Friday, July 06, 2007

Old Tom T. Hall has a song George W should hear

Our pal Lewis Bailey from Bailey Mountain, Georgia--Tabloid Baby's eyes on the South, the best news cameraman in the whole USA, and country music aficionado and tastemaker-- alerts us to to a powerful, heartbreaking and very timely new recording by country music legend and great American poet Tom T. Hall.

The song is called A Hero in Harlan.

Lewis tells us that "somebody should send this song to President Bush":

Tom T. is sounding old--about like some of Johnny Cash's last records.

I have been a Tom T. Hall fan from the day I first heard the song, "Harper Valley PTA."

Anyway, I have listened to the song so many times that I have learned the lyrics and have copied them in this post. You can hear a sample of the song by going to this website and following directions.
By: Dixie Hall & Tom T. Hall

A grey silver casket rolls off the airplane
The Stars and the Stripes are draped over the lid
Inside is the body of our litle brother
they say he's a soldier, but he's just a kid

We're' here to take him to Harlan Kentucky
where he will buried in our family plot
We think of that day when he went in the Army
expecting a much better job than he got

He'll be a hero in Harlam
Like all the young soldiers before
he's not the first and he won't be the last
to lay down his life in war

Somewhere in the records in the records he'll just be a number
Another young man lying under a sheet
We're taking him home to rest high on a hillside
And he'll be a hero in Harlan this week

He never made A's when he sat in the classroom
Never got dates with the prettiest girls
When he got turned down for a job in the coal mine
I guess that's what led him to go save the world

(repeat chorus)

The world is a place and maybe needs saving
but what can a country boy do with a gun
He used to win teddy bears down at the fairgrounds
when living was easy and shooting was fun

They fold up the stars and the stripes for his mother
and gently trade her the flag for her son
a harder exchange never took place in Harlan
But it's not the first time it's ever been done

(repeat chorus)

And he'll be a hero in Harlan.
Click here to hear Hero in Harlan. And yes, at 71, Tom T.'s sounding his age and then some. Though he's as clear and true as he ever was, and unlike Johnny, isn't being exploited in his final days by hipsters seeking authenticity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What a great song. I love ole T and this song is a classic. Just brilliant. A fantastic bookend to "Mama Bake a Pie."