1. Had I Known

From the recording Down At The End Of The Bar


Had I Known
By Leo Rondeau

At the age of sixteen I thought I knew everything
I joined with my brother who was already in a ring
Of bandits and thieves of the very worst kind
I can still hear our mother begging us to stay behind
But a boy has to run and a boy has to learn
I found the barrel of a gun around every turn
I kept in my heart it was only self defense
But I’d shoot a man down every time I had a chance

September in Missouri in 1884
I was wild as river and rotten to the core
Running through a stagecoach and running through a bank
Left a terror in my mind every night and every day
We came across a train just ripe for the picking
Get 1500 dollars for every man
With 7 rebels and my brother at my back
I put the dynamite down and I blew it off the track

I cleared the place out top to the bottom
I rounded them up I bound em and shot em
I whistled Dixie as I brandished my gun
I sent them to the makers if they believed in one
We hit the ground running staying off the main road
We were keeping to the trees so nobody know
As quiet as a mouse we were slipping around
In the middle of the night with the rain pouring down

I’d never pull a job and not expect to be chased
And this was no different than any other case
Brand new deputies busting at the seams
To capture an outlaw as dangerous as me
They crept up on us as we coming near a ridge
I’d hate to say I was surprised but you know I really was
In a flash in fury in a sky filled with lead
I took one in the side and watched my brother fall dead

I dug my heels in the dirt with my pistol in my hand
I would meet the devil fighting like a man
We exchanged fire till I shot my last round
I kept on that trigger till they heard the clicking sound

They came down on me and they beat me to the ground
They tied me to horse and they drug me back to town
They drug me through the streets so everyone could see
What happens to a man who was living like me

I’m sitting my cell with the shackles on my legs
Outside they’re building gallows I can hear them pounding nails
I can hear them curse my name as they sank each one
I can hear them test the door that they’d be dropping me from
I can’t help but think about our dear old mother
Who’ll cry like a river when she hears about my brother
Lord I pray now that she never hears the news
That her boy’s lives ended with a bullet and noose

I’d a never left my home had I known had I known had I known