Cisco Houston Web Site

The Songs He Sang

Philadelphia Lawyer (Reno Blues): Lyrics

As performed by Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston

Appears on:
Way out in Reno, Nevada
Where the romances bloom and fades
There was a Philadelphia lawyer
Making love to a Hollywood maid

"Come, love, and we'll go rambling
Down where the lights are so bright
I'll win you a divorce from your husband
And we can get married tonight"

Wild Bill was a gun-totin' cowhand
Ten notches was carved on his gun
And all of the boys around Reno
Left Bill's Hollywood sweetheart alone

One night when Bill was returning
From riding the range in the cold
He thought of his Hollywood sweetheart
Her love was as lasting as gold

As he drew near to her window
Two shadows he saw on her shade
'Twas the great Philadelphia lawyer
Makin' love to Bill's Hollywood maid

The night was as still as the desert
The moon hangin' high overhead
Bill listened a while through the winder
He could hear ev'ry word that they said

"Your hands are so pretty and lovely
Your form is so rare and divine
Come go back with me to Philadelphia
And leave this wild cowboy behind"

Now tonight, back in old Pennsylvania
Amongst her beautiful pines
There's one less Philadelphia lawyer
In old Philadelphia tonight

Of note:

An early lawyer joke, based on a real event, written in 1937. Cisco sings it himself on his Woody LP with nearly the same lyrics, and though he does it much better, this unrehearsed version is still quite amusing. And I love how the actual violence takes place off stage. Just the offending words and the rather blasé final verse.

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