOU ASS CEEEE-Z-KO


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:34 PM

Hijo de un gran puta!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:44 PM

Hey, little pinche cabronito, doan be tellin' me how to speak no Spanish mon. Doan forget I live a lot closer to the border den you do, hokay? You gotta remember dese tings, little pendejo, or you get yourself in a LOT of toruble, ya know? A LOT of trouble.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:51 PM

I'd be careful Amos or you'll end up on the wrong side of that new fence they're building.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:57 PM

He ees planning to seet on the fence, hombre! He feegers he can play both side for hees own gain and get dates weeth girls, but he's gonna get a beeg sorpresa...BANG! Because the Federales een Mexico gonna blow heem right off that fence and back to California. We use them fockin' gringos chingados like heem for target practice.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 04:58 PM

Amos is scratchin' his hip some more,
Tryin' to channel his next metaphor;
Hawk is screamin' as if in pain
'Cos no one can speel Pancho's name;
Spaw is spewing HEY PAAAHH-N-CHO !
HEY CEEEE-Z-KO!
Why he spews so?
Well, there ain't nobody knows.

But all the Mudcat lurkers say,
They could have posted better any day;
The opportunity just slipped away,
It's a kindness, I suppose.


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:00 PM

It's hot and heavy and the sun still ain't down in the west.

Charley noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:00 PM

Hey, Amos???? Say "Hello" to my leetle friend....


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:01 PM

Shit Charley......LMAO........I just about choked on the salad I'm eating........I think I have some Romaine forced up a sinus cavity now............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:11 PM

Ole Hawk, he stayed behind in school,
While they taught him not to drool,
Until they turned him out, alone,
To face the cold inside his bones.
He couldn't stand the cold inspections,
And grammar, text and style corrections,
So he dropped out in Canada,
Where no-one knows his past.

The poets sing about the threads
That he fucked up and left for dead,
And where he lives is bitter cold,
And that is how the tale is told.
But Little Hawk still gets his say
--he writes pedantic posts, by day,
They show the latest dusty trace
Of the thumb that's up his ass.

A few old professorés claim
They could have understood his brain,
They only had to run away
When the wind began to blow...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:14 PM

I suppose you think you can goad me into spending some of my valuable time composing yet more doggerel to the framework of Pancho and Lefty, do you, Amos?


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:15 PM

LOL

I wonder if Amos is as quick drawing a six-shooter?

What's he do for a day job?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:45 PM

You have to wonder. ;-) He seems to have a great deal of time on his hands.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 05:58 PM

Well that and then when you figure he's multi-tasking and typing with only one hand, his other being actively engaged in polishing his tiny knob, well.........ya' just gotta' be im-damn-pressed!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Ghost of Townes van Zant
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 06:45 PM

I just want all of you frivolous and whimsical bastards to know that, despite an afterlife spent visiting and haunting the various taverns, greasy spoons, performance venues, Greyhound Bus Stations, whorehouses, and Steve Earle's condominium, I still have time to occasionally haunt the Mudcat Cafe and keep an eye on you worthless sons of bitches. And I don't like what I'm seeing.
I don't like the over-analysis of my songs, any more than Picasso would like you creeps overanalyzing his painting, finding Santa Claus taking a leak in the top right corner of the Guernica, or fighting over whether the Man with the Blue Guitar is playing a Guild or a Martin. (Its a goddam Harmony by the way). Anyway, lay off and get a life while there's still time.
Shee-it.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:04 PM

Ghost of TVZ-

Thanks for sharing!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:21 PM

That's jus' ole Hawk gettin' even, Charley. I thought you knowed.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:35 PM

Well spoken, Mr Van Zandt. I fully understand your frustration with this tasteless desecration of your worthy and memorable songwriting. But I fear that it may continue, because Amos can keep spinning out more inane codswallop indefinitely, and Spaw has been hanging out so long with those damned filthy Weimaraners that he has basically forgotten whatever he once knew about common restraint and decency.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:38 PM

Aw, Little Hawk, your feathers!!! I yam sorry I stepped on your toes there. I was swept away in the glorious floodgates of creative ejaculation; I am sure you understand that.

