A cowboy song

This is just for fun. Seven years ago I came to Paris. I was travelling alone and had a country and western song stuck in my head, originaly sung in Luxembourgeois by an outfit called the Eschville Ramblers, which had been playing in the restaurant where I’d been working in the South of France. I started writing my own English words to the tune, imagining a lonely would-be cowboy wandering the streets of Paris. After a couple of days I met some really cool people, started having a lot of fun and largely forgot about the song.

I’m back in Paris now (sitting in Café Delmas in Place de la Contrescarpe as I type this) and I decided to finish the song. It goes like this, a kind of Jacques-Brel-meets-Johnny-Cash pastiche, maybe. The first two lines are phonetic approximations of the original:

Down and Out

I haven’t been to Nashville,
I’m still sleeping by the Seine,
But every time my luck’s run out
It’s run right back again.

I have walked the road from Vicksburg
Down to Tenessee
Up and down this lonely river
Chained to old Par-ee.

  Oh come you rhapsodies,
  Storms and symphonies,
  Come the morning calling out my name.
  On the western breeze,
  From the balconies,
  Won’t somebody holler out my name?

I was high-brow to my first wife,
I’ve been low-brow to the rest.
They bought me books and cowboy boots
Now they’re all that I’ve got left,

And a suitcase full of memories,
And a wilderness of dreams,
And faith that life won’t leave me here
After what it’s done to me.

  Oh, it’s no good for me,
  I need company,
  Just to hear somebody call my name.
  On the western breeeze,
  From the balconies,
  Won’t somebody holler out my name?

When my wandering days are over,
When the whiskey starts to burn,
I will strap myself to a big balloon
Straight out of Jules Verne,

And if they don’t arrest me,
By God I’ll try my best
To unlive everything I’ve done
And dream myself back west.

  Oh come you rhapsodies,
  Storms and symphonies,
  Come the morning calling out my name.
  On the western breeze,
  From the balconies,
  Won’t somebody holler out my name?

The tune is quite jolly, a bit like “Flowers on the Wall” by the Statler Brothers. There’s a website where you can download it, but it requires signing up, and as it’s been in my head for seven years anyway I’m disinclined to fork out for a subscription.

If you’re a country singer yourself, or you know someone who is, and you think these words could be put to any use, please feel free to get in touch. I’d love to hear them sung, silly though they may be.

Comments are welcome.

  • Phony

    Hey, i’m a member of that former band ” Eschville Ramblers ”
    We made a record called “Minett Country ” with lyrics in our mothertongue and therefore it seems maybe a little confusing when you hear american Country / bluegrass music and luxemburgish words . Well it was a trial and a success . Wnenever you wanna have more info about that project feel free to give me a note on phos@pt.lu or leave me a message on our site info@kantriklapp.lu or see me on facebook Phony Philippe

    Thanks for your interest

    • Hi Phony,

      Thank you so much for getting in touch. It’s really fantastic to hear from you.

      The chef/owner of the restaurant I was working in at the time was from Luxembourg. He loved the album and insisted that it was played at least once every working day, no matter what the customers said. I loved it as well.

      I’ll be in touch more by email…