It is my cousin Will T. Massey’s 51st birthday today. Today also marks 3 years to the day since I last heard from him. I hope he is doing well and, will one day wander back into my world.
Meanwhile, I keep him fresh in my mind by listening to and sharing his music. Will originally recorded today’s selection, “The Poolroom,” for his first cassette, Pickin’, Poker, and Pickup Trucks, self-released while he was still in high school. The song was recently re-released on the 2016 compilation, Will T. Massey: 30 Years in the Rearview. This tune , the earliest on the album, seems particularly appropriate to the compilation’s title.
Well, the boys’d come bustin’ in
With the cigars and the beer,
Willie was on the radio,
Singing the blues.
And we’ll all raise a glass to the Texas flag.
Take on the world with a beat-up cue.
That Coke machine we stole
Kept the Lone Star cold
And a rusty gas heater warmed our backsides.
And there weren’t no cops or teachers
Or parents to be the judge.
Just the dollars on the table
And boots full of pride.
And when we stumbled out the door
Under that Angelo moon
We’d leave all our troubles
In the poolroom.
Well, Matt was always talking
About running off to the hills.
J.M. was drinking rum,
Mumbling about his latest girl.
Lettie was always cussin’ ‘bout bucks,
How he never had enough.
And I was just dreaming
About touring the world.
And the day finally came
Matt left to find his trail,
J.M. finally bought him a golden band.
And I wrote one more song,
Drove off to chase a hit,
Lettie landed a job as a ranch hand.
And four drunk prophets
Parted way too soon…
In a summer sunset,
We left the poolroom.
We said good-bye to the black & white
With John Wayne on the door.
Good-bye to the beer cans
And tobacco stains on the floor.
Good-bye to the laughter and tears
And the brotherhood in-between…
And as we walked away from our refuge,
We said good-bye to our teens.
Now we all got bills to pay
And not much time to play.
Some of us have sons of our own.
And we’ve seen some dreams come true,
And we’ve lived a lot of blues
And I know sometimes
We all dream of going home.
And, Lord, what I’d give
For one more high school year,
Just to shoot a rack with the boys
In the poolroom…
That’s where we left the best times —
In the poolroom.