Ballad Of Spider John

by Willis Alan Ramsey

from the album Living and Dying in 3/4 Time


Lyrics

Spider John is my name friend
I’m in between freights and I sure would be obliged
If you’d share your company
I know this may sound strange to you
But if you wait ’til the song is sung and the stories told
You might come to understand
Why I’m old and bent and devil’s been runnin’ out of time
When I long ago held a royal flush in my hand

Oh, I was a super market fool, I was a motor bank stool pigeon
Robbing my hometown
I thought I’d lost my blues, yes, I thought I’d paid my dues
I thought I’d found the life to suit my style

But here I sit ol’ Spider John
The robber man
Long, tall and handsome
Yes, ol’ Spider John with a loaded hand
Taking ransom

Then one day I met Diamond Lil
She was the sweetest thing, I declare,
That the summer breeze ever blown my way
Lilly she had no idea my illustrious occupation
She thought I was a saint, not a sinner gone astray yay
But you see that word got around and Lily left town
Never saw her again
Tossin’ and turnin’, causin’ my heart to grieve

Oh, I was a super market fool, I was motor bank stool pigeon
Robbing my hometown.
I thought I’d lost my blues, thought I’d paid my dues
I thought I’d found the life to suit my style.

But here I sit ol’ Spider John
The robber man
Long, tall and handsome
Yes, ol’ Spider John with a loaded hand
Taking ransom

That is all my story
Been these thirty years since I took to the road
Find my precious jewel one
If you see my Lilly, won’t you give her my regards
Tell her ol’ Spider got tangled
In the black web that he spun

You can tell her that ol’ Spider got tangled
In the black web that he spun

Jimmy’s Note:

Willis Alan Ramsey is one of the great Texas troubadours who has built a musical legacy. I think he is one of the best writers I have ever known, and I hope to one day hear that he has made another album.

Note: some of the lyrics of this song were cut on this version, while Jimmy often sings the full version live.