No need to go using an artificial entity there just to say what you feel when you have been insulted.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 07:50 PM

Look, it wasn't me, Amos. Got that? It wasn't. I swear upon the honor of Winona Ryder that it wasn't me, and that's serious business.

Whoever it was, though, I like his sense of humor. Or if it really was TVZ's ghost, then I can sympathize with his point of view.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 08:45 PM

Gentlemen-

TVZ's ghost may not be one of us. Shouldn't we nurture this contact with the afterlife, rather than evoke consternation? At least consider carefully (I know that's asking a lot) before posting.

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Franz S.
Date: 10 Jan 08 - 10:15 PM

"We create our own reality." And it's a lot more fun that way.

(Or is it Uber-reality?)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:51 AM

I spend my days on the road,
in motel rooms all full of mold.
Tryin' to fight the bosses greed,
spreadin'out the workers creed.
Its important work you know its true
takes all my time to push it through
So why am I sitting here with you
laughing like a fool????

Spaw, he is a funny boy
Charley constantly sings "Ships Ahoy"
Amos, a master of hyperbole
He's almost as good as me
Up in Princeton, Dick bitches of wrongs
committed by rubes on the old songs
What Little Hawk is saying in Canada's snows
Ain't nobody knows

All the bosses are happy today
Cause ole Mick has gone away,
instead of fighting for fairer pay
He's writing this stupid song



***chuckle***


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 09:35 AM

LMAO.....I'd say more but I gotta' go watch the TrisMan bowl......helluva' job Bro.......

Spaw....still LOL


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 12:49 PM

Excellent, Mick!

What a bravo of bro!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: dick greenhaus
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 05:49 PM

The original song has a great deal of depth. But it's all on he surface. Deep down, it's very shallow.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 06:00 PM

YEah, Dick, I unnerstan' what you mean.

It's for them as like listening to songs regardless ...



A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 06:02 PM

Sort of like George Bush, only the other way around...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Bert
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 06:07 PM

The Weimaraner has a great deal of depth. But it's all on he surface. Deep down, it's a Dachshund.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 06:37 PM

Livin on the road my friend, was gonna keep you lean and mean
Now you wear size Xtra Large
Your hair's slicked back with vaseline
You weren't your momma's only boy, but her hungriest it seems
She began to cry when you broke the scales
And sank right through the floor!
Sancho was a football king, he rode a big white limousine
He wore his bling outside his vest
Which turned the other gangstas green
But Sancho met his match you know, on the pavement down in old 'Frisco
Nobody heard his dyin' words when he said, "I gots to go!"

And all the LAPDs say, they could've had him any day
They only let him slip away, out of blindness I suppose

Hefty he can't dance the blues all night long like he used to do
The pavement Sancho bit down south ended up in Hefty's mouth
The day they laid poor Sancho low, Hefty split for Kokomo
Where he got the kingsize waterbed, there ain't nobody knows

All the LAPDs say, they could've had him any day
They only let him slip away out of blindness I suppose

The boys tell how old Sancho fell, and Hefty's livin' in Penthouse "L"
Old Frisco's quiet, L.A.'s hot
And Sancho's turf's been sold and bought
Now Sancho needs your prayers it's true, but save a few for Hefty too
He only did what a man must do, and now he's growing old

All the LAPDs say, they could've had him any day
They only let him go so long, out of blindness I suppose

I even heard Mark Fuhrman say, "I coulda had him any day!"
They only let him get away, out of blindness I suppose


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 07:38 PM

awferchrissakes.........LOL.....This thread has so greatly improved that those who posted early have no idea what they're missing......or if they check in, no idea why its where it is.

I have managed not to give in to the rewrites but is anyone else having trouble getting this sucker out of their heads? For cryin' out loud I'm putting words to this damn tune for everything I'm doing.........

