The Outlaws, ‘Gunsmoke’ – Lyrics Uncovered
The lyrics to the Outlaws hit 'Gunsmoke' were a bit of a departure for the band's frontman Henry Paul. Paul co-wrote the tune along with fellow Outlaw, Monte Yoho, for their 1977 'Hurry Sundown' album.
"'Gunsmoke' was an attempt on my part to write a song in character with the Outlaws musical image," Paul tells Ultimate Classic Rock. "I'm proud of the imagery I was able to create and thought it was one of my better songs for the Outlaws at that time."
"Some will lose their nerve tonight / And others lose their lives / A flash of fire in the fight / A cold look in my eyes / Passing judgment in the streets / Where justice is revealed / I deal with darkness ruthlessly / And love the way it feels," they wrote in the opening lyrics to the song.
"It set a first person theme and cast the singer as a hard case, more or less, underlining my attitude and my role in the band," notes Paul.
"Hear the roaring of the gun / Death before the fear / Gunsmoke on the setting sun / You know the end is near," the band sings in the chorus.
"The chorus simply underscores the results of the verses," Paul explains.
"There's a shadow on my life / It's colder than the night / A chilling silence in the air / A gilded stream of light / Is dancing madly from the bar room / Where whiskey blinds my eyes / Lady luck is lonely now / Her streak has been denied," the song continues.
"Here again," says Paul, "By staying in first person, I was able to draw on personal experience and paint a rather desperate picture that mirrored my reality."
"I can hear your painful cry / It lets me know your there / You're trying hard to stop me / When you know I just don't care / Another moment on your own / A life shot full of holes / A blanket moves to close you in / To calm your restless soul," the song concludes.
"I was basically turning a cold shoulder on the results of my action," Paul says. "And in a sense, editorializing on my own life's dilemma."
Watch The Outlaws Perform 'Gunsmoke'