The Basque
Tom Russell Lyrics

At night his spirit is singing through the cactus tree scrub
That old song of fever and passion of a cowhand crippled by love
A song alight with the sorcerers touch handed down from the past
And there's only one man that could sing it the cowboy that we call the Basque

He'd say lay me down by the river boys facing the hot desert sun
And the wind will scatter my spirit after the coyotes are done

He'd a gap between his teeth that would whistle when he sang, or he snored or he chewed
And he was skilled at braiding reata or cooking his wild shepherd stew
With a goatskin full of his burgundy wine he was armed for the trail or the task
And if matters called for endurance we knew we could count on the Basque

He'd say lay me down...

But the wine began to take over and a bitterness poisoned his tongue
And he'd curse in his sleep at some woman and all of the damage he'd done
With pity we watched his derangements as he conjured a ghost from his past
But none of our words would console him we feared we were losing the Basque

And one night he walked out in the desert and he sang and he moaned all night long
We found the remains two days later after the coyotes were done
In the sand he'd written in Spanish a poem to a Tonapa whore
Who'd taken his love and his money and crippled him deep to the core

So we lay him down by the river facing the hot desert sun
Where the wind would scatter his spirit after the coyotes were done

Contributed by Ryan V. Suggest a correction in the comments below.
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Comments from YouTube:

GinaandJulia Raddatz

Great that somebody finally uploaded this beautiful song to YouTube. Thanks, Robert!!!

JB Tristant

Great song with some truth. Many of those Basque shepherds suffered greatly. Thanks for posting.

Dorion DeMeyer

Great song indeed!

Patrick Murphy


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