Home » Archived Playlists » Celebrate Life » Broken Down Cowboy – John Fogerty
I was trying to describe the complexity of life in an interview a while ago…I didn’t do very well. Truth be told, I’m not even sure why life is so complex. To be fair, I suppose for some it’s more complex than for others. For me it’s always been rather complex.
If I close my eyes for a while and think about who I was when I left home at twenty and began my journey into true adulthood, I can only come to one conclusion: I was a very different person from the one I am today. For starters, I was all in one piece. LOL. My experience has been that life wears you down little by little. This is usually due to the hardships we encounter but also sadly to a large extent, our relationships. I have always marvelled at the irony of that. The very thing that could be our biggest source of energy and happiness, too often turns into the very thing that sucks the life out of us.
Our track of the week, John Fogerty’s "Broken Down Cowboy" is a song that does a good job describing the state of mind that follows from enduring too many disappointments. It also trumpets what is perhaps the greatest tragedy of all: reoccurring and constant disappointments will turn you into a person you wouldn’t recommend to anybody.
If I was a gambling manNever would've let you play your handWith a broken down cowboy like me'Cause you never can trust your luckHe's bad news in a pick-up truckThat broken down cowboy like meHe's played every card he’s gotHad a good hand but he messed it upWith that bum around tumble down heartSaddle bags full of painCarries 'em around just like a middle nameA losing streak waiting for dark
If I was a gambling man
Never would've let you play your hand
With a broken down cowboy like me
'Cause you never can trust your luck
He's bad news in a pick-up truck
That broken down cowboy like me
He's played every card he’s got
Had a good hand but he messed it up
With that bum around tumble down heart
Saddle bags full of pain
Carries 'em around just like a middle name
A losing streak waiting for dark
The song is classic Fogerty: beautiful, poignant, stripped down to the very basics and heartfelt. "Broken Down Cowboy" came out in 2007 but it could have easily been on CCR's Green River. It’s every bit as good and powerful as anything this man ever wrote for his former band. Give it a spin and listen to John’s fantastic vocal delivery and his signature guitar licks. For any Creedence fan, it doesn’t really get much better than this.
The topic the song deals with is much deeper than I thought in 2007 as a much younger man. Back then, the words made me smile a bit; now I find myself nodding. Such is life: You live and you learn.
I want to close with a question Fogerty touches upon in the lyric. If we break down as people, isn’t it really our responsibility to protect those around us, especially the ones we care about, from all the pain and disappointment we carry around?
It's a tough riding rodeoMean horse threw him long time agoA broken down cowboy like meBut the way I feel about youWouldn't want that horse to hurt you tooA broken down cowboy like me
It's a tough riding rodeo
Mean horse threw him long time ago
A broken down cowboy like me
But the way I feel about you
Wouldn't want that horse to hurt you too
I find myself nodding once again…suppose than means there’s really only one answer to that question.
Tommi Tikka is a linguist, poet, professional songwriter, recording artist and a music aficionado. He started playing guitar when he was four and writing songs when he was six. Consequently, he doesn't remember a time when he wasn't playing or writing. It's fair to say, music and lyrics are not just something he loves to engage himself in. To him, they are a way of life.
You can check out his current band The Impersonators here:
And the music of his previous group Carmen Gray here: Spotify
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