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Johnny Cash
 You're here » Music Lyrics Index » C » Johnny Cash » Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (CBS) » To Beat the Devil Lyrics

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Johnny Cash
Album: Hello, I'm Johnny Cash (CBS)
Track: To Beat the Devil

To Beat the Devil Lyrics

(Kris Kristofferson)
© '69 Careers Music, BMI

It was winter time in Nashville down on Music 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
And keep the chilly wind off me and my guitar
Well my thirsty wanted whiskey and my hungry needed beans
But it had been a month of payday since I 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 call it a tavern
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling sawdust on the floor friendly shadows
Well I saw that there was just an old man that was sittin' at the bar
And in the mirror I could see him checkin' me and my guitar
And he turned and he said come up here boy and show us what you are
I said I'm dry he bought me a beer
Then he nodded at my guitar and he said it's a tough life ain't it
I just looked at him and he said you ain't making any money are you
I said you been readin' my mail
He just smiled and said let me see that guitar
I got somethin' you oughta hear then he laid it on my ear
(If you waste your time a talkin' to the people who don't listen
To the things that you are saying who do you thinks gonna hear)
And if you should die explaining how the things that they complain about
Or the things they could be changing who do you thinks gonna care
There were other lonely singers and the 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
For the truth remains that no one wants to know

Well the old man was a stranger but I'd've 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 a devil haunts a hungry man
And if you don't wanna join him well you gotta beat him
I ain't sayin' I beat the devil but I drink his beer for nothin'
And 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 explaining how the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing hoping someone's gonna care
I was born a lonely singer and I'm bound to die the same
But I've gotta feed the hunger in my soul
And if I never have a nickel I won't ever die in shame
Cause I don't believe that no one wants to know

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