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Johnny Cash
"To Beat The Devil" lyrics

To Beat The Devil

It was winter time in Nashville
Down on music city row
And I was looking for a place
To get myself out of the cold

To warm the frozen feeling
That was eating at my soul
And keep the chilly wind
Off me and my guitar

Well, my thirsty wanted whisky
And my hungry needed beans
But it'd been of month of paydays
Since I'd heard that eagle scream

So with a stomach full of empty
And a pocket full of dreams
I left my pride
And stepped inside a bar

Actually, I guess
You'd call it a tavern
Cigarette smoke to the ceiling
Sawdust on the floor
Friendly shadows

Well, I saw that there was just one old man
That was sitting at the bar
And in the mirror I could see him
Checking me and my guitar

And he turned and he said
"Come up here, boy
And show us what you are"
I said, "I'm dry"
He bought me a beer

Then he nodded at my guitar
And he said, "It's a tough life, ain't it?"
I just looked at him and he said
"You ain't making any money, are you?"

I said, "You've been reading my mail"
He just smiled and said
"Let me see that guitar
I've got something you oughta hear"
Then he laid it on my ear

"If you waste your time a talking
To the people who don't listen
To the things that you are saying
Who do you think's gonna hear?

And if you should die explaining
How the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing
Who do you think's gonna care?

There were other lonely singers
In a world turned deaf and blind
Who were crucified
For what they tried to show

And their voices have been scattered
By the swirling winds of time
For the truth remains
That no one wants to know"

Well, the old man was a stranger
But I'd heard his song before
Back when failure had me locked out
On the wrong side of the door

When no one stood behind me
But my shadow on the floor
And lonesome
Was more than a state of mind

You see the devil
Haunts a hungry man
And if you don't wanna join him
Well, you got to beat him

I ain't saying I beat the devil
But I drank his beer for nothing
And then I stole his song

And you still can hear me singing
To the people who don't listen
To the things that I am saying
Praying someone's gonna hear

And I guess I'll die explaining
How the things that they complain about
Are things they could be changing
Hoping someone's gonna care

I was born a lonely singer
And I'm bound to die the same
But I've got to feed
The hunger in my soul

And if I never have a nickle
I won't ever die ashamed
Cause I don't believe
That no one wants to know

Authors: Kris Kristofferson