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Sully's Pail


Capo 2nd fret A D A I've a thing or two to tell ya that I think you ought to know, E About that rusty bucket Sully carries down below. A D A You're not the first one stranger, that has laughed at Sully's Pail; E7 A You're the only one that's laughin' now, the rest has heard this tale.

Sure, when we was young and handsome, had some ten years in the game,
Old Sull he had a partner, and Jim Riley was his name.
They had knocked about together - Bingham, Butte and Coeur d'Alene,
And they brawled in every barroom from Ely to Fort McLean.

Now me and old Ted Johnson, sure you'll not remember him,
We was workin' at the Rarus, had a stope with Sull and Jim.
The four of us together, we was workin' side-by-side,
That's how come I chanced to be there on the night Jim Riley died.

Well, the blastin' had been easy, it was comin' out like sand,
And we was muckin' out the ore, those days we mucked by hand.
And we was nearly finished, and I hadn't heard a sound,
But something must've happened, for Jim Riley yelled, "Bad ground!"

When we headed for the timberin', Sully must've took a spill,
For when we looked back in there, he was pinned beneath his drill.
The ceiling - it was groanin' now - all set to drop the lid,
And Sully, pinned beneath his drill, was sobbin' like a kid.

Well, there's men can watch their partners die, not throw their lives away,
But Riley wasn't one of them, he wasn't built that way.
As soon's he's seen what happened, "Hey, hold on there, Sull!" he cried,
And before he had the words out, he had thrown the drill aside.

They come around the ore car, Riley wearin' a big grin.
Guess he never knew what happened when the hangin' wall caved in.
Sully reached the timberin', his face as white as chalk,
And Riley, two yards back of him, caught fifteen tons of rock.

That day Sully's pail was buried, he ate from Riley's pail in tears,
And he's carried that same bucket now for more than twenty years.
So you can laugh at Sull because he's mean and drinks a lot,
But don't laugh at Sully's bucket, that's the only friend he's got.

(Words and music by Dick Gibbons, 1961)

Notes: The version released on the 1965 album Ain't That News was sung a cappella in the key of G, but when Tom performs the song live, he often plays a muffled strumming pattern in the key of B.


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