I walked into the Kroger store
As I had many times before
Walked back to the olive bar
Where 5 bucks will not go too far
In the produce line I had to pass
The broccoli which gives me gas
The red leaf lettuce looked real bad
I bought Romaine instead


This is just nuts!!!!!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:11 PM

They're all mad! We're all mad!

How glorious!

Little Hawk, you done good! You can probably sell the production rights to Broadway and then to Hollywood, and then retire on your royalties. You should hire a good lawyer immediately.

Spaw, you've given me something to think about the next time I go shopping.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:43 PM

I've been watching this thread, I have. And if you're bad-mouthin' my friend Amos, remember that I can use a six-shooter to good effect (.357 magnum, single action, six rounds, gate load).

It ain't worth doin' for Amos, but I thought you'd like to know.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 08:44 PM

It's been running in its original form through my damn head for three days now, Spaw.

Way down at the Dairy Queen,
Ole Dick Pomfret's acting mean,
Trying to make the young girls cry
Between their milkshakes and their fries.
Now Dick he likes to act real tough
Until some young thing screams "Enough!"
But he was bound to meet his match
When Rhonda came to town.

Now, Rhonda was a high-school dream,
A green-eyed svelte cheer-leading queen
The kind that ends up getting drunk
And screwing half the football team
But Rhonda always got her way,
She had two black belts in Karatay,
And had a trust fund just to pay
For when the chips were down.

The Dairy Queen was lit up bright
Late one August Friday night
And Dick rode up the strip in town
The music up, and the top turned down,
He cruised a Rocket 88,
He drove just to impress his dates
An' he spotted Rhonda sittin' there
Drinkin' a root beer down

All the jocks on the second string
Say he coulda dipped his thing
He only let her get away
Out of manners, I suppose


Dick pulled right up and raised his shades,
Thinking about gettin' laid,
Young Rhonda looked within the law,
And man, did he like what he saw!
But Dick, he made his moves too fast,
The line he used would be his last.
He ended up in his '88
Comin' to in Shanty Town.

All the jocks from the second string
Swear he could have dipped his thing,
An; he only let her slip away,
Out of manners, I suppose....



There's something naturally compelling about the rhythm TVZ discovered for his story. It just keeps rolling and rolling! :D


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 09:22 PM

Matter of fact, yes, I do recall hearing about that, and I thought it was quite an interesting take on the song.

As for cereal boxes, check out Shreddies (or any other Canadian cereal). French on one side, English on the other. Bonus!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 09:26 PM

That's it ain't? You find your thoughts flowing in "P&L meter."

Amos hit it on the head
I'll think this way until I'm dead
This friggin' tune's inside my mind
I'd like to kick Townes' dead behind
And while it is a catchy tune
I'd like to send it to the moon
And think of other songs I know
Like Row,Row,Row, your boat......


Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 09:44 PM

Hell, Spaw, you know that the professor types always say that the last person to know what a piece of writing's about is the guy who wrote it.

Like Peter Yarrow once said about "Puff," "Here I find out in 'Time' that it's a druggie song. All along I thought it was about a loss of youth and innocence. But what do I know? I only wrote it."

Shuck and darns, I got a book called "The Pooh Perplex" that's got some interesting takes on ol' Winnie The.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:01 PM

This may be too much of a good thing.

Wonder what verses will come to me as a dream tonight?

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:03 PM

Now Lefty he can't sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down South
It ended up in Lefty's mouth
The day they laid old Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
Well there ain't nobody 'knows


Good Lord, the meaning of this is obvious! It's a Marxist tragedy!

"Lefty" is obviously an old Socialist, a member of the political Left. "He can't sing the blues" because he abandoned the Revolution and went to Ohio, which everyone knows is about as bourgeois a state as there is in the Union but he was probably bought off by the Capitalist Oppressors Of The Workers ("Where he got the bread to go...."). Pancho is symbolic of all of the workers of the world, a la Woody's "Deportee" song. Lefty is responsible not only for the death of the Revolution, but for the death of the workers (the "Panchos") and when the Workers "bit the dust" is ended up in Lefty's mouth because Lefty was responsible for it all.

