Whitey Morgan Talks His Cover Version Of 'Waitin' 'Round to Die'
The song appears on Morgan's new album Sonic Ranch (the best album of his career so far, by the way), and between the painful lyrics, the crying steel guitar and Morgan's deep, whiskey-soaked voice, it very well might leave you doubled over for the rest of the day.
The song starts out where a lot of 'rambling man' stories begin. "Sometimes I don't know where this dirty road is taking me," Morgan sings, "sometimes I can't even see the reason why." But quickly, we realize we're heading down not just a path filled with "lots of booze and lots of ramblin'" but also a restless energy that borders on death-wish territory. Our hero had a hard childhood, sure, but as an adult things don't get easier. He meets a woman but gets robbed, kills the pain with more booze, hooks up with a bad-news "friend," does a little robbery of his own and, finally, winds up in prison where spends "two long years, just a-waitin' 'round to die."
It's a darkly existential tale, and it doesn't exactly end on a high note, either. Our hero, now fresh out of prison, has a new "friend," but "his name's Codeine" and "he's the nicest thing I've seen," so "together we're gonna wait around and die."
Yes, it hurts, and no, you won't soon forget it, but damn if you won't spin it again. The song first appeared on Van Zandt's 1968 debut For the Sake of the Song, then again five years later on his seminal Live at the Old Quarter. On the latter album, he introduces it as "the first serious song I ever wrote." (He also later described it as "blues on blues on blues.") It's still among the late Van Zandt's best-known songs, and it also features prominently in Heartworn Highways, a fantastic documentary about 1970s country artists on the outskirts of the mainstream, including David Allan Coe, Steve Young, Guy Clark and Van Zandt. Read more here.
Radio.com is an official news provider for antiMusic.com.