Confession time (kindly hold catcalls, abuse & flying objects until I finish, please): I have never liked the Eagles’ iconic song “Desperado”. Personal opinion, not an attack on their artistry, songwriting, or characters; it just doesn’t move me down in my soul, and that’s all I got t’ say about that.
On the other hand, Guy Clark’s “Desperados Waiting for a Train”, with its gentle story of the friendship between an old man and his young sidekick, always has.
I first heard this 1985 recording by the country “supergroup” the Highwaymen (Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Kris Kristofferson and Willie Nelson) on late night radio. Dark, rainy night; Mom, my sister and I were going home from some event or other at the auditorium of our local junior college. I was sitting in the back seat. Good thing; I was able to hide the tears that began somewhere in the middle of the song and didn’t stop until the last chord was played.
. . .Come on, Jack
That son of a gun’s a-comin’. . .
Like desperados waiting for a train. . .
I’ve always been a sucker for a good story. This song tells a good one.