SHADES  OF  GRAY
Written by Robert Earl Keen
Performed by Robert Earl Keen
We made Oklahoma a little after 3
Randy, his brother Bob and my old GMC
We had some moonshine whisky
And some of Bob's homegrown
We were so messed up we didn't know
If we were drunk or stoned
Randy was a sad-sack, tall kinda frail
Bob was a raving maniac, crazy in the head
They been kicked out of high school
Several years ago
For pushin over port-a-cans
At the 4-H rodeo
Since then they've done their little dance
Right outside the law
Popped twice in Oklahoma,
Once in Arkansas
And I don't know what possessed me
To want to tag along
Cause I was raised a Christian
And I knew right from wrong

CHORUS:
Right or wrong, black or white
Cross the line your gonna pay
In the dawn before the light
Live and die by the shades of gray

We stole two Charolais heifers from
Randy's sweetheart's paw
Sold them at the livestock sale
Outside of Wichita
We got 900 dollars 
And never did suspect
The world of hurt we'd be in
Once we cashed that check
Next day we heard the story
On the local radio
Made our plans that very night
To go to Mexico
I swear we would have made it
If it wasn't for that shine
I got sick about the time we crossed
That Kansas line

CHORUS


I was layin in the bar ditch
Prayin I would die
When a light come on above us
And a voice come from the sky
A half a dozen unmarked cars
Came screeching to a halt
They grabbed Bob, he started screamin
It was all my fault

There were men and dogs
And helicopter buzzin all around
They had the brothers on the
Pickup hood and me down on the ground
Bob flew all to pieces
But Randy he held tight
When a black man in a suit and tie
Stepped out into the light
He told his men to turn us loose
They put down their guns
He said these are just some
Sorry kids, they ain't the ones

CHORUS

They left us by the roadside
Down hearted and alone
Randy got behind the wheel
Said boys I'm going home
We turned around to face our fate
Downhearted but alive
On that mornin in late April,
Oklahoma, 1995 .

CHORUS
This song really makes me appreciate the Internet.  I was living in El Paso, and driving in to work, when this song came on the radio and caught my attention.  The chorus is catchy and easy-to-remember, and when I got home that evening, I was able to search for the lyrics, and so discovered Robert Earl Keen.  I went on Morpheus, and listened to several other songs by him, and liked what I heard, and bought Picnic.  I now own about 5 REK CD's.
I picked this song for this week to complement last week's Shades of Grey by Billy Joel.  There is black and white, innocence and evil, but most of the day-to-day choices we make are not so clearcut.  But the cumulative effect of many misdemeanors or petty crimes or even failures to do good may be to live one's entire life in shadows.

I think the message of this song is that 3 young men, when confronted with true evil, faced up to their bad choices, and decided to get back onto the straight and narrow. 
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