Lyrics for Paul's solo cd Devil In the Grove 

1. Hole in the Jail 

They took me down to the hole in the jail 
Took me down to the hole in the jail 
Blood was flowing from my head 
I thought surely I was dead 
They took me down to the hole in the jail 

They told me, boy, you might as well confess 
Boy, you might as well confess 
You best say what we know's true 
We're just gonna beat you till you do 
Boy, you might as well confess 

The sheriff stood there, never said a word 
The sheriff stood there, never said a word 
Stood there as they broke the law 
Never made a sound at all 
The sheriff stood there, never said a word 

They beat me with a club and rubber hose 
Beat me with a club and rubber hose 
Broke my teeth and striped my back 
Beat me till my bones did crack 
They beat me with a club and rubber hose 

They put my bloody body in a cell 
Put my bloody body in a cell 
Said there was a mob outside 
Said they'd hang me before I was tried 
They put my bloody body in a cell 

2. Devil in the Grove 

They say he's still around 
In the darker parts of town 
He's got a big old Stetson hat 
He wears just like a crown 
The stories tell of how he fought 
To implement the law 
A trumped up charge, a ride to jail 
The cells they never saw 

The ones who gave confessions 
Tangled up in lock and key 
Tried for crimes they'd never done 
Now lost in history 
The ones who never got that far 
Oh, the stories we've been told 
The tales of justice meted out 
By the devil in the grove 

      The devil in the grove 
      Is dancing circles in the rain 
      Upon the graves of those 
      Who cried for mercy, though in vain 
      Chances are we'll never know 
      The number or the names 
      Of the ones who lie beneath the devil 
      Dancing in the rain 

Ms. Padgett, back in '49 
Claimed four men had had their way 
Three black men promptly rounded up 
But a fourth would get away 
Men with guns came piled in cars 
Claiming justice would be found 
The black folks knew to stay alive 
They'd best get out of town 

They say it was a thousand men 
Who answered to the call 
To find the man who got away 
And bring him back to the law 
A posse formed and headed out 
But a judge he's never see 
What once was called the Groveland Four 
Became the Groveland Three 

The sheriff drove two handcuffed men 
Down a dark country road 
He stopped the car to check a tire 
And shot the two men cold 
He claimed they were a threat to him 
Despite their shackled hands 
But one survived to tell the tale 
Heard all across the land 

I heard he kicked a man to death 
Down in the county jail 
He faced the charge of murder 
But the jury surely failed 
In seventy short minutes 
They acquitted in no time 
The devil dancing in the rain 
Unfettered of his crime 

3. When Justice Turned Away 

It was back in 1949 when a storm blew across the land 
Despite the lack of evidence, a witness took the stand 
She claimed it was the four of them that took her on that road 
And left her husband lying there after knocking him out cold 

What happened next remains unclear for this is all we know 
They lady made her way to town and put on a little show 
Before they knew it they were jailed, just for being around 
Four men down in Groveland bore the anger of a town 

     Yeah, it was back in 1949, but the legend lives today 
     It wrecked the lives of all involved when justice turned away 

The trial made its way up north to Mr. Marshall's desk 
He traveled down to Florida to offer them his best 
Some men from town caught up with him and made no idle threat 
But Thurgood Marshall came to town and they'd not soon forget 

Testimony silenced, evidence suppressed 
It seemed the trial was done for but the Marshall wouldn't reast 
It was back in 1949 when a storm blew across the land 
And the Marshall came to town the help the people understand 

4. Seventeen and Twenty-Three 
  
Married young and wild and free 
Seventeen and twenty-three 
She was poor, and so was he 
It was the times 
Daddy told her she could go 
She’d never win, or place, or show 
She was too young to care, too dumb to know 
The reasons why 
  
     Living hard and living mean 
     Twenty-three and seventeen 
     Caught somewhere and in between 
     The way things are and the way they ought to be 
  
Money made was money spent 
Empty left her discontent 
What started out with best intent 
Was just another lie 
A farmer’s daughter far from home 
Spent her evenings all alone 
He was out drinking, she was turning to stone 
But she wouldn’t cry 
  
He never gave a second thought 
To how he’d hurt her when they fought 
Simply doing what he was taught 
And not caring 
Seventeen, she wanted more 
One day she walked out their front door 
Unsure what she was looking for 
Just going anywhere 
   
Married young and wild and free 
Seventeen and twenty-three 
She was poor and so was he 

5. Stuckey Still 
  
Six days I make my living 
Picking fruit near Groveland town 
One night there was a ruckus there 
Some bad things had gone down 
A line of twenty cars or more 
Drove out to Stuckey Still 
And shot up a club called the Blue Flame 
Looking for someone to kill 
  
     It’s a night I still remember 
     And I guess I always will 
     The night they shot the Blue Flame up 
     Over in Stuckey Still 
  
Folks had run off to the swamps 
Into the woods and groves 
All they knew to stay alive 
Was to get out of their homes 
I couldn't leave my kinfolk 
So I waited there behind 
And listened to the gunfire 
That still echoes in my mind 
  
It's funny when I think about 
Where I am each day at dawn 
Working for the same folks 
Who’d had their weapons drawn 
Six days I make my living 
Picking fruit near Groveland town 
I never will forget that night 
When bad things had go down 

6. Ballad of Charlie Wall 

Over in Ybor City 
East of Tampa Bay 
Reigned the king of bolita 
You’d line his pockets when you’d play 
They called him the white shadow 
Charlie Wall was his name 
  
