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Saratoga Billy

with his wild electric eyeballs and his cigarette machine
he could play that old guitar like no man you ever seen
he was southern, he was central, he was easy, he was mean
he was Saratoga Billie and they called him Billie Dean

he could sound the strings like silver or a dead man in the shade
and it’s many a lonesome midnight soul that came to where his songs were played
he was a rambler and a gambler and you could not tie him down
as well they do remember in that Saratoga town

one fine day a letter came from the army that did say
“we’d like to make a man of you in the old American way”
so he got all his things together and he road off down the track
but three weeks later Billie Dean was back

he stayed away so very long in trouble deep he grew
and his friends they all got nervous but there was nothing he would do
until one day they found him, he was playing his guitar
they put the handcuffs on him, they took him away in a government car

while working on the highway, on the stockade crew
he saw a car of people that was only passin’ through
he waved an arm to signal, they stopped to let him in
and when the guard turned his head around Billie Dean was gone again

then the army fathers, they all got so mad
at Saratoga Billie who had done bad
they puffed and they sputtered and they almost lost their minds
for in Saratoga country Billie Dean was hard to find

it’s been many years now since I seen him last
and I just ain’t got the time to spend on the past
but sometimes I wonder and sometimes I think
when it’s late in the evenin’ or I’ve had too much to drink

with his wild electric eyeballs and his cigarette machine
he could play that old guitar like no man you ever seen
he was southern, he was central, he was easy, he was mean
he was Saratoga Billie and they called him Billie Dean