Viva Che! A La Pared Con Los Tradores!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:14 PM

As if things weren't quite bad enough
Rapaire said he could strut the stuff
He trotted out a bunch of meanings
Defined by long lost social leanings
He talked about the Left and Right,
And kept on talking half the night,
But somehow, never got it right,
The usual, it seems.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere.
But they couldn't find the footnote source,
When the wind began to blow....


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 11 Jan 08 - 10:21 PM

Republican booshwa!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 12:22 AM

Man, I cannot wait to hear Chongo's interpretation. Too bad he's so busy at the moment.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 12 Jan 08 - 10:45 AM

Well, I did have this recurring nightmare the other night:

There are those who only hear the story told,
And those who read between the lines for gold;
What truth lies beneath the surface - no one knows,
But there may be more than lies, I suppose;
Pancho was a bandit but was his pal a bandit too?
And did Lefty betray his pal or just sing the blues?
Now there ain't no use for us to ask the muse ?
That's the way it goes.

Yet a few old bro will have their say,
Try to shut 'em up an' you'll be blown away;
You don't learn such wisdom any day,
It's all a public service, I suppose.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 13 Jan 08 - 01:00 PM

I suppose the rest of the gang has all gone off to greener pastures, leaving me to harvest this thread.

Well, it's a risky job. It makes a man watchful, and a little lonely.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 11:12 AM

After all was said and done,
By the light of a setting sun,
Charley Noble stood alone,
Harvesting the long thread home,
And as the sea was turning red,
Charley shook his noble head,
"They've all gone off to other things..."
But that's the way it goes.

A few old professorés claim
They understood the singer's brain
But they couldn't find the footnote source
When the winds began to blow,
Oh, woooah, when the winds began to blow..."



I can see Willy doing this on his old beater....on YouTube.



A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 02:00 PM

Amos-

Thanks for the sentiment.

Be advised that you best be out of town by sunset, or a mighty wind might just blow you away!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:09 PM

Well, not quite done yet...............

I just finished watching Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt on The Sundance Channel.........one helluva' piece of work, both the film and TVZ. Its one of those documentaries that is simply worth seeing and gives us a wonderful insight into people in their own words. Listening to his sons(2) and wives(3) and others like Guy Clark and of course Townes himself, you get a superb if tragic and intricate portrait of the guy.

There were all the reasonably famous TVZ quotes like, "There are only two kinds of songs; there's the blues, and there's zip-a-dee-doo-dah," but right toward the end was this:

"I'd like to write a song so great that nobody'd know what it meant......not even me."

Well, there ya' go. Pretty well sums up what we were talking about earlier.................

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:12 PM

wow!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 09:16 PM

Pretty much my thoughts on it too Charley {:<))......I was afraid I'd done myself an injury because my jaw dropped open onto the floor.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:35 PM

That doesn't jive with prior assertions about your anatomy, Spaw...


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 10:47 PM

Gad, Amos! That was the very thought that immediately came to my mind as well.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Bert
Date: 14 Jan 08 - 11:43 PM

...my jaw dropped open onto the floor...

I dunno guys, there ain't nobody on Mudcat got a gob like our Spaw.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: GUEST,Observer
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:15 PM

Wait a minute....

Lefty ended up in Ohio...

A guy supposedly called Spaw lives in Ohio...

You don't suppose...?????


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:25 PM

Okay, here's the way I see it now:

Pancho was Lefty's father. Lefty shot him in a fit of Oedipal jealousy and took off back to Mom in Ohio, which (take it from one who's lived there!) one mother of a state. Now, as we all know a "Lefty" is also known as a "Southpaw"...or "S'Paw."

Motive, opportunity...it's all there.

Come clean, Spaw. Admit it. Get it off your chest. Once you do it will stop eating away at your innards.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:28 PM

According to Spaw's earlier reports his coiled reproductive organs would have provided plenty of cushioning.

Come to think of it, Guest, you may be right. An ordinary guy doesn't need much bread to split for Ohio, but Spaw needs to hire a damned flatbed.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:41 PM

Have just been watching the movie about Townes Van Zandt, "Be Here To Love Me".

