INDEPENDENCE DAY

It was an Oklahoma sky on the fourth of July
And everyone was at the parade
‘Cept for Pretty Boy Floyd and his boy Roy
Who were trying to earn an honest day’s pay

See Floyd met this feller in a Tulsa gin cellar
Was a teller at the merchant’s bank
Was a real nice guy, look you straight in the eye
He just got loose lips when he drank

So it wasn’t Floyd’s fault that he knew that the vault
Would be full for the very next day
When all of the jerks from the government works
Would be in to get their government pay

Well Roy was an ace at blowing a safe 
And they broke in the bank through the back
It opened all right with a stick of dynamite
And they loaded up their gunny sacks

It was the type of situation you don’t find every day
Floyd and Roy like a couple little boys
Out the back door to make a getaway

Well, Floyd had a girl who was the queen of his world
With a smile from her crooked little mouth
She was a hell of a lover, but she worked undercover
For the Pinkerton boys down south


When they got out the door there must have been more
Than a dozen guns staring them down
And they beat a retreat as fast as their feet
Would let them turn themselves around

Back out the front door to the corner of Fourth
With the Pinkertons hot on their trail
Then they sped like a train to the corner of Main
Where the parade had just set sail

It was the kind of celebration you don’t see everyday
Horses and cars and all the local stars,
The Civil War vets and the fire brigade

People standing on the street just a-tapping their feet
And a-clapping and a-waiving their wands
And the firecracker boys were making more noise
Than the drummers in the high school marching band

Floyd looked at Roy, then the Pinkerton boys
Who were just about a half a block back
He flashed a big grin and reached his hand in
And pulled a fistful of twenties from the gunny sack


Threw ‘em in the sky as the band marched by 
To the great delight of the crowd
And in the melee the boys slipped away
On a freight train headed for another town

It was the type of celebration you don’t see everyday
Floyd and Roy like a couple little boys
Hopping a train to make a getaway
Get away
Get away
 

My grandmother was a dust bowl era Okie. Pretty Boy Floyd was a Robin Hood like folk hero to her, and she kept news clippings that told of his exploits. 

 

Pretty Boy Floyd and Oklahoma are the only two things in this song that are real. The rest is historical fiction.

 

Woody Guthrie wrote a song about Pretty Boy Floyd long before I did, and it helped cement his folk hero status. It's a better song than this one.

In reality Pretty Boy Floyd was a murderous thug, who hated being called "Pretty Boy".

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© 2020 Maple Run

"Old Glory" photo by Chris Stearns, 21mm Photography