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The Bob Zentz Songbook

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The Story Of Ramblin' Conrad Pt. I

From Mirrors And Changes

Music and lyrics 1974 Bob Zentz

Link to the "Mirrors and Changes" booklet

 

I.

Smoke filled room,

Hundred-watt gloom

Spreadin' from nicotine walls;

Faces so bent,

But too tired to resent

The Veterans' Auction Hall.

 

But they're sellin' off pieces

Of somebody's life,

Slightly used, for a dollar or more;

Once they meant something,

But nothin' was gained

And that's what they're sellin' 'em for.

 

II.

"Everybody's goin' out and havin' fun;

Well, I'm stuck down here on St. Bride's Farm just havin' none.

Everybody's out on a spree ...

All but me.

 

"One night I got drunk and I was headin' for home.

Well, I run into a couple of cops and they would not leave me alone.

They're gonna take me down;

I'm gonna be St. Bride's bound.

 

"Now they got me down here, they got me pickin' peas.

Lord, I picked so many peas my fingers are killin' me.

And I guess I been born to lose ...

Sing nothin' but the doggone St. Bride's Blues."

 

III.

So, we called him "Ramblin' Contrad"

After that first time we'd met ...

December rain and booze and pain

On a face I won't forget.

But he had a song for anyone

Who took the time to hear,

And he gave a special kind of love

To the few that came that near.

 

IV.

"Well, it's Saturday night and I ain't got no money,

Ain't got no one to buy me no beer.

All I got is my old guitar

And I can't play it in here.

 

"I said, it's Saturday night and I ain't got no money,

Ain't got no one to buy me no beer.

All I got is my old guitar

And I can't play it in here."

 

V.

"But it's Saturday night and I'm on the ramble,

Ramblin's all I do.

Wish I could just find one young fella

To buy me a bottle of brew.

 

"I said, it's Saturday night and I ain't got no money,

Ain't got no one to buy me no beer.

All I got is my old guitar

And I can't play it in here."

 

VI.

Guess he'd been in jail a hundred times

For things that didn't matter.

He was kinda like his old guitar,

Played on, though it was battered.

Why, the two of them were just like one,

And that one was mighty good,

'Cause he lived his songs and he sang his life

As few men ever could.

 

VII.

Well, he sang of the prison farms, railroad bums,

And a man who had rambled alone.

Jimmie Rodgers, Hank Williams, and old Ernest Tubb,

But some of the songs were his own.

Yeah, he was real country, straight from the heart,

And I guess it was plan to see

That he taught us to feel, 'cause his songs were so real,

And that's what mattered to me.

 

So, have you seen him on the boulevard

With his guitar on his back?

Or comin' out of "Mom's and Pop's"

With a cold brew in a sack?

Now he's been on the TV set

And in the newspapers, too,

And we called him "Ramblin' Conrad"

And he'd sing a song for you.

 

VIII.

"There's a little bit of everything in Texas;

Just wait around and you will see.

There's a little bit of everything in Texas,

And a whole lot of Texas in me.

 

"So, if you love old sunny California,

Or, perhaps, the hills of Tennessee,

No matter what you love, just come to Texas

And I'll bet my boots you will agree."

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