Écrite sur un air de valse et sur un thème classique des chansons de cowboys, Philadelphia Lawyer est une chanson de Woody Guthrie qui a trouvé des interprètes bien au delà de la scène Folk à proprement parler, et en particulier parmi les artistes de la Country Music.

Il aurait été étonnant que Guthrie ne donne pas un contenu social au fait divers qu’il rapporte. Un grand avocat de Philadelphie, de passage dans l’Ouest, rencontre la femme d’un brave cowboy et la séduit, en lui promettant de l’épouser le soir même après lui avoir obtenu un divorce-éclair. Le cowboy les surprend. Morale de la chanson : « Il y a ce soir un avocat de moins à Philadelphie ».

Philadelphia Lawyer est ici interprétée par Tennessee Ernie Ford, un des pionniers de la musique country.


PHILADELPHIA LAWYER

Way out in Reno, Nevada,
Where romance blooms and fades,
A great Philadelphia lawyer
Was in love with a Hollywood maid.

« Come, love, and we will wander
Out where the lights are bright.
I’ll win you a divorce from your husband,
And we can get married tonight. »

Wild Bill was a gun-totin’ cowboy,
Ten notches were carved on his gun.
And all the boys around Reno
Left Wild Bill’s maiden alone.

One night when he was returning
From ridin’ the range in the cold,
He dreamed of his Hollywood sweetheart,
Her love was as lasting as gold.

As he drew near her window,
A shadow he saw on the shade;
‘Twas the great Philadelphia lawyer
Makin’ love to his Hollywood maid.

The night was as still as the desert,
The moon was bright overhead.
Bill listened awhile to the lawyer,
He could hear ev’ry word that he said:

« Your hands are so pretty and lovely,
Your form’s so rare and divine.
Come go with me to the city
And leave this wild cowboy behind. »

Now back in old Pennsylvania,
Among those beautiful pines,
There’s one less Philadelphia lawyer
In old Philadelphia tonight.