Waiting Around To Die - the Be Good Tanyas
Bittersweet. Very bitter and not so sweet. Canadian band the Be Good Tanyas' haunting rendering of Townes Van Zandt's song of despair and depression serves in my mind as the soundtrack for the tragic events unfolding in the so-called Biblical lands of the Middle East. Biblical, one supposes, in an Old Testament sense, rather than the "love thy neighbour as thyself " or "turn the other cheek" sense of the New. Biblical also in terms of geography and history. Definitely geography and history.
This is a song about the bad side of social and economic poverty, an unforgiving world where the narrator feels there is no hope, no love, no future. It seems weird to sing along, but it helps.
"Sometimes I don't know where this dirty road is taking me
sometimes I don't know the reason why
so I guess I'll keep gamblin'
lots of booze and lots of ramblin'
it's easier than just waitin' around to die.
Well one-time friends I had a Ma
I even had a Pa
he beat her with a belt once cause she cried
she told him to take care of me
she headed down to Tennessee
well it's easier than just a-waitin' around to die.
Then I came of age and found a girl
in a Tuscaloosa bar
she cleaned me out and she hit it on the sly
well I tried to kill the pain
I bought some wine I hopped a train
well it's easier than just waitin' around to die.
Then a friend said he knew where some easy money was
we robbed a man and brother did we fly
but the posse caught up with me and they
drug me back to Muskogee
now it's two long years, waitin' around to die.
Now I'm out of prison
I got me a friend at last
and he don't steal or cheat or drink or lie
his name is Codeine
and he's the nicest thing I've seen
and together we're gonna wait around to die."