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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."


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