Man, what a tragic life! But he sure could play those songs.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:48 PM

Amos claims that Spaw would know
You don't need much bread to reach Ohio;
A slice or two at the most,
Any more and you'd end up toast!
But wiser heads like ol' Rapaire's,
Have to shake in deep despair ?
The notion would appear half-baked,
But that's the way it goes.

Yet a few old bro will have their say,
Try to shut 'em up an' you'll be blown away;
You don't learn such wisdom any day,
It's all a public service, I suppose.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:51 PM

And I assume you too caught the line at the end I quoted above?   Tragic life that he almost seemed to enjoy Hawk...............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 09:57 PM

Is there any significance to the fact the both "Spaw" and "Hawk" have the letters "aw" in them? Hmmmmmmmmmm.........


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 15 Jan 08 - 10:12 PM

The talking turned to bold Rapaire,
And psychobabble filled the air,
He figgered high and he figgered low,
And what he meant, nobody knows.
He said that life was edible,
And said that Spaw was Oedipal,
Then he went off smoking drainpipes,
As the sun was falling low.

All the academics seem
To think they know what he tried to mean,
But they lost their lists of secret memes
When the wind began to blow,
Oh, when the wind began to blow


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:03 AM

Some day, I predict, someone will mine this thread an' make millions, long after our ol' bones 'ave crumbled an' blown away as dust.

The ghost of TVZ might be amused.

The banner ads below feature "Pancho and Lefty Radio."

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: >>The Ballad of Various Literary Criticisms
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:46 AM

The Ballad of Various Literary Criticisms


Old Pat was plain and sexual,
He warn't no inty-leckshual,
He liked to shout in terms obscene,
At people on the movie screen.
But down at Mudcat, on a break
Someone made a big mistake,
Asked Pat for a literary critique,
Something you should never do.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.

Now Charley, he a can't pick and choose
Every verse, like he useter do,
When Pat produced his grand critique,
It raised a bit of Charley's pique
It was all bullshit, smoke and phlegm
But that didn't matter much to him,
He started writing one himself,
An' we all know how that goes.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.

The critics all ignored old Pat,
And Charley's counterpoint fell flat
On grounds of insufficient charm
And post-deconstructionist alarm.
And Pat, he needs your prayers, it's true
But save a few for Charley, too,
He's writing guidebooks for the Zoo
For the tourists in the spring.

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow....
Oh, when the winds began to blow....



Franz was getting hot and sore,
Pacing up and down the floor,
Researching antecedents which
He found from 1934.
But Franz could not, for all his tryin'
Get the other guys to buy-in,
He swore Pancho Villa was the key,
But maybe it ain't so...

All the professorés swear
They'd heard of his repute somewhere
They only lost the footnote source
When the winds began to blow.
Ohhhh, ohh, the winds began to blow....


Ole Hawk, he stayed behind in school,
While they taught him not to drool,
Until they turned him out, alone,
To face the cold inside his bones.
He couldn't stand the cold inspections,
And grammar, text and style corrections,
So he dropped out in Canada,
Where no-one knows his past.

The poets sing about the threads
That he fucked up and left for dead,
And where he lives is bitter cold,
And that is how the tale is told.
But Little Hawk still gets his say
--he writes pedantic posts, by day,
They show the latest dusty trace
Of the thumb that's up his ass.

A few old professorés claim
They could have understood his brain,
They only had to run away
When the wind began to blow...

The talking turned to bold Rapaire,
And psychobabble filled the air,
He figgered high and he figgered low,
And what he meant, nobody knows.
He said that life was edible,
And said that Spaw was Oedipal,
Then he went off smoking drainpipes,
As the sun was falling low.

All the academics seem
To think they know what he tried to mean,
But they lost their lists of secret memes
When the wind began to blow,
Oh, when the wind began to blow

After all was said and done,
By the sorry light of a setting sun,
Charley Noble stood alone,
Harvesting the long thread home,
And as the sea was turning red,
Charley shook his noble head,
"They've all gone off to other things..."
But that's the way it goes.