He wore a suit of white linen 
He stood about ten feet tall 
He killed all competition 
And he never did get caught 
For years he had no rivals 
Nobody crossed Charlie Wall 
  
     Charlie’s got the numbers 
     Charlie’s got the balls 
     You want to play bolita 
     You’ve got to pay Charlie Wall 
     He’s the uncontested champion 
     And his rule was the law 
  
His daddy was a doctor 
And he served two years as mayor 
He treated yellow fever 
And was known everywhere 
But Charlie wanted darker things 
He just didn’t care 
  
They say he liked his morphine 
He controlled the ballot box 
And if he had a rival 
Before long he did not 
Over coffee in a restaurant 
Competition was shot 
   
Thought he’d live forever 
Because he was the devil’s own 
But the devil shows no mercy 
When he’s calling in his loans 
One day they found his body 
Somebody’d cut his throat 
  
     Yeah, Charlie got his number 
     Charlie got his ball 
     It seems the king of bolita 
     Was no longer Charlie Wall 
     Seems the uncontested champion 
     Was contested after all 
     Seems the uncontested champion 
     Was no longer Charlie Wall 

7. Dark Days 

There’s dark days behind us 
There’s dark days ahead 
There’s dark days behind us 
There’s dark days ahead 
Dark days are falling 
Soon them boys will be dead 
  
There’s folks speaking angry 
There’s folks screaming hate 
There’s folks speaking angry 
There’s folks screaming hate 
Seems folks are determined 
Them boys are gonna hang 
  
The trial it won't matter 
The trial is rigged 
The trial it won't matter 
The trial is rigged 
The trial's just a pretense 
For the graves they’re gonna dig 
  
The preacher man on Sunday 
The preacher man did say 
The preacher man on Sunday 
The preacher man did say 
That preacher man’s proclaiming 
We’re all heading for judgment day 
  
Lady Justice is tired 
Lady Justice is down 
Lady Justice is tired 
Lady Justice is down 
Lady Justice is leaving 
She’s leaving this old town 
  
There’s dark days behind us 
There’s dark days ahead 
There’s dark days behind us 
There’s dark days ahead 
Dark days are falling 
Soon them boys will be dead 
  
8. Jesus, Come 
  
How I wish I could be 
Someplace else running free 
But here I am in this cell 
Broken down, scared as hell. 
Jesus come and take me home 
Heal my broken weary bones 
Oh how I wish I could be 
Someplace else running free 
  
Man said I will do my time 
I must pay for my crime 
Problem is I don't know 
Why I'm here in this hole 
Jesus come and take me home 
Heal my broken weary bones 
Man said I must do my time 
I will pay for my crime 
  
There's a crowd of folks outside 
They want me to take a ride 
So they can hang me from a tree 
Or shoot me down upon my knees 
Jesus come and take me home 
Heal my broken weary bones 
There's a crowd of folks outside 
They want me to take a ride 

9. Measure Of A Man 

Daddy was a tailor 
He was a smart businessman 
Had a tape around his shoulder 
A piece of chalk in his hand 
He was a complicated fellah 
I’ve only begun to comprehend 
Yeah, Daddy was a tailor 
He was a smart businessman 
  
The day that I turned sixteen 
I asked him to make me a business suit. 
I said, I’m getting up in years now 
And, Daddy, I’m even bigger than you. 
He just turned around at me 
And gently acknowledged that was true. 
Yeah, the day that I turned sixteen 
I asked him to make me a business suit. 
  
He said, Son, it ain’t a business suit 
That’s the measure of a man 
I want to tell you a little something 
I hope you’ll understand 
It’s when you look in the mirror, 
You’re at peace, you can say, amen. 
No, Son, it ain’t a business suit 
That’s the measure of a man. 
   
10. Devil In the Grove Revisited 
  
Some people say some time ago 
Some people had done wrong 
They say the past is in the past 
And that’s where it belongs 
We shouldn’t dig up stories 
And it’s time we realize 
The past is better left alone 
Just let the stories lie 
  
     The devil in the grove is not confined to just one man 
     It’s more about the way we often fail to take a stand 
     Injustice left unanswered breaks the soul of every man 
     The devil in the grove is why we still don’t understand 
  
Today we hear the stories 
Of a dark and sordid past 
The tales of race relations 
And the questions never asked 
We wonder how it happened then 
So very long ago 
And why the people turned away 
Pretending not to know 
  
The story still continues 
Yeah, the legacy lives on 
We’d like to think we’re better 
That it’s time we moved along 
But with prison populations 
And our schools in poverty 
It seems the devil in the grove 
Ain’t lost in history  

11. 1949 
  
I’ve heard tell it was a simpler time 
Way back in 1949 
You could get a burger for a quarter 
You could buy a soda for a dime 
The world war was over and done 
And Truman’s deal was soon to be won 
Yeah, perhaps it was a simpler time 
Back in 1949 
  
Popular culture was in its prime 
Way back in 1949 
Perry Como sang “Some Enchanted Evening” 
RCA put out the first 45 
Hopalong Cassidy was on TV 
Bugs Bunny was on the silver screen 
Yeah, people knew how to have a good time 
Back in 1949 
  
     Yesterday, it seems to me, they were the good old days 
     But I wonder if it really was all that different from today 
  
Looking back, it was a troubled time 
Way back in 1949 
Social justice was still on the horizon 
And slower still way down in Dixieland 
The Russians had the atomic bomb 
Instilling fear in everyone 
Yeah, it would seem it was a troubled time 
Back in 1949

 

ALL SONGS COMPOSED BY PAUL SMITHSON