Story Songs: Day Four

Today’s song for your perusal (your ear-use-al? shaddup):

Kenny Rogers, “The Gambler.”

No great commentary on the song — it speaks for itself, and it’s one of those songs (like “On the Road Again” by Willie Nelson) that conjures car trips with my father when I was young.

I will comment, though — what the hell happened to Kenny Rogers?

Plastic surgery? Really, Kenny? You needed that? Did I miss something? Did I miss the memo that demands that aging country music stars maul their faces with plastic surgery? Dude. Sir. You’re not Joan Rivers. You’re not a supermodel. You’re an old dude with a white beard. You’re like, a sexier, thinner Santa Claus, granted, but that doesn’t mean you should go under the butcher’s knife. Except — too late. You did. And now you look really weird.

You gambled, Kenny Rogers. You should’ve known when to hold ‘em, and known when not to let someone… y’know, fold your face with a meat cleaver. Now people don’t just walk away from you. They run.

Sigh.

Anyway.

The Gambler. Lyrics and playable song below. I don’t own this. I don’t… ZZZzzZZZ…

On a warm summer’s evenin’,

On a train bound for nowhere,

I met up with the gambler;

We were both too tired to sleep.

So we took turns a starin’

Out the window at the darkness

‘Til boredom overtook us,

And he began to speak.

He said, “Son, I’ve made my life

Out of readin’ people’s faces,

And knowin’ what their cards were

By the way they held their eyes.

So if you don’t mind my sayin’,

I can see you’re out of aces.

For a taste of your whiskey

I’ll give you some advice.”

So I handed him my bottle

And he drank down my last swallow.

Then he bummed a cigarette

And asked me for a light.

And the night got deathly quiet,

And his face lost all expression.

Said, “If you’re gonna play the game, boy,

You gotta learn to play it right.”

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,

Know when to walk away and know when to run.

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Every gambler knows

That the secret to survivin’

Is knowing what to throw away

And knowing what to keep.

‘Cause every hand’s a winner

And every hand’s a loser,

And the best that you can hope for

Is to die in your sleep.”

When he’d finished speakin’,

He turned back towards the window,

Crushed out his cigarette

And faded off to sleep.

And somewhere in the darkness,

The gambler, he broke even.

But in his final words

I found an ace that I could keep.

You got to know when to hold ‘em, know when to fold ‘em,

Know when to walk away and know when to run.

You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.

There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

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