A few old professorés claim
They understood the singer's brain
But they couldn't find the footnote source
When the winds began to blow,
Oh, woooah, when the winds began to blow...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 01:25 PM

Your lyrics teeter drunkenly from flashes of momentary brilliance to blithering absentee idiocy, Amos, rather as a drunken budgerigar teeters back and forth from one foot to the other on his precarious perch just prior to taking a fluttering nosedive into the nearby trash basket or the toilet bowl...

May I pull the handle of the latter now and end your misery?


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 02:04 PM

I take it you didn't like your verse, Little Hawk.

This is the second time it has driven you into fits of uncontrollable hate-filled venom-spewing. Really, I believed all that was below a person of your elevated character, but clearly, your Dark Side entities are unimpressed with all your spiritual studies, and lurk ready to move in at the slightest provocation.

Ah, well. It is not my misery that really is in question. I really enjoyed writing those lines. :D

Why don't you make a recording of them? The chords are straightfoprward and your brilliant musicianship could make it sound really good.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 02:09 PM

"Doctor, there's this tune that I can't get out of my head!"

"Now, son, calm down. Why not hum me a few bars."

"Oh, no! Now we'll both have to be quarentined!"

They say that songs can never kill,
Only people fit that bill;
They saunter up, adjust the mic,
And then they blow you outta sight!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 08:47 PM

Why, Amos? ;-) I'll tell you why. Because my lyrical alternative version, "Sancho and Hefty", is way better than yours is, and I'd rather sing it instead. Your version, as I said, has moments of brilliance here and there, but it doesn't hold up overall. It's got sections that are really weak, both in regards to imagery and metre. It has poor structure. It has clumsy wording. It engages in puerile character attacks on people you know personally, while my song engages in social satire.

You need to churn out far less material than you normally do, cut out the dross and refine your approach. I would not sing your version because it's embarrassingly bad in spots. If you were to edit out about half of it and clean it up some, then you'd have something worth singing.

And for you to accuse me of "hate-filled venom-spewing" when you would go so low as to write a line about me having my thumb up my ass....well, that's just downright laughable. ;-D You are being unobservant of your own penchant for low-minded crudity, sir. It does not become you.

To paraphrase the immortal Bobert: "That owl won't hoot."


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 09:33 PM

Say, let me amend the final line of my 1st paragraph in that last post slightly, to be fair...I might better have said it this way:

"It (your parody of Pancho and Lefty) engages in puerile characterizations of people you know personally (on this forum), while my song engages in social satire."

Your intent, of course, was humorous...as was mine. We aimed our humor at very different targets.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:01 PM

I always aim mine upwards toward the gutter..............

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:08 PM

LOL!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 16 Jan 08 - 11:08 PM

Two hunnert!!!


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:47 AM

Actually, I don't think yours was better. I think you're just being jealous. Anyway, don't sing mine. It's not up to your standards, and I'd ghate for you to compromise yourself.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 11:55 AM

Don't worry, I wasn't planning to.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:07 PM

Amos..... what really pisses me off is that there is no verse for me!!!!!! There went my street cred. thanks, hombre.

****chuckle****

Mick


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 12:17 PM

A man without street cred is a pissed-off fella, and a pissed-off fella who sings Irish stuff is likely to take you out with a bodhran beater.

Better apologize, Amos. Crawl in the dust if you gotta -- there are better ways to go than being beaten bloody with a bodhran beater.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 01:41 PM

Mister Mick,

Sir, you do me disservice -- I wasn't leaving your verse out, I was saving it for best and last.

But after Little Hawk's explsion of righteous indignation, it did occur to me to ownder whether or not you would rather be spared altogether.

Howver, if that is not the concern, since you are of deeper, more robust, more bullet-proof character, I will have your verse along shortly, as soon as I do a few corrections to the abbreviated user guide for the SR-60 cable locator.

