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Pancho and Lefty

Published:

 


 Pancho And Lefty

Living on the road my friend
Was gonna keep you free and clean
Now you wear your skin like iron
Your breath's as hard as kerosene
You weren't your mama's only boy
But her favorite one it seems
She began to cry when you said goodbye
And sank into your dreams

Pancho was a bandit boys
His horse was fast as polished steel
Wore his gun outside his pants
For all the honest world to feel
Pancho met his match you know
On the deserts down in Mexico
Nobody heard his dying words
That's the way it goes

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him hang around
Out of kindness I suppose

Lefty he can't sing the blues
All night long like he used to
The dust that Pancho bit down south
Ended up in Lefty's mouth
The day they laid poor Pancho low
Lefty split for Ohio
Where he got the bread to go
There ain't nobody knows

All the federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him slip away
Out of kindness I suppose

The poets tell how Pancho fell
Lefty's livin' in a cheap hotel
The desert's quiet and Cleveland's cold
So the story ends we're told
Pancho needs your prayers it's true,
But save a few for Lefty too
He just did what he had to do
Now he's growing old

A few gray federales say
They could have had him any day
They only let him go so wrong
Out of kindness I suppose


By Townes Van Zandt

Townes wrote this one and sang it for decades before it was picked up by Willie Nelson and other greats.  But when Townes sang it from the time he was 20 until he died it always hushed the crowd.

Jack

 

 

Entry #397

Comments

1.
LANTERNComment by LANTERN - October 29, 2005, 11:09 pm
Yes, those on the picture are Pancho Villa and Emiliano Zapata, both Generals of the revolutionary army. Both were killed yes.
2.
Comment by Rip Snorter - October 29, 2005, 11:24 pm
Yes they are. No, the song isn't about Pancho Villa. Similarities end there. But the song and the pics fit well enough to satisfy the casual observer.
Thanks for the comment.
Jack
3.
Comment by Rip Snorter - October 29, 2005, 11:28 pm
To be honest I didn't offer it up as a question because I knew who the men were when I posted the pics, but thanks for answering it.
Jack
4.
Comment by cowgirlpoet - November 1, 2005, 4:04 pm
I always assumed the song was based loosly on the life (and death) of Pancho Villa. Is it just a fictional ballad, then? I have a couple of horses named for this song. Pancho is a great one at figuring out any catch we put on the barn door, it's a wonder he hasn't foundered from all the purloined sweet feed he's gotten into. Lefty always gives him away, though, as he waits just outside the corral gate where he can be easily seen.
5.
Comment by Rip Snorter - November 1, 2005, 4:14 pm
That's hammerheads for you. I much prefer a good, honest mule.

Yeah, it's a fiction song. Has nothing at all to do with Pancho Villa. Those times in Mexico were full of men a lot like Pancho in the song. I don't doubt Townes called him Pancho because of Villa, but the song's about people, as opposed to an individual.

Thanks for the comment.

Jack

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