Thursday, June 26, 2008

Summer wages

In honor of Deven Desai's post, Summer reading, which in turn lauds Patrick O'Donnell's fantastic bibliographies, which we may and should contemplate even as "the years are gambled and lost / like summer wages," I offer this rendition of Ian Tyson's classic cowboy tune:

All the beer parlors / all down along Main Street
Photo credit: ymirbc.com — Ymir, British Columbia; Charla Beaulieu

Never hit seventeen
When you play against the dealer
You know that the odds
Won't ride with you
And never leave your woman alone
With your friends around to steal her
She'll he gambled and gone
Like summer wages



Other versions:
  1. Emmylou Harris joins Ian and Sylvia Tyson in a 1986 performance of Summer Wages (1986) (YouTube video — embedding disabled by request)

  2. Nanci Griffith, 1998 cover, on Other Voices, Too (A Trip Back to Bountiful)
Nanci Griffith
And we'll keep rolling on
Till we get to Vancouver
And the woman that I love
She's living there
It's been six long months
And more since I've seen her
Years have gambled and gone
Like summer wages

Chorus:
In all the beer parlors
All down along Main Street
The dreams of the seasons
Get all spilled down on the floor
All the big stands of timber
Just waiting for the falling
And the hookers standing watchfully
Waiting by the door


So I'll work on the towboats
With my slippery city shoes
Which Lord I swore I would never do again
Through the gray fog-bound straits
Where the cedars stand watching
I'll be far off and gone
Like summer wages

[Repeat chorus]

Never hit seventeen
When you play against the dealer
You know that the odds
Won't ride with you
And never leave your woman alone
With your friends around to steal her
She'll be gambled and gone
Like summer wages

And the years are gambled and lost
Like summer wages

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