A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:09 PM

Ha! I simply enjoy playing with you now and then, Amos, as a cat plays with a cruddy old ball of string that he has long played with and has grown accustomed to savaging when he's bored. Having these little feuds and tiffs, these petty little struggles of ego, pretending it all actually matters....hurling carefully crafted verbal broadsides across ancient battlefields positioned on virtually worthless ground that no one really wants. It goes so well with the general zeitgeist around here, don't you think? ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:16 PM

Well, I will admit that what you say is well-spoken, considering you have that thumb so far up there.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 02:38 PM

My sexual proclivities are in fact quite different from what you surmise.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:44 PM

He's saying that he doesn't use his thumb, Amos.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 03:56 PM

Oh, I'm sorry, you misunderstood me. I never meant to imply it was sexual.


A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 04:05 PM

Big Mick lives out on the road,
Carrying a heavy load,
Righting wrongs and fighting lies,
And helping workers organize,
But when the load, it gets too great,
Ole Mick doesn't hesitate,
He tunes in to the folkie's page,
And rests his weary eyes.

All the greedy bosses claim
They're smarter than a Big Mick's brain,
And they only give him what he wants,
Out of kindness, I suppose.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:09 PM

Amos-

Nicely done, with regard recognizing Big Mick's contribution!

Now make nice with Little Hawk and all will be forgiven, I'm certain sure.

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:38 PM

I am sure a rapprochment can be arranged... ;-)


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 05:49 PM

Or, if not, at least a reapportionment like where Amos sends us all some money in case his words go platinum...........Tell ya' what Amos, just send me a grand now and we'll call it square; you get all the royalties.

Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:01 PM

I welcome forgiveness from all quarters, for all my sins whether real or inagined.



A


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Little Hawk
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 07:10 PM

You have it! ;-)

Hey, I've just been practicing "Pancho and Lefty" (the real version, I mean) on the keyboard here...sounds good.


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Rapparee
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:16 PM

After a while one begins to doubt if ANY version is real....


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:27 PM

For you lurkers who have been diligently following this discourse, it's time to chime in with your admiration and thanks for this grand and glorious thread. Know that it couldn't have happened without your attention!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: catspaw49
Date: 17 Jan 08 - 09:51 PM

Aw the hell with 'em CN! We trashed the damn thread, not them! And if they're lurkin' they be some sick puppies, I mean like, I got somethin' they can lurk right here!

This song has sent me round the bend
The friggin' thread will never end
I'm still thinkin' in Pancho rhyme
Can't get the tune out of my mind
I hope Amos sends me some dough
I could use a grand, ya' know?
My life's hopeless doncha' see?
Think I'll go take a crap..........


Spaw


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Amos
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 12:36 AM

Now Spaw sits on the outhouse floor
As he's done many times before,
Poor old man, he just feels wrong,
His mind all stuck on Pancho's song.
To ease the ringing in his brain,
He reaches up and pulls the chain,
The song goes round and round again,
And that's the way it goes...


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Charley Noble
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 09:22 AM

Yet a few grey Mudcatters swear,
Those who still have any hair,
They could have posted ever'y day --
Exceeding the Mother of all BS threads!


Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: The Ballad of Pancho and Lefty
From: Big Mick
Date: 18 Jan 08 - 10:10 AM

The poets tell how it got absurd,
As Old 'Catters fought for the last word
They posted early and posted late,
'til the thread collapsed of its own weight
It drove ole Mick around the bend
He made a move, the thread to end
So this will be the final post
Out of kindness I suppose

So old grey 'Catters, stay away
For this thread has gone astray
let it die a peaceful death
Out of kindness, I suppose


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: catspaw49
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:08 PM

Well Gang, I hated to reopen this can of panchoworms but I ran across another rendition on YouTube from a favorite guy of mine, Hoyt Axton. Very country and up tempo with some great steel work from the incomparable Pete Grant and Champ fiddler Byron Berline doing his thing on Mandolin! Check it out.........

