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Those other years, the dusty years we drove the big herse through
I tried to forget the miles we rode and Spanish Johnny too
He'd sit beside a water ditch when all this herd was in
And he'd never harm a child but sing to his mandolin.
The old talk, the old ways, and the dealin' of our game
But Spanish Johnny never spoke, but sing a song of Spain
And his talk with men was vicious talk when he was drunk on gin
Ah, but those were golden things he said to his mandolin.
We had to stand, we tried to judge, we had to stop him then
For the hand so gentle to a child had killed so many men
He died a hard death long ago before the road come in
And the night before he swung he sung to his mandolin.
Well, we carried him out in the mornin' sun, a man that done no good
And we lowered him down in the cold clay, stuck in a cross of wood
And a letter we wrote to his kinfolk to tell them where he'd been
And we shipped it out to Mexico, along with his mandolin...