Song Lyric Sunday: Spanish Train

I couldn’t resist participating when I read this week’s prompt for Song Lyric Sunday :  Trains. Immediately, Chris de Burgh’s “Spanish Train” started playing in my head. It’s more than just a song – the imagery of the Devil and the Lord playing poker for the souls of the dead created by de Burgh’s delivery is like a play that unfolds in your mind. Listen and enjoy!

There’s a Spanish train that runs between
Guadalquivir and old Saville
And at dead of night the whistle blows
And people hear she’s running still

And then they hush their children back to sleep
Lock the doors, upstairs they creep
For it is said that the souls of the dead
Fill that train ten thousand deep

Well a railwayman lay dying with his people by his side
His family were crying, knelt in prayer before he died
But above his bed just a waiting for the dead
Was the Devil with a twinkle in his eye
Well God’s not around and look what I’ve found, this one’s mine

Just then the Lord himself appeared in a blinding flash of light
And shouted at the Devil, get thee hence to endless night
But the Devil just grinned and said I may have sinned
But there’s no need to push me around
I got him first so you can do your worst
He’s going underground

But I think I’ll give you one more chance
Said the Devil with a smile
So throw away that stupid lance
It’s really not your style
Joker is the name, poker is the game
We’ll play right here on this bed
And then we’ll bet for the biggest stakes yet
The souls of the dead

And I said look out, Lord, He’s going to win
The sun is down and the night is riding in
That train is dead on time, many souls are on the line
Oh Lord, He’s going to win

Well the railwayman he cut the cards
And he dealt them each a hand of five
And for the Lord, he was praying hard
Or that train he’d have to drive
Well the Devil he had three aces and a king
And the Lord, he was running for a straight
He had the queen and the knave and nine and ten of spades
All he needed was the eight

And then the Lord he called for one more card
But he drew the diamond eight
And the Devil said to the son of God
I believe you’ve got it straight
So deal me one for the time has come
To see who’ll be the king of this place
But as he spoke, from beneath his cloak
He slipped another ace

Ten thousand souls was the opening bid
And it soon went up to fifty nine
But the Lord didn’t see what the Devil did
And he said that suits me fine
I’ll raise you high to a hundred and five
And forever put an end to your sins
But the Devil let out a mighty shout, my hand wins

And I said Lord, oh Lord, you let him win
The sun is down and the night is riding in
That train is dead on time, many souls are on the line
Oh Lord, don’t let him win

Well that Spanish train still runs between
Guadalquivir and old Saville
And at dead of night the whistle blows
And people fear she’s running still

And far away in some recess
The Lord and the Devil are now playing chess
The Devil still cheats and wins more souls
And as for the Lord, well, he’s just doing his best

And I said Lord, oh Lord, you’ve got to win
The sun is down and the night is riding in
That train is still on time, oh my soul is on the line
Oh Lord, you’ve got to win

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Chris De Burgh
Spanish Train lyrics © BMG Rights Management

SoCS – April 27: Express yourself

Written for Linda G. Hill’s Stream of Consciousness Saturday (SoCS) prompt for April 27th” This week’s prompt is:  xp.

Well, this week’s prompt sent me on a wild goose chase across the internet in search of a song whose lyrics included the words “Express yourself”.  I could hear the song in my head but couldn’t for the life of me put my finger on the title or artist.  I thought it might be by Sly and the Family Stone, so I googled the words “express yourself” with the band name. I got a whole list of entries for Charlie Wright, who wrote a song called “Express Yourself”.  I clicked on a video, listened for a few seconds then clicked out. Nope. That wasn’t it. Madonna’s song by the same title also popped up, but I knew that wasn’t it.

Now it was driving me crazy. I could hear the song  and the back up singers crooning in my head: “Express yourself, na, na, na, na, na, na, na.”  Do you know which song I mean? I tried googling combinations of “Express yourself song”, “Express yourself song lyrics”, “Express yourself lyrics”.  Nothing!  Why couldn’t I find it? Then it dawned on me – maybe I had the lyrics wrong.

I was pretty sure the word “yourself” was right, but maybe it wasn’t paired with “Express”.  So, I wasn’t hopeful but I just googled “…  yourself, na, na, na, na” and guess what?  I found it!  Isn’t the Internet a wonderful thing?  The title and lyrics are actually “Respect Yourself” by the Staple Singers. After all that, I took a few minutes to listen and enjoy it and am including a link to it here for your listening pleasure.

Soundtrack to Heartbreak Part 2


Connor pursued me fiercely and persistently. As flattering as it was, I wasn’t interested in him in that way at first. I eventually agreed to go out with him because he wore me down. And, if I’m completely honest, because I was tired of being alone when almost everyone I knew was in a relationship. I should have known better. I should have BEEN better.

He was a great guy – generous and loyal to a fault. But he attached himself to me too quickly and held on too hard, and I didn’t know what to do with that. He loved my family too and tried to make a place for himself within it. His intentions were pure; he didn’t have a manipulative bone in his body. He bought my mother a gift for Mother’s Day and he once bought my father a fancy wine jug when he found out he was making elderberry wine. My Dad was just puttering around, though. He rarely drank and he certainly didn’t know what to do with the gift so it became an exotic knickknack in the living room.

Connor’s own family was complicated. His mother was a sweet lady who at times wandered through life listening to voices no one else could hear. Other times she was a shadow of herself because of the medication to keep the voices at bay.  She had 7 children from 3 different men. When I met Connor, three of her children, including him, were already living on their own; two were in foster care and the youngest two were living with their mother in a small, dark apartment.

Connor was a small, wiry man with a physical strength it was easy to underestimate. He was also one of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He didn’t go to college and instead took a job in a local restaurant. I think it was something he felt he had to do because a fair amount of his earnings went to his Mom. The novelty of having money made him more generous with everyone he cared about too. He bought gifts often and liberally for many of the people in his life, including me. One of the most memorable was the Madman Across the Water album by Elton John.  I loved that album and listened to it over and over again. It’s only now that I realize that it was so dark.

Inevitably, things began to sour between us. I began to distance myself and, in response, he just came on stronger. He called all the time or turned up wherever I went, even if we weren’t supposed to see each other that day. I know, it sounds like he was stalking me, but he wasn’t and I was never afraid. It was the only way he knew to show his love. Then it got hard to look at him or think about him without feeling irritated. I didn’t like who I had become in this relationship and I knew I had to end it.

I expected him to be hurt; what I didn’t foresee was how distraught I would be at being the one causing that hurt. I went home and listened to Madman Across the Water in the darkness of my bedroom and cried all night long. Over and over again, I heard Elton John sing about Tiny Dancer, Levon and Razor Face and, of course the Madman himself. The pain was physical. Every time I thought about the hurt in Connor’s eyes, I felt a spasm grip my stomach and squeeze hard. The weight and guilt of having caused someone pain felt unbearable but I thought it was a punishment I had earned.

I guess the old adage “Time heals all things” is true. We both went our own ways but always stayed connected through our friends. Later in life, Connor became a strange character – a rough, semi-recluse –  but you only had to scratch the surface to see the soft, generous person with the big heart beneath. I think that big heart was his downfall. Twelve years ago next month, Connor passed away of a heart attack in his sleep.

I can’t listen to Madman Across the Water anymore; I find it too depressing. And wherever he is, I hope Connor is listening to something uplifting and that he loves and is loved by someone who deserves him.