What Lewis Did Last

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The smoke from the battlefield drifted away
As Corporal J. Lewis deserted the fray
He ran from the bullets, evaded arrest
He told his companions I must get my rest
He told his companions I dream every night
The faces of men I've dispatched in the fight
Their shades will approach me as I lie so still
They offer their hand but they wish me no ill
They're shaking their heads now at something they know
For there is another who still haunts me so

Her name was Naomi, her life it was brief
She was plain, she was homely and destined for grief
She coveted riches, believed in my prize
She fell to her end, in the water she lies
There were no farewell kisses, no tender embrace
She was guilty of something beyond avarice
She entered the waters and down she did flow
But they gathered her up and it troubles me

It's not the account of her pitiful death
It's not her last pleading for her final breath
But when I consider how she once beseeched me
Her face has no features, her tongue has no speech
So I'm here to tell you what Lewis did last
Ahead of the firing squad and trumpet blast
He broke through the glass for a lock of her hair
He dug up her grave but the coffin was bare

What Lewis Did Last
Words byElvis Costello
Music byTraditional (arranged by Elvis Costello)
Performed byElvis Costello
Produced byT Bone Burnett
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, Martin acoustic guitar
T Bone Burnett - Kay electric guitar
Dennis Crouch - bass
Stuart Duncan - fiddle
Jerry Douglas - dobro
Mike Compton - mandolin
Jim Lauderdale - harmony vocal
RecordedMarch 31-April 2, 2008, Sound Emporium Studio, Nashville
AlbumsSecret, Profane & Sugarcane, 2009 (bonus track on vinyl, Japan CD, iTunes Europe/Amazon US pre-orders)
NoteThis track is available as a standalone download from Amazon US.

First known performance:
April 25, 2001, Los Angeles, CA
Last known performance:
April 27, 2007, Wilkesboro, NC
     (6 known performances)

Alternate versions

Ommie Wise Part 2 (What Lewis Did Last...) (Live 2001)
Performed byKate & Anna McGarrigle with Elvis Costello
Produced byAnthony Marinelli
MusiciansElvis Costello - vocal, acoustic guitar
Kate McGarrigle - background vocal
Anna McGarrigle - background vocal
Bill Frisell - acoustic guitar
Joel Zifkin - fiddle
RecordedApