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ian tyson – the gift lyrics

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in old st. louis over in missouri
the mighty mississippi, well, it rolls and flows.
a son was born to mary russell
and it starts the legend every cowboy knows.

young kid russell was born to wander.
ever westward he was bound to roam,
just a kid of sixteen in 1880.
up in wild montana he found his home.

god made montana for the wild man,
for the piegan and the sioux and crow,
saved his greatest gift for charlie,
said, “get her all down before she goes.
you gotta get her all down
‘cause she’s bound to go.”

god hung the stars over judith basin.
god put the magic in young charlie’s hands.
and all was seen and all remembered,
every shining mountain, every longh-rn brand.

he could paint the light on horsehide shining,
the great p-ssing herds of the buffalo,
and a cow camp cold on a rainy morning,
and the twisting wrist of the houlihan throw.

god made montana for the wild man,
for the piegan and the sioux and crow,
saved his greatest gift for charlie,
said, “get her all down before she goes.
you gotta get her all down
‘cause she’s bound to go.”

when the lord called charlie to his home up yonder
he said, “kid russell, i got a job for you.
you’re in charge of sunsets up in old montana
‘cause i can’t paint them quite as good as you,
and when you’re done, we’ll go out and have a few,
and nancy russell will make sure it’s just two.”

god made montana for the wild man,
for the piegan and the sioux and crow,
saved his greatest gift for charlie,
said, “get her all down before she goes.
you gotta get her all down
‘cause she’s bound to go.”


- ian tyson lyrics

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