Coward of the County

Kenny Rogers

Now available: Listen to the songs from the Acoustic Binder on my Spotify Playlist!
Print Twitter Facebook Email
C                           F              C
Everyone considered him the coward of the county
     C                                               G
He'd never stood one single time to prove the county wrong
    C                        F                     C
His mama named him Tommy but folks just called him Yellow
C                                  G             C
Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong
C                                  F             C
He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison
C                                               G
I looked after Tommy 'cause he was my brother's son
  C                               F               C
I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy
 C                        G                C
"Son, my life is over but yours has just begun"

C                       F                  C
Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done
F              C               G
Walk away from trouble, if you can
     C                                F              C
Now, it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
  C                F             G
I hope you're old enough to understand
     G                               C
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man

        C#                        F#               C#
There's someone for everyone, and Tommy's love was Becky
C#                                           G#
In her arms he didn't have to prove he was a man
    C#                            F#               C#
One day while he was working, the Gatlin boys came calling
C#                      G#                      C#
They took turns at Becky and there was three of them
C#                           F#            C#
Tommy opened up the door and saw his Becky crying
    C#                                                    G#
The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand
   C#                                   F#               C#
He reached above the fireplace and took down his daddy's picture
       C#                                 G#                 C#
As his tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again,

C#                      F#                 C#
Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done
F#             C#              G#
Walk away from trouble, if you can
     C#                               F#             C#
Now, it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek
  C#               F#            G#
I hope you're old enough to understand
     G#                              C#
Son, you don't have to fight to be a man

    D                                       G               D
The Gatlin boys just laughed at him when he walked into the bar room
D                                                  A
One of them got up and met him half way 'cross the floor
     D                                   G                  D
When Tommy turned around they said, "Hey look, old Yellow's leaving"
D                                             A                      D
 But you could've heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and locked the door
D                            G            D
Twenty years of crawling was bottled up inside him
   D                                               A
He wasn't holding nothing back, he let 'em have it all
     D                              G              D
When Tommy left the bar room, not a Gatlin boy was standing
   D                                   A                    D
He said, "This one's for Becky," as he watched the last one fall. And I heard him say,

  D                         G                    D
I promised you, Dad, not to do the things you've done
  G              D              A
I walk away from trouble when I can
    D                                     G              D
Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek
     D            G             A
And, Papa, I sure hope you understand:
    A                                   D
Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man

D                           G                    D
Everyone considered him the coward of the county