Poncho and Lefty


I am, I confess with some embarrassment, a Willie Nelson fan.  And yes, I’m referring to the guy shown just above.  I don’t think I was ever aware of the clean-cut Willie Nelson who evidently preceded him.

Sure.  He’s got his issues.  Tax evasion and a perpetual haze among them.  But he’s written and performed a lot of good songs, enjoyable ballads, in his time.  Here are a couple of stanzas, about treachery, from one of them:


Lefty, he can’t sing the blues

All night long like he used to:

The dust that Poncho bit down south

Ended up in Lefty’s mouth.

The day they laid poor Poncho low,

Lefty split for Ohio.

Where he got the bread to go

There ain’t nobody knows.


The poets tell how Poncho fell

And Lefty’s living in cheap motels.

The desert’s quiet;

Cleveland’s cold.

So the story ends, we’re told.

Poncho needs your prayers, it’s true.

But save a few for Lefty, too.

He only did “what he had to do”

. . . But now he’s growing old.


To cite a lyric from quite a different songwriter:  “Tale as old as time, true as it can be.”



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  • Lucy Mcgee

    Another interesting before and after would be Ken Curtis (Festus) of Gunsmoke fame who once sang in the Tommy Dorsey Band (replacing Frank Sinatra) and then singing with the Son’s of the Pioneers.

  • Ted Fullerton

    Actually, Willy did not write that song, (Poncho and Lefty), it was written by Townes Van Zandt. a brilliant songwriter who wrote many great songs, but died of self inflicted causes, lived the troubled life of an alcoholic. I saw him perform in a small club in Atlanta decades ago….. also I immediately thought of you when I heard the story about George Zimmer.