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John Longbottom

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I Never Wanted To Play Like Robert Johnson Anyway

I died and didn’t go to heaven, I went to the other place
Where I met the smiling devil standing there, face to face.
She reached out her hand to me and touched me on the chest.
And the seeds she had planted there writhed like vipers in a nest.
She looked at me in the eye and said, “It’s too late, my touch is the curse,
You may as well give up now, the pain will only get far worse.”

I looked back at her and spat more blood into her eye
“You’ll have to do better than that,” I said, “I’m not yet ready to die.”
I turned and ran back looking for the way I came,
I could hear the devil behind me laugh and call out my name.
I grabbed a souvenir tee-shirt that said, Hell Is On The Way.
Then I yelled, “I never wanted to play like Robert Johnson anyway.”

The Devil’s still there lingering like a whore in the night
Leaning on the threshold, half in shadow half in sight.
Her voice is soft and seductive but her eyes are cold as ice,
As she tallies up the reckoning like a bookie adding up the price.
“Why don’t you come on over honey, you know you can’t escape?
You’ve been mine for a long, long time; some would call it fate.”

There’s something about the dark side that wants to draw me in,
I guess the priests would all be out of work if we didn’t like to sin.
I only ever waded in those waters, I never went for a swim
Where the currents sucked you under in a race you could never win.
“Like old George Jones, I made my choices long ago and I’ve paid my dues,
But I think I’ll wait this one out, what’ve I got to lose?”

“And I’ll say it one more time and I’ll say it every day,
I never wanted to play like Robert Johnson anyway.”

July 2019

The idea for this song began in 2018, following a Songwriters’ Night in Atlantic Beach FL. A couple of the performers there were extolling the virtues of Robert Johnson who is generally considered to be “the father of the blues”. Mr. Johnson is also associated with the myth concerning his meeting with the devil at a country crossroads in Mississippi where he sold his soul to play the guitar.

I had the song title which lay fermenting in my mind until those fateful days in ICU where, in that highly sterile environment, the song began to form. I was able to finish it once I got home.

This entry was posted in Songs.
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