The Ballad of Old Scratch

from by Josh Pastor

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The Ballad of Old Scratch

The streetlights flickered
When he walked underneath,
A three-quarter moon
Shining in his teeth.
He was looking for John,
found him drunk on the lawn,
Singing bout how his whole his life gone wrong.
He said "Hey John you could wager and win.
just pick a card, you'll live all over again.
But if you guess wrong you'll be singing a song
Forever and a day upon my front lawn."

A man and his dog
Walking through the fog
tapping on the tracks with his cane all along.
He said "goddam how I wish I could see!"
Well the dog started howling and then there were three.
A man in black pulled a card from the stack.
He threw it on the ground and asked "red or black?"
"Guess accurately and I swear you will see
But if you guess wrong you'll be seeing lots of me."

I met a man in a downtown bar with
Hands full of scars and a gambler's heart.
He built the levees down in New Orleans,
working for a man named Mephistopheles.
He said hey Josh my soul's been lost
But I'll win it back now whatever the cost
Before it's too late I'll tell it to you straight,
and you better listen to every word I say.

He said:


Roll don't you roll
with dice made of bones
Don't play your hand when your hand is known
Don't split the nines on a moonless night
Don't wager with a stranger
When the stars are aligned
Whatever may you do
Don't gamble with the man tonight


from King Snake Motor Blues, released November 12, 2014
Lyrics and Music by Josh Pastor



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Josh Pastor Santa Cruz, California

Formerly the frontman of various hard rock and rockabilly projects, Josh Pastor’s current style is an evocative mix of hoodoo swamp blues and psychedelic rock. His latest release, King Snake Motor Blues, combines smoldering, seething hoodoo blues with poetic lyricism to create an ethereal and transportive vibe. ... more

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