Smackwater Jack

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About Smackwater Jack

"Smackwater Jack" is a song written by Gerry Goffin and Carole King. It was first released on King's 1971 album Tapestry and then on the second single from that album, along with "So Far Away", charting at number 14 on the Billboard Hot 100. It was subsequently covered by many artists, most famously by Quincy Jones as the title song of his 1971 album Smackwater Jack. Rolling Stone critic Jon Landau described "Smackwater Jack" as an "uptempo shuffle". Its lyrics tell the story of a confrontation between the outlaw Smackwater Jack and Big Jim the Chief. In this way it differs from the other songs on Tapestry, which are more personal and based on expressing emotions. Billboard ranked both sides of the "So Far Away"/"Smackwater Jack" single together on the Billboard Hot 100. The single peaked at number 14. 


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Now, Smackwater Jack
He bought a shotgun
'Cause he was in the mood
For a little confrontation
He just a-let it all hang loose
He didn't think about the noose
He couldn't take no more abuse
So he shot down the congregation

You can't talk to a man
With a shotgun in his hand

Now, Big Jim the chief
Stood for law and order
He called for the guard to come
And surround the border
Now, from his bulldog mouth
As he led the posse south
Came the cry, "We got to ride
To clean up the streets
For our wives and our daughters" (oh, no no)

You can't talk to a man
When he don't wanna understand
No, no, no, no, no, no

The account of the capture
Wasn't in the papers
But you know, they hanged ol' Smack right then
Instead of later
You know, the people were quite pleased
'Cause the outlaw had been seized
And on the whole, it was a very good year
For the undertaker

You know, you know, you can't talk to a man
With a shotgun in his hand
A shotgun in his hand
(Smackwater Jack, yeah)
Smackwater Jack bought a shotgun
Yeah, Smackwater Jack bought a shotgun
Oh, Smackwater Jack, yeah
(Smackwater Jack, yeah)
Talkin' 'bout Smackwater Jack, yeah
(Ooh, and his shotgun)
Talkin' 'bout a-Smackwater Jack, now
(Ooh, talkin' 'bout Jack and his shotgun)
(Talkin' 'bout Smack)
(Talkin' 'bout Jack)
(Smackwater Jack, yeah)

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Carole King

Carole King (born February 9, 1942) is an American singer, songwriter, and pianist. King and her former husband Gerry Goffin wrote more than two dozen chart hits for numerous artists during the 1960s, many of which have become standards. As a singer, her Tapestry album topped the U.S. album chart for 15 weeks in 1971, and remained on the charts for more than six years. more »

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Written by: Carole King, Gerry Goffin

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC

Lyrics Licensed & Provided by LyricFind

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"Smackwater Jack Lyrics." STANDS4 LLC, 2020. Web. 11 Aug. 2020. <>.

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Smackwater Jack

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