Wisdom – Country Style

AcesYears ago…when shag carpet was in, stereos with turntables graced every family room, and the “vinyl album” was the only means of playing music…I was at the mercy of my parent’s musical tastes. They pretty much liked a bizarre mix of classical and country. My sister and I preferred the country…we could at least dance to it. We had all the greats…Glenn Campbell and his “Rhinestone Cowboy”, Dolly Parton and her “Jolene”, and what good ol’ country collection is complete without Conway Twitty and his “Tight Fittin’ Jeans”? But there was one song on one album in the collection that my sister and I could never get enough of. I later learned…at that point in high school when it’s cool to admit you like country…that there were quite a few living rooms in town where this song played over and over.

I don’t remember the first time I heard it exactly. Sometime around 1978 when it was released – some 30 years ago. But even to this day, I can sing the words without missing a beat. Of course, back then I never paid any mind to the message behind the lyrics – probably a time when I should have – but now that I’m older they make a heck of a lot of sense. You remember this? Did it play in your living room?

You got to know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you’re sittin’ at the table.
There’ll be time enough for countin’ when the dealin’s done.

Ah yes. You know it! Kenny Rogers’ “The Gambler”.

I played it tonight for my kids – over and over! They loved it just as my sister and I did all those years ago. Funny thing is now I get it. I get the lyrics and they’re pretty damn good – a good deal of wisdom (if you’ll pardon the pun). Now for those of you looking for something deep and profound, you won’t find that here. In country music they say what they mean and they mean what they say! But all in all, it’s a pretty good ditty and seems to have withstood the rigors of time – or at least earned the term “Golden Oldie”. I’m not surprised. If you haven’t heard it or its been a while, have a listen now…I guarantee you won’t be able to help but tap your toe at the very least! And if you’re singing at the top of your lungs in your living room right now, just know that you’re not alone!

The Gambler – Kenny Rogers

Now every gambler knows that the secret to survivin’
Is knowin’ what to throw away and knowin’ what to keep.
’cause evry hand’s a winner and every hand’s a loser,
And the best that you can hope for is to die in your sleep.


12 thoughts on “Wisdom – Country Style

  1. You know what’s so funny. I’ve put together an MP3 CD for the car a couple of years ago. It includes my favorite Rock and some of the classics of Sinatra and others. Not much Country at all. In fact may be only two. She believes in me and…
    The Gambler!
    I just love this song and one way or another I live by it. I won’t have it any other way.


    1. You see, Abufares!! I don’t think I’ve heard of a single person who doesn’t know the song. And out of all those people, anyone who has said they don’t like it!! Its just a classic and yes, words to live by. ๐Ÿ˜€ So glad you dropped by! Thanks for your comment as always.


  2. I found your comment under mine at abufares’ blog, just followed the lead … and came here! You have a really nice blog and if you don’t mind, I’ll put the link to it on my sidebar!

    AND YES … I know and LOVE “The Gambler” !!


    1. Karin, welcome here!! I’ve seen your comments often on Abufares’ blog. Glad you followed the link here. I’ll have to check out yours as well. Thanks for adding me. I’ll do the same for you. Really, who couldn’t love “The Gambler”! ๐Ÿ˜€


  3. I have to confess I didn’t know this song. Or maybe it is the title I don’t know. There are lots of songs I grew up listening to without knowing their titles but siniging them by heart.
    There is a very popular Argentinean cartoon, Mafalda, so well known in every Spanish speaking country. It deals a lot with politics. I used to read it when I was little, but it took me years to fully understand the jokes. So, I just know how you felt when you finally understood this lyrics.
    All the best!


    1. Gabriela, I have the same problem with a lot of old songs too…its just “The Gambler” that I always remember. That’s an interesting story about the cartoon…its so true, eh…it takes some age and experience to appreciate some stuff!! So glad you dropped by.


  4. Between you and abufares I feel like I was born a hundred years too late ๐Ÿ˜›

    The song is awesome, I would definitely have it in my car, though of course as I am young and inexperienced the words don’t mean that much yet!

    I will get back to you in 30 years ahem.


    1. Oh, KJ, don’t get your knickers in a knot! ๐Ÿ˜› I was talking about when I was 9 not 29 (or however old you are)!! Besides everyone knows you know everything when you’re in your 20’s!! Perhaps it just took me longer to mature…

      Thanks for dropping by!! ๐Ÿ˜€


  5. I had to smile at your post on the Gambler – I have a funny story about that song going back to grade 5 (or 6, my memory is going on me!). Our somewhat eccentric (& possibly alcoholic) substitute music teacher taught it & made us sing it in front of all the parents at our school’s spring concert. I too, still remember all the words even though I haven’t heard the song in years!


    1. Pamela, thanks for your comment…what a funny story!! Its amazing what we had to sing for concerts…but that’s the first that I’ve heard that The Gambler was performed!! lol! So glad you dropped by!


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