You'll Never Leave London Alive

The title and inspiration for this song happens in a weird roundabout way. I'm a big Elmore Leonard fan, and love the books featuring U.S. Marshall Raylan Givens. I'm also a big fan of the show "Justified", a series based on that character and set in the dying mining town of Harlan, KY. In one episode there is a song called "You'll Never Leave Harlan Alive", written by Darrell Scott. It's a great tune, and it talks about the woes of living in a town like Harlan, and the depressing nature of life. The problem was that the title of the song sent my brain in fanciful directions, imagining a big bad guy threatening the hero that he would never leave a place alive. I decided to write a song set the song in London with a sort of Irish "Gimme Three Steps" direction. One final note. I like to make allusions to classic pub tunes in my music. In this song, the protagonist mentions he goes to a pub and that the "whole bleedin' thing had caught fire". This is a reference to "The Old Dun Cow". I hope you enjoy the lyrics, as I typically sing them so fast I fear that people don't understand everything I'm saying! - Whiplash

She’s a fine lookin’ lass, all me mates said

As she made her way ‘cross the bar

Plump where ya want her and thin where ya don’t

With legs that went down oh so far


I arranged for a drink to be sent on her way

And thickened my fine Irish brogue

It was London in spring and if we knew one thing

English girls loved a stout northern rogue


Well we got on to talkin’, she was was twirlin’ her hair

Me hand gave her thigh a stroke

But me luck was for naught as I was tossed from me stool

By the largest of British blokes


I’m Big John he said and this woman’s all mine

As I made for the door with a cry

Run if you dare, but have ya a care

You’ll never leave London alive



He said there are ships in the Thames, filled with my men

There are lads out in Leicester square

In every alley you’ll find good friends of mine

With blades so sharp and so fair

If it’s the main roads ya seek to slither out in peace

Well the Bobbies all work on my dime

You defiled my lass I swear on your ass

You’ll never leave London alive


I had angered, through no fault of me own

A man of great rage and ire

And when I arrived at the inn I was stayin’

The whole bleedin’ thing had caught fire


Me mates followed soon with word of me fate

As the inn collapsed from the heat

The girl I desired was the mistress well hired

Of the bloodiest man on the streets




His thugs were nearin’ in as a hand grabbed my coat

And dragged me away with great haste

Was the pretty Colleen, cause of my troubles

The reason I was being chased


I’ve a weakness she said, arriving at her house

For the warmth of a Paddy’s caress

So she stripped me gentle and made love to me rough

And I escaped to Dublin in her dress