Hoyt Axton---Pancho&Lefty

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Amos
Date: 01 Feb 08 - 09:25 PM

Bob Dylan and Willie sing Pancho and Lefty

A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 09:34 AM

sigh...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 08:26 PM

Seeing as this thread is still holding on, here is Townes Van Zandt talking about the song, and about a real life Pancho and Lefty, who let him go one time - out of kindness I suppose.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: GUEST,Townes' Ghost
Date: 02 Feb 08 - 09:46 PM

That has already been linked and discussed earlier on the thread.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 12:07 PM

But that often happens in a recurring nightmare!

Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Franz S.
Date: 03 Feb 08 - 12:38 PM

Well, I got a verse of my own for the first time since I was five or so. Can't beat that. Thanks, Amos.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Amos
Date: 04 Feb 08 - 11:46 PM

For those of you who care, here is an MP3 of the Ballad of Various Critiques found above, including verses on Franz, Mick, Little Hawk and Rapaire.

Ballad of various Critiques

Enjoy.


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 04:04 AM

Yes, revolution and betrayal.

There's an interview with Townes Van Zandt on YouTube where he says that he *thought* it wasn't about Pancho Villa, but then discovered that one of Villa's sidekicks was called something that meant 'Lefty' in Spanish.

Townes Van Zandt was (a) an alcoholic, who spent a lot of his life in a haze, and (b) a Texas aristocrat, at one stage groomed by his family for governorship.

When he was growing up, he must have heard old men talking about the border wars of the Mexican revolution; old enemies talk in drink.

"He sank into his dreams" - the dream of revolution, of heroism.

I love the way that Van Zandt uses the objective correlative in the tight, spare writing - things like "for all the honest world to feel" making the 'honest' resound back from the world to reflect the naive heroism of Pancho.

The federales: I sense a certain sarcasm in "out of kindness, I suppose?" - as if to say, yeah, they say now they could have had him any day, but that's an empty boast from timid bullies.

"The dust that Pancho bit down south ended up in Lefty's mouth" - what a perfect expression of betrayal: after Pancho's gunned down, Lefty is no longer able to sing the honest blues; his betrayal chokes him.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Charley Noble
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 09:43 AM

Amos-

Very nice to have this critique available for download, and very nicely executed.

It's vaguely reminiscent of the real thing, I suppose!

Cheerily,
Charley Noble


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Amos
Date: 05 Feb 08 - 02:01 PM

You're welcome Charley! Send a copy to everyone you know, and your luck will double and your hard drive triple in size.


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: Amos
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 03:35 PM

I am refreshing this for Spaw, damn his saggy butt.


A


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: catspaw49
Date: 06 Feb 08 - 06:36 PM

Amos you fantastic son of a bitch!   I AM glad you refreshed this damn thing as I'd missed it I guess, somehow. Ya' done good but ya' know crap like this will eventually catch up with you and you'll turn into something hideous and appalling like a Californian or........................er,uh...............hmmmm.........too late................

Nice work anyway..........

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: GUEST,pjhrn
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 11:45 PM

I think with Pancho and Lefty Van Zant is addressing two sides of himself, and maybe by extension of us. And that Lefty perhaps betrays Pancho is a metaphor of the worldly part of ourselves betraying our creative or intuitive side. Or maybe not. But I don't think the song is about two guys named Pancho and Lefty.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: catspaw49
Date: 03 Oct 08 - 11:56 PM

I'm guessing here dear Guest that you haven't read this thread. After a certain point it becomes quite enjoyably silly but there's some good info including multiple links toone of Townes' interviews where he explains he has no idea exactly what the song is about or even that it might be about something he had no idea of.

Townes was a bit weird..........click here and see for yourself!

Spaw


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Pancho and Lefty (Townes Van Zandt)
From: GUEST
Date: 21 Jun 14 - 05:34 PM

The version above looks like the one EL Harris did. Van Zant's versions often varied. The main difference is the line "let him slip away". In the 1st chorus it is "let him hang around" inferring that Poncho was hanged". In the second chorus it is "let him slip away" inferring they let Lefty go because of his assistance. In the 3rd and 4th (final) chorus it is "let him go so wrong" meaning Lefty regretted what he had done.


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