A very, very old one...

February 13, 2009

When I was young, I listened to the radio…really, because Musical Band Box was on during Sunday afternoons. My parents did not like “western” music, but I fell in love with the Beatles, Simon and Garfunkel, and all the rest, and would listen to this radio programme quietly, with the old Murphy valve radio turned on, but with the round volume dial turned down low….

And this song, which must have been one of the earliest “rap” songs, was one that I loved…

I can’t find a video of it, perhaps it’s too old for that, but here are the lyrics:

Lorne Green Lyrics

Ringo Lyrics


They lie in boot hills all through the west. The outlaws, the gunslingers, the Billy the Kids and worse. Say a fella like the coward that shot Bill Hickock in the back. Theres always one like that in every time of history. Most of them were varmints, but every once in a while, in one of them, there may have lived a man…

Spoken lyrics:

He lay face down in the desert sand clutching a six gun in his hand Shot from behind I thought he was dead for under his heart was an once of lead But a spark still burned so I used my knife and late that night I saved the life of Ringo

I nursed him ‘til the danger passed the days went by he mended fast and then from dawn ‘til setting sun he practiced with that deadly gun and hour on hour I watched in awe No human being could match the draw of Ringo

One day we rode the mountain crest and I went east and he went west I took to law and wore a star while he spread terror near and far with lead and blood he gained such fame all through the west they feared the name of Ringo

I knew someday I’d face the test which one of us would be the best and sure enough the word came down that he was holed up in the town I left the posse out on the street and I went in alone to meet Ringo

They said my speed was next to none but my lightning draw had just begun when I heard a blast that stunned my wrist The gun went flying from my fist and I was looking down the bore of the deadly 44 of Ringo

They say that was the only time that anyone had seen him smile He slowly lowered his gun and then he said to me “We’re even, friend.” And so at last I understood that there was still a spark of good in Ringo

I blocked the path of his retreat he turned and stepped into the street a dozen guns spit fire and lead-

A moment later he lay dead

The town began to shout and cheer Nowhere was there shed a tear for Ringo

The story spread throughout the land that I had beaten Ringo’s hand and it was just the years they say that made me put my guns away but on his grave they can’t explain the tarnished star above the name of Ringo

I was young, and Ringo’s fate brought a tear to my eye…for a moment now, as I read the words, the vanished suns of my lost youth shone upon me again, and I was back in Calcutta on a hot muggy Sunday afternoon, with the fan lazily creaking, listening close to the loudspeaker cones behind the old radio….