The Winner – Bobby Bare – Song of the Day

by Tony Shea on October 14, 2014

in CARPE DIEM, MUSIC, Song of the Day

babbby bare the winner

Just because Bobby Bare is f&*king awesome. This song is one of those hilarious country gems that will save your life. This song sits on the same shelf as “Bad LeRoy Brown” and “A Boy Named Sue” by Jim Croce and Johnny Cash respectively. But unlike those great artists, you can still see Bobby Bare when he plays the Grand Ole Opry in November in support of his new album and in recognition of his recent induction into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2013. In the meantime, here’s a song from his 1976 album Winners and Other Losers which is absolutely brilliant piece of short form story-telling.

The hulk of a man with a beer in his hand, he looked like a drunk old fool
And I knew if I hit him right, why, I could knock him off of that stool
But everybody they said watch out, hey, that’s the Tiger Man McCool
He’s had the whole lotta fights and he’s always come out winner
Yeah, he’s a winner.

But I had myself about five too many and I walked up tall and proud
I faced his back and I faced the fact that he had never stooped or bowed
I said, Tiger Man you’re a pussycat and a hush fell on the crowd
I said, let’s you and me go outside and see who’s the winner.

Well, he gripped the bar with one big hairy hand then he braced against the wall
He slowly looked up from his beer, my God that man was tall
He said, boy, I see you’re a scrapper so just before you fall
I’m gonna tell you just a little ’bout what it means to be a winner.

He said now you see these bright white smilin’ teeth. you know they ain’t my own
Mine rolled away like Chicklets down the street in San Antone
But I left that person cursin’, nursin’ seven broken bones
And he only broke ah three of mine, that makes me the winner.

He said, now behind this grin I got a steel pin that holds my jaw in place
A trophy of my most successful motorcycle race
And each morning when I wake and touch this scar across my face
It reminds me of all I got by bein’ a winner.

Now this broken back was the dyin’ act of a handsome Harry Clay
That sticky Cincinnati night I stole his wife away
But that woman she gets uglier and she gets meaner every day
But I got her boy, that’s what makes me a winner.

He said, you gotta speak loud when you challenge me son,
‘Cause it’s hard for me to hear
With this twisted neck and these migraine pains and this big ole cauliflower ear
And if it wasn’t for this glass eye of mine, why, I’d shed a happy tear
To think of all that you gonna get by bein’ a winner.

I got arthritic elbows boy, I got dislocated knees
From pickin’ fights with thunderstorms and chargin’ into trees
And my nose been broke so often I might lose if I sneeze
And son, you say you still wanna be a winner?

Now you remind me a lotta my younger days,
With your knuckles a clenchin’ white
But boy I’m gonna sit right here and sip this beer all night
And if there’s somethin’ that you gotta gain to prove by winnin’ some silly fight
Well okay, I quit, I lose, you’re the winner.

So I stumbled from that barroom, not so tall and not so proud
And behind me I still hear the hoots of laughter of the crowd
But my eyes still see and my nose still works and my teeth’re still in my mouth
And you know I guess that makes me the winner…

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Tony Shea ( Editor-in-Chief, New York)

Tony Shea is based in New York, having recently moved from Los Angeles after more than a decade on the sunny coast. His short films have won numerous awards and screened at major festivals around the world including Comic-Con. As a musician, he is the lead singer for Los Angeles rock n’ roll band Candygram For Mongo (C4M) who has been a featured artist on Clear Channel Radio’s Discover New Music Program and whose songs have been heard on Battlestar Gallactica (Syfy Channel) and Unhitched (Fox) among other shows and films.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

earthdog70 October 16, 2014 at 10:36 am

Good story-looks like he has paid his dues over the years.

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