It was my birthday a few weeks ago and my girlfriend bought me a copy of Cake's "B-Sides and Rarities". It has a handful of covers, one of them "Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town".

I was a pleasant surprise to hear it, because I've heard it covered before by The Killers on Sawdust, and I liked the song. I thought about it again today and went and listened to The Killers' version, as well as the version that made it popular, Kenny Rogers'.

The melody is a nice tune that I can carry with me. It was probably 7 years ago that I listened to Sawdust (I never actually owned the album), and I can still recognize it easily.

It was listening through the lyrics today that I decided to write about it. I like the way a lot of songs sound, but when the song also has some wonderful lyrics, I feel compelled to write about it somewhere, just so I don't forget. Or so I can stumble upon it later and remember.

The song is basically this: the singer is a survivor of the Korean (or Vietnam) War, and he's bedridden or paralyzed as a result of it. His wife has done herself up to go out for a night on the town, and he's asking her, begging her not to. It's assumed that when she goes out, she cheats on him.

The shadow on the wall, tells me the sun is going down

I love this line, because it conjures up an image of a man who can't actually see the sun setting. He has to infer that it's setting, based on its shadow. It's such a strong lyric that I immediately pictured a man in bed, who's window offers him very little view.


But Ruby, I still need some company

It's hard to love a man, whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and needs of a woman of your age
Ruby I realize
It won't be long, I've heard them say, until I'm not around,
Oh Ruby, don't take your love to town

The singer knows that it's hard to be with him. He's empathic and can understand her perspective. But at the same time, he's asking "Can't you at least wait until I die before you go see other men?"

He says this like he knows he doesn't have much time left. My heart really empathizes with him.

Lovely song.