Brother Jim

By Allen D. Bailey

©1997 Hedgepost music BMI


Me and Jim, my brother, worked the old Lakota mine, and panned for gold along the Colorado for a time,

Two young men of vision came out West to find our dreams, as wild as this unsettled land, and restless as it's streams;

We wound up punchin cattle in the Fall of '65 from El Paso to Dodge City on the dusty Bar X drive, never dreaming that our story soon would end, for me and Jim.


We were paid in silver dollars and we went out on the town to find a little whiskey and to wash the trail dust down,

We had no way of knowing, on that dark and faithful night, in that same bar was an outlaw who was looking for a fight;

What was said between them, through the noise I couldn't hear, but I saw the outlaw draw his gun, I saw my brother's fear, and he left him dying on the saw dust floor, my Brother Jim.


As I knelt there beside him and I held him to my chest, I could feel his life escaping him with every labored breath,

Uncaring and unfeeling, the outlaw walked away, another notch upon his gun, another killing day.

But I swore to Jim before he died, I'd find that man someday, and for the things he did that night, I'd lay him in his grave; then suddenly he died there in my arms, my Brother Jim.


I practiced every day 'till I got faster on the draw, my friends began to fear me for the hatred that they saw,

I became obsessed with killing, thought about it way too much, I filed the action on my gun for just the slightest touch,

I honed my skills 'till I became the fastest man around, I could clear the holster with my gun and never make a sound, and each time I drew my gun, I thought of him, my Brother Jim.


I learned all about the outlaw, learned how he played his game, how he got his taste for killing robbing banks and robbing trains,

Some said he was the quickest with a gun they ever saw, but I knew somehow within my heart that I could beat his draw;

Then I heard he was in Wichita, the lower side of town, there I found him at a funeral with his family gathered 'round, as he stepped outside the church, I called to him, for Brother Jim.


He allowed how he was unarmed and unprepared to fight, exactly like my brother when he shot him down that night,

Blinded by the many years of anger in my soul, I became the man that he had been so many years ago;

And as I left him dying there, his brother held his brow, now the law is out to get me, because I'm the outlaw now; but if I could, I'd do it all again for Brother Jim.