Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Gambler's Wisdom

Most recent jam session with the NFUs Band, one of the songs we played was "The Gambler," written by Don Schlitz, and sung worth a Grammy by Kenny Rogers. 

Have to pause for an aside: Kenny Rogers. Here's a guy with a checkered musical past. He started out singing doo-wop, then got into a jazz trio, then rock, folk, and country, sometimes all on the same album. Who among the hippie culture could forget The First Edition's classic, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition my Condition Was In)? Mickey Newbury's LSD song? Not me.

And as a caution against too much plastic surgery, Kenny looks as if you could bounce quarters off his eyes ...

You gotta watch this (and you will cringe no matter what your age ...)

Um. Back to "The Gambler." Aside from spawning like, five bad TV movies, it was one of a handful of  #1 songs Rogers had consecutively on the country charts, though it only made it to #16 on the pop charts.

It is one of those story-songs, and not at all cheerful, at least insofar as what the story is. Has a nice beat, though. Basically, it's how a down-on-his-luck young man meets an old gambler on a train "bound for nowhere," and after giving the old gambler his last slug of whiskey and cigarette, gets some advice -- whereupon the gambler falls into a drunken sleep and dies.

Here's the chorus:

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.

Upon reflection, not bad advice ...

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