Dirty Larry

“This is a song about a friend who got in trouble, not so much because he enjoyed cocaine but he just loved the way that it smelled.”

-Introduction from a performance on 5 Mar 1994

They invoked the Virgin Mary,
Then they buried Dirty Larry
’Neath the blanket of a February fall.
But they never did explain why
Larry left with such an awful smile

But I got my sad suspicions
’Bout his chemical condition,
His subtraction by addition on the wall.
He killed a lot of little soldiers,
And they didn’t fall in a single file.

I saw his kindergarten teacher,
Cousin Ed and Mrs. Beecher,
And some creatures that I will not mention here.
And they all talked about the shame,
But no one mentioned much about surprise.

I tried to comfort his old mother,
Small talk with his little brother,
But we just stared at one another, feelin’ queer.
I sat an hour with his widow,
Catchin’ daggers from her ebony eyes.

In ’79, when we were both seventeen,
It was me and Larry
Hangin’ ’round the Pepsi machine,
We was lean and we was mean,
Leapin’ buildings in a single bound.
Cigarettes droopin’ from some stupid-ass grins,
We got too high to ever notice
That the air was gettin’ thin.
Now half the “Twins of Sin”
Are sittin’ six feet in the cold, cold ground.

I hear that once he found religion,
Flew as straight as any pigeon,
’Til they locked him in a dungeon to clear his brain.
They tried to fill his head with sense,
But it was in and out, just open and closed.

Then his cranium got crowded,
All deluded by Dilaudid,
And his outlook got all clouded by cocaine.
And when it came to Christ or crystal,
Jesus lost the battle by a nose.

But for the grace of God I’m thinkin’,
About the reckless driven drinkin’,
All the blood shed but in restless, foolish fun.
I hear my father tell me life
Should be protected from the ignorant death.

And so I’m standin’ over Larry
This cold, sober February
With the bitter tune I carry ’til I’m done
‘Cause when you’re wasted, Lord, you’re wasted,
And I’ll sing it to my burying breath.

repeat chorus


“Dirty Larry” appears on Ghost Stories From Lonesome County and Live at the Pres House.

© and ℗ 1994, 2001 Marques Bovre