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Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town--My Favourite Sad Song, Sung by Kenny Rogers (Who Died on 20th March 2020)

I was a teenager when rock and roll came out, and not being allowed to play "that disgusting music" at home made me more keen! Still keen.

Every Time I Hear This Song, It Makes Me Feel Emotional

I don't understand why it pulls my heartstrings to such an extent -

Is it the words, is it the music, is it the desperation in Kenny Roger's voice, or is it a combination of all three?

I know not. I just know it brings tears to my eyes, and a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. Now that's what I call songwriting.

It was actually written by Mel Tillis and was first released in 1966; the famous version with Kenny Rogers and the First Edition came out in 1969. The writer was actually referring to World War II, but this was not mentioned in the wording, and people took it to refer to the war in Vietnam.

This is my Original 45 rpm Record of Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town--It's 50 Years Old

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition on Reprise Label

Kenny Rogers and The First Edition on Reprise Label

The song gives a very visual picture, and, as the words come tumbling out, each time I hear it, I see this brave and struggling Vietnam War veteran, sitting in his wheelchair, desperate to keep his beloved Ruby's love, and as he watches her doing up her makeup to go out, he begs her not to leave him. He is fully aware of his limitations and knows he can no longer satisfy her needs, but he is afraid of being abandoned and losing his lover and feels completely impotent.

I feel every one of those emotions, and it tears my heart. What sort of idiot must I be, that it affects me so profoundly? I'm not a war veteran, I didn't support that war, I've never been in this situation, and I'm not a man, so what is it?

I'll tell you what it is - this song, Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town, has very powerful empathy, and Kenny Rodgers and the band knew just how to play it with maximum feeling and effect. The Vietnam War is over, but all round the world there are still wounded soldiers coming home, traumatized by the horrors of war, and suffering, and this song is for each and every one of them.

Here Are the Words to the Lyrics, Which Were Written by Mel Tillis

Sometimes, as I put on my lipstick and smarten up to go out and meet friends, the words of the first verse flow through my mind. The whole situation must be so awful and the husband so desperate and lonely as he senses impending doom.

Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town

You've painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby, are you contemplating going out somewhere?
The shadow on the wall tells me the sun is going down
Oh, Ruby,
Don't take your love to town

It wasn't me that started that old crazy Asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes, it's true that I'm not the man I used to be
Oh, Ruby,
I still need some company

It's hard to love a man whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and the needs of a woman your age, Ruby, I realize
But it won't be long I've heard them say until I'm not around
Oh, Ruby,
Don't take your love to town

She's leaving now 'cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way I know I've heard it slam one hundred times before
And if I could move I'd get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh, Ruby,
Don't take your love to town

Oh, Ruby,
for God's sakes turn around

(c) Mel Tillis

I Don't Know What the Younger Generation Think of This Song

Being over fifty years old, the record came out well before the time when Millennials and beyond would have sat and mooned over it.

It isn't Dance Music or Club Music but Country and Western.

However. I think Ruby is probably famous enough to be high on the list of best Country and Western music ever. There's many a good tune played on an old fiddle.

Sadly, Kenny Rogers Passed Away in 2020

He was born on August 21, 1938 (a few month before me) and died peacefully from natural causes in a hospice in March 20, 2020 at the age of 81.

You Can Listen to Kenny Rogers Singing Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town on The Video Below

There are numerous versions on YouTube, but this is the one that I prefer, mainly because, out of the many live versions, this is the one where his voice sounds most like the one on my record. This one was put on YouTube 11 years ago

Kenny Rogers With The First Edition Sings Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town--Youtube Video Viewed by Over 5 Million People

Broken Hearted

Here's a Poll - Let's See What Everyone Thinks:

© 2014 Diana Grant

Do Leave a Comment--Did it Bring Back Any Old Memories?

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on March 24, 2020:

Yes, I love that too - "promise my son not to do the things I've - done walk away from trouble when you can".

And Lucille is lovely too - "it's a fine time to leave me Lucille"

RoadMonkey on March 22, 2020:

Great song. I also love Coward of the County.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on May 19, 2015:

Yes, I suppose the idea is the same, but I just think Ruby is a better tune

Dan Harmon from Boise, Idaho on March 31, 2015:

Whenever I hear this, I also think of "Lucille", also by Kenny. I don't know which I like better.

DebMartin on February 12, 2014:

Yes. Love the song, love the man.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 12, 2014:

@Brite-Ideas: Thanks, I was so pleased!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on February 12, 2014:

Just stopping by to congratulate you for review of the day as well :)

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 11, 2014:

@Gypzeerose: You can tell by the date the song came out - 1969

Rose Jones on February 11, 2014:

Thanks for the sweet review. I didn't realize the song was about a Vietnam vet - I guess I never listened to it, just caught the tune.

Charito Maranan-Montecillo from Manila, Philippines on February 10, 2014:

My favorite Kenny Rogers hit is "What About Me" with James Ingram and Kim Carnes.

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 10, 2014:

@Carol Houle: I don't know any of those, but maybe if I heard them I would recognize them.

Carol Houle from Montreal on February 10, 2014:

My favorite song by Kenny (& the First Edition) is "Something's Burning". I always wished it was longer.

My sad Kenny Rogers song is "She Believes in Me". Being married to a traveling man seems difficult. Being married to a musician is harder still. My top SAD song from that era is "Reflections of My Life" by Marmalade. Rips me up, throws me down and kicks me out!

Diana Grant (author) from United Kingdom on February 10, 2014:

@Brite-Ideas: Thank you so much!

Susan Zutautas from Ontario, Canada on February 10, 2014:

Love "Ruby Don't Take Your Love to Town"

Merry Citarella from Oregon's Southern Coast on February 10, 2014:

Your description is excellent. I hadn't thought of it for awhile but thinking about it while reading tightens my heart (how's that for an odd description). Great lens on a great song.

Ruthi on February 10, 2014:

It is nice to know I am not the only one who is so deeply affected by this song. Kenny Rogers hits right at the heart with Ruby.

tonyleather on February 10, 2014:

A fantastic song by a legendary singer! Thanks!

Barbara Tremblay Cipak from Toronto, Canada on February 09, 2014:

wonderful review - will promote in all my usual places :), thank you!

Susan Deppner from Arkansas USA on February 09, 2014:

Kenny Rogers does amazing things with his voice. Great song!

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