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Coward of the County
Kenny Rogers

Lyrics

Everyone considered him the coward of the county.
He never stood one single time, to prove the county wrong.
His mama named him Tommy, the folks just called him 'yellow.'
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong.
He was only ten years old, when his daddy died in prison.
I looked after Tommy, 'cause he was my brother's son.
I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy:
'Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun.'
Promise me son not to do the things I've done.
Walk away from trouble if you can.
Now it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek.
I hope you're old enough to understand.
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man.'
There's someone for everyone, and Tommy's love was Becky.
In her arms, he didn't have to prove he was a man.
One day, while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling.
They took turns with Becky...
and there was three of them.
Tommy opened up the door, and saw his Becky crying.
The torn dress, the shattered look, was more than he could stand.
He reached above the fireplace, and took down his daddy's picture.
As his tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again.
'Promise me son, not to do the things I've done.
Walk away from trouble if you can.
Now it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek.
I hope you're old enough to understand.
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man.'
The Gatlin boys just laughed at him, when he walked into the barroom.
One of them got up and met him half way 'cross the floor.
When Tommy turned around, they said:
'hey look, old yellow's leaving.'
But you could have heard a pin drop,
when Tommy stopped and locked the door.
Twenty years of crawlin' was bottled up inside him.
He wasn't holdin' nothin' back, he let 'em have it all.
When Tommy left the barroom, not a Gatlin boy was standing.
He said 'this one's for Becky,'
as he watched the last one fall.
And I heard him say.
'I promised you Dad, not to do the things you've done.
I walk away from trouble when I can.
Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek.
And Papa, I sure hope you understand.
Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man.'
Everyone considered him the coward of the county.

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