Hell in Texas

(2006)

"Hell in Texas" is a traditional folk song that has been arranged by American composer Steven Mark Kohn.

Kohn's "Hell in Texas" is contained in the volume American Folk Set, Vol. 3, published by Classical Vocal Reprints (links listed to the right).

Hell in Texas
Traditional (Arr. Steven Mark Kohn)


Oh, the Devil in hell, they say he was chained,
And there for a thousand years he remained.
He never complained, no, nor did he roam,
But decided he'd start up a hell of his own.


He'd start up a hell of his own,
Where he could torment the souls of men
Free from the walls of his prison den.
So he asked the Lord if he had any sand
Left over from making this great land,
Left over from making this land.


The Lord said, "Why, yes! I have plenty on hand.
It's way down South on the Rio Grande.
But, I got to be honest, the stuff is so poor
That I wouldn't use if for hell anymore,
It won't do for hell anymore."


So the Devil went down to look over his truck.
It came as a gift, so he figured he's stuck,
And when he examined it careful and well,
He decided the place was too dry for hell,
The place was too dry for his hell.


Well, the Lord, he just wanted the stuff off his hands,
So he promised the Devil he'd water the land.
He had some old water that wasn't no use,
A rancid old puddle that stunk like the deuce,
I tell you, it stunk like the deuce.


The Lord, he was crafty, the deal was arranged,
He laughed to himself as the deed was exchanged,
But the Devil was ready to go with his plan
To make up a hell, and so he began,
To make up his hell, he began.


He scattered tarantulas over the roads,
Put thorns on the cactus and horns on the toads,
He sprinkled the sand with millions of ants,
So if you sit down, you need soles on your pants.


He put water puppies in all of the lakes,
And under the rocks, he put poisonous snakes,
He mixed all the dust up with jiggers and fleas,
Hung thorns on the brambles and over the trees,
The heat in the summer's a-hundred and ten,
Not bad for the Devil, but way too hot for men.


And after he fixed things so thorny and well,
He said, "Hmm, I'll be damned if this don't beat hell!"
Then he flapped up his wings and away he flew,
And vanished from Earth in a blaze of blue.


So, if you ever end up in Texas,
Let me know if it's true!


Audio PLaylist