THE BLOG
02/13/2006 05:43 pm ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Dick-o-Lee: A Gunman's Ballad

The legend of the "badman"/gunfighter has come down to us in ballad form for hundreds of years. Stack-o-Lee, wronged woman Frankie (of "Frankie & Johnnie/Frankie & Albert"), Billy the Kid ... Americans have always immortalized their shooters. The wickeder they are, the better the song.

This then, is today's ballad (to be sung to Taj Majal's version of "Stack-O-Lee"):
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Way down in deepest Texas,
down on the Armstrong Ranch,
a gunman shot old Whittington,
that po' boy had no chance.

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

When Dick-o-lee shot Harry
he shot him through and through
he said "I run this country, boy,
there ain't nothin' you can do"

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

"Don't bore me with the safety rules,
because Dick-o-Lee's my name.
By the time I'm done, old Whittington,
you'll be the one to blame"

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

They took Harry to the ambulance
that's always standin' by,
doctors say this ain't the man
we're paid just to keep from dyin'.

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

He tried to keep it secret
but now everybody knew
that he travels with two doctors -
(he brings six white horses, too.)

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

When Dick appears in public
his bandleader said to me
I don't know whether to play "Hail to the Chief"
or "Nearer My God to Thee"

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee
.

When the bad man Cheney
picks up his .28
the only safe place you can be
is in some other state.

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

Now Cheney says he's sorry
that he shot him through and through
but if there's heaven, hell, and justice
soon he'll tell the Devil too.

Talkin' bout the bad man, bad man,
cruel old Dick-o-lee.

(there are a couple more verses over at Night Light - that's the album version ...and the reason why the shooting is Cheney's Chappaquiddick is here.)