Kris Kristofferson - To Beat The Devil

A couple of years back, I come across a great
And wasted friend of mine in the hallway of a recording studio
And while he was reciting some poetry to me that he'd written I saw that he was about a step away from dyin'
And I couldn't help but wonder why
And the lines of this song occurred to me
I'm happy to say he's no longer wasted and he's got him a good woman
And I'd like to dedicate this to John and June
Who helped show me how to beat the devil
It was winter time in Nashville, down on music city row
And I was lookin' for a place to get myself out of the cold
To warm the frozen feelin' that was eatin' at my soul
Keep the chilly wind off my guitar
My thirsty wanted whiskey, my hungry needed beans
But it'd been of month of paydays since I'd heard that eagle scream
So with a stomach full of empty and a pocket full of dreams
I left my pride and stepped inside a bar
Actually, I guess you'd could call it a Tavern
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling and sawdust on the floor
Friendly shadows
I saw that there was just one old man sittin' at the bar
And in the mirror, I could see him checkin' me and my guitar
An' he turned and said, "Come up here boy, and show us what you are"
I said, "I'm dry", he bought me a beer
He nodded at my guitar and said, "It's a tough life, ain't it?"
I just looked at him, he said, "You ain't makin' any money, are you?"
I said, "You've been readin' my mail"
He just smiled and said, "Let me see that guitar
I've got something you oughta hear", then he laid it on me
"If you waste your time a-talkin' to the people who don't listen
To the things that you are sayin', who do you think's gonna hear
And if you should die explainin' how the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changin', who do you think's gonna care?"
There were other lonely singers in a world turned deaf and blind
Who were crucified for what they tried to show
And their voices have been scattered by the swirling winds of time
'Cause the truth remains that no-one wants to know
Well, the old man was a stranger, but I'd heard his song before
Back when failure had me locked out on the wrong side of the door
When no-one stood behind me but my shadow on the floor
And lonesome was more than a state of mind
You see, the devil haunts a hungry man
If you don't wanna join him, you got to beat him
I ain't sayin' I beat the devil, but I drank his beer for nothing
Then I stole his song
And you still can hear me singin' to the people who don't listen
To the things that I am sayin', prayin' someone's gonna hear
And I guess I'll die explainin' how the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changin', hopin' someone's gonna care
I was born a lonely singer, and I'm bound to die the same
But I've got to feed the hunger in my soul
And if I never have a nickle, I won't ever die ashamed
'Cause I don't believe that no-one wants to know


This song by Kris Kristofferson from 1970 is a dedication to Johnny Cash during a time when he was fighting the demons of drugs and alcohol. A powerful and meaningful story with lyrics and poetry worth 3 minutes of your time.

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