OK, so get this.
We wanted to record a creepy song for Halloween and present it as a free download because we love you. We chose “The Cowboy Outlaw” by Brian Dewan because Jill is totally obsessed with him, and he also wrote “Wastepaper Basket Fire” which you’ve probably heard us cover if you’ve seen us live. He also created the interior album artwork for “In The Aeroplane Over the Sea” by Neutral Milk Hotel, if that means anything to you. (It’s one of our favorite albums of all time, no exaggeration.)
So Hurricane Sandy rolled in and made the power at Knappshack Studios all wonky, so we recorded and mixed/mastered it in a rush so we could get it to you before the electricity cut out. We even made a video of us recording it, but YouTube is doing site maintenance right now, so we can’t upload it. (It’s not that exciting anyway, really.)
In order for us to provide our version of this song as a digital download, we had to secure the rights to the song, just like we did for Kiss Off and Major Tom. Once we got that done, all we had left to do was upload it to this here website, write this blog post, and get the word out.
Ji11 was feeling benevolent so she copied/pasted the lyrics below for you, and while she did that, she had Googled to see if Brian Dewan had a video for the song. But instead of finding a video, she saw a Snopes article that mentioned the song. APPARENTLY IT IS BASED ON A TRUE STORY. How cool is that?!? We had no idea. Which makes the song even spookier. Yay!
So… here’s the song, and here are the lyrics. Enjoy! And have a happy and safe Halloween.
To download it, just click the teeeeeeeeeny “down arrow” on the far-right side of the sound widget above. Otherwise you can just listen to it right here on this page.
Mobile users can just click this link:
The Cowboy Outlaw.mp3
The Cowboy Outlaw
by Brian Dewan
From his (freakin’ amazing) album Tells the Story
Gather ’round my children, and I’ll tell a tale of woe
About a famous cowboy outlaw who lived a hundred years ago.
Today his soul at last is resting peacefully in hell
Though many years have passed away since through the gallows-trap he fell.
He was sitting propped up in a chair just after he was hanged
And they photographed his body as a distant churchbell rang.
A circus man was waiting with fifty dollars in his coat
And he bought the cowboy outlaw so he could have him in his show.
And very soon he was embalmed and toured from town to town
People paid to see the outlaw that they’d heard so much about
He stood before them with a pistol against a painted scene
The greatest cowboy outlaw that the world had ever seen
But in time he was forgotten and no one knew his name
And when he began to fall apart they took his booth away
They painted him with varnish and put a crown upon his head
Come and see the king of Egypt said the sign out front instead
And then one year the circus closed, the tents were packed away
And he was sold to an amusement park on Massachusetts Bay
He was sold for next to nothing and they packed him in the van
They thought they’d bought a dummy but they’d really bought a man.
He was sprayed a special color to help him look a fright
And they hung him from a gallows ‘neath an ultra-violet light
He hung there in a spookhouse for many, many years
As youthful faces passed him by in tiny railroad cars
Until one fine and fateful day in 1976
He fell down from the gallows when the hangman’s noose unhitched
His arm broke at the shoulder as he clattered to the floor
And the man who went to fix him was stunned by what he saw
And the teenage boys did holler, and the teenage girls did faint
When they saw the bone protruding from the varnish and the paint
A coroner came to serve him and ran a slew of tests
they found out who he was, in time, and laid his soul to rest
A hundred hears have come and gone since he spoke his final words
I’m not afraid to die and leave behind this rotten world
So go and pull the lever hangman, now my race on Earth is run
And he thought his life was ended but it had only just begun