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Casey’s Last Ride continues to enthrall and delight Kris’ fans. American songwriting icon, Tom Ghent, described this work as a “sweet tragedy written in the style of an old Anglican ballad”, Illene told us how it impacted her (below). It could have been written anytime, though certainly not by anyone. Kris’ fans can be tough, opinionated individuals yet this early song features in many favourite lists. It’s back in the spotlight. Anita shared this video from PBS.
I want you to notice how effectively he uses his voice, even that early in the game. He turned what would have seemed to be a liability — a craggy, raspy voice (which had surprising power and nuance) into an asset — a voice that was distinctively Kris Kristofferson. I wouldn’t trade that raspy, honey-flowing-over-gravel, voice for all the George Joneses in the world. – Anita Lay
Casey’s Last Ride – High quality video featured on PBSThis great quality footage comes from Kris’ early years, likely from the same time Artbound Presents Studio A – KCET in the 1970s was taped.
AS I LISTENED TO THIS SONG, I REALIZED THAT THIS IS THE SONG THAT MADE ME TAKE NOTICE OF THIS MAN THAT I’D NEVER HEARD OF BEFORE. I HEARD OTHERS SING FOR THE GOOD TIMES, SUNDAY MORNING COMING DOWN AND BOBBY MCGEE BUT DIDN’T KNOW WHO WROTE THEM. I WAS DRAWN TO LISTEN TO THAT SONG AND PLAYED IT NUMEROUS TIMES. THE WORDS AND ALL THOSE METAPHORS – I REALISED WHOEVER WROTE THAT SONG WAS A GENIUS. THEN, I LEARNED IT WAS KRIS KRISTOFFERSON, AND I WAS HOOKED AND NOW LISTEN TO EVERY WORD HE SINGS AND WRITES. GENIUS AND EASY TO LOOK AT. KRIS KRISTOFFERSON DOES HAVE IT ALL. KRIS KRISTOFFERSON DOES HAVE IT ALL.
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Casey’s last ride is interpreted differently at all stages of our lives. Think. of it: The passionate love that can never last a lifetime that comes before marriage, after a divorce, entering middle age, and during seniorhood. This song is profound. I would say one of the most brilliant analogies ever – Lita Gidge Macasieb Wilcox
Once I heard “Help me make it through the Night “…. I was hooked from then on. His voice is mesmerizing, & he himself oozes charisma. Even as he ages (gracefully), he still has that certain charm that endears him to everyone. No one sings the songs he writes like The Man Himself – Joy Robins
His songs are stories. Anyone can sing them. He is the only one that can bring you into the story with him by way of his perfectly, purposeful lyrical nuances. – Amy Baldwin West
No hate, I thought the song was about a dog until he drank a pint of bitters 🙂 – Patricia Sherwood Chance
Carson Annett Adds …
Always considered Casey, Duvalier, and Darby (my nicknames), as 3 of his strongest lyrics, with Jody and Silver Tongued Devil honourably mentioned in the same breath – Then again, I can start a new list with almost ANY of his tunes ….. I have nicknames for every song by the way – Bobby, Pilgrim, Girl, Nowhere, Easy Lovin’, Jesse, Billy……on and on…
Tom Ghent – the Final Word
The final word must go to Tom. “To me, this song has always been such a sweet tragedy, written in the style of an old Anglican ballad. Love it….a real gem.”
Casey’s Last Ride – Lyrics
Casey joins the hollow sound of silent people walking down
The stairway to the subway in the shadows down below;
Following their footsteps through the neon-darkened corridors
Of silent desperation, never speakin’ to a soul.
The poison air he’s breathin’ has the dirty smell of dying
‘Cause it’s never seen the sunshine and it’s never felt the rain.
But Casey minds the arrows and ignores the fatal echoes
Of the clickin’ of the turnstiles and the rattle of his chains.
“Oh!” she said. “Casey it’s been so long since I’ve seen you!”
“Here,” she said, “just a kiss to make a body smile. See …,” she said. “I’ve put on new stockings just to please you. Lord…,” she said. “Casey, can you only stay a while?”
Casey leaves the underground and stops inside the Golden Crown
For something wet to wipe away the chill that’s on his bone.
Seeing his reflection in the lives of all the lonely men
Who reach for anything they can to keep from goin’ home.
Standin’ in the corner Casey drinks his pint of bitter
Never glancing in the mirror at the people passing by
Then he stumbles as he’s leaving, and he wonders if the reason
Is the beer that’s in his belly, or the tear that’s in his eye.
“Oh!” she said. “I suppose you seldom think about me.
“Now…,” she said, “now that you’ve a family of your own.
“Still…,” she said, “it’s so blessed good to feel your body –
‘Lord…,” she said. “Casey, it’s a shame to be alone.”
Kathy McGovern shared this version of the song with our Fan Group – Willie joins Kris
Song is one of my top five favorites. Nice to see and hear Willie join Kris. Wonderful harmony.Rita Dudley Gren