By Nem W. Schlecht

In March of 2006, Brian and I were hanging out at the Turf and he asked me to use my Google-foo (or some site I had mentioned in my podcast for getting song lyrics) to try to figure out the lyrics to one of his long-time favorite songs – “Of Thee I Sing” by Leon Russell.  His comment, specifically:

p.s. “of thee I sing” is a remarkable tune in that, if you play it back to back, in a loop, it is almost seamless. You can listen to it for hours.

I assume he made this comment from actual experience.  If you are unfamiliar, take a listen below.  Leon is energetic and although he doesn’t necessarily mumble, neither does he enunciate.

It actually took me months (October 2006 – I admit, I probably initially forgot all about his request), but eventually I e-mailed him lyrics I had found.  However, neither Brian nor I agreed with what I found!  The lyrics had “Got” instead of “Brought” in the 2nd line and “stained” instead of “strained” near the end.  We adjusted them and went with what I have here.

I must have listened to this song at least 30-40 times trying to figure out what the heck Leon is saying – I’m sure Brian listened to it many more times than that!

As an update, I just now (May 2020) searched for these lyrics again and found a much more reliable/accurate source and I see that Brian and I were both correct with our version.  So, the mystery was solved and Leon sings on…

Leon Russell – Of Thee I Sing (Lyrics)

Hung up in a Pennsylvania mining town
Brought down to Boston in time for tea
I don’t know exactly just what’s going down
I better hang around until I see

With beauty like a knife, She cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something ugly and sore
With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something strange- and more

Don’t bomb the inn I’m on holiday
But Oklahoma’s just a jet away
And the blood is on the books in Ohio
So badly strained what can I say

With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something ugly and sore
With beauty like a knife, she cuts me even more
She changes right before my eyes into something strange- and more

 

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