July 7, 2009

The Bloody Ballad of Soapy Smith


The Bloody Ballad of Notorious Bad Man
Soapy Smith’s Wretched and Violent Demise

by Ed Parrish © 2008


Ed Parrish, poet, singer, scoundrel and member of Friends 0f Bad Man Soapy Smith posted this video today on YouTube for the 111th anniversary of Soapy's death at the Gunfight on Juneau Wharf. It is the first song that describes Jesse Murphy as the true killer of Soapy Smith. Thank you Ed!

The lyrics

Alaska in the Gold Rush days, where life was cheap and thin,

Such desperate times were perfect times for brutal, desperate men.

In Skagway, Soapy’s grifter mob left many miners broke,

And if you weren’t a gambler, they’d just rob you of your poke.


(Refrain)

With a pistol in his pocket and a rifle in his hands,

Soapy went alone to fight the vigilante band.

To shoot a few and chase the rest into the icy bay,

They’d wish they’d never messed with Soapy Smith of old Skagway.


Where your life ain’t worth a sawbuck, and your end is just ahead,

And the only law comes from your guns in a lightning hail of lead,

Soapy was the boss man. He ran old Skagway’s crime,

’Til the outlaws got together and said Soapy’s out of time.


With bad men cheating bad men, they’re going to spill bad blood.

They’re outlaws taking trips to hell down through Alaska’s mud.

The Skagway vigilantes couldn’t make him run away,

Soapy came straight at them to chase them into the bay.


(Refrain)

With a pistol in his pocket and a rifle in his hands,

Soapy went alone to fight the vigilante band.

To shoot a few and chase the rest into the icy bay,

They’d wish they’d never messed with Soapy Smith of old Skagway.


The bullets started flying a’twixt Soapy Smith and Reid,

Until they both lay on the wharf, and there they both did bleed.

Then Jesse Murphy turned ol’ Soapy’s lever gun around,

And blew out Soapy’s heart as he lay helpless on the ground.


When the shooting stopped and cordite clouds thinned out enough to see,

Soapy went to boot hill, with the grifters’ guard, Frank Reid.

Nobody mourned old Soapy when they sent him off to hell.

Skagway wouldn’t miss him, not so’s anyone could tell.


(Final Refrain)

Bold as brass and full of fire, there in the midnight sun,

Soapy went straight at the mob, though he was only one.

He’s waiting in the pits of hell now with his guns in hand,

He’ll hunt them through eternity – that vigilante band.

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