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Big John And The Mandolin

it was a Tuesday afternoon and Shay was at the bar
and I was with a friend or two, you know how they are
the pints were fine and quiet, conversation running thin
when Big John came in through the door with a stolen mandolin

now we all knew each other, by namesake and trade
and everybody knew how everybody else got paid
“check this out” says Big John with a swagger in his sound
“brand new mandolin, cost ya thirty pounds”

now, me I wasn’t so inclined so I passed it on the fly
but one out of the other two says “I’ll give it a try
but thirty pounds is a bit too much, right now I’m kinda tight”
says Big John “Shay’ll loan it to you – ain’t that right?”

we all looked up where Big John stood so high above our heads
they said he’d kill a deer with his bare hands to keep his family fed
his reputation far and wide was known throughout the town
and there never was a law could keep Big John jailed down

the whole world held its breath and teetered for a fall
for in this bandit’s lair we were bandits one and all
and Shay, he was nobody’s fool, he could thank his lucky stars
he opened up the till and put the money on the bar

Big John took the money and he left the way he came
and the other took the mandolin, though I will not call him by his name
and we all had another drink to toast the afternoon
for all our lives were music and music had to have a tune

now I know you disapprove, I know you feel it in disgust
but I also know that you weren’t there ’cause there was no one there but us
and morality is fleeting when it comes to right and wrong
so I’ll just let it go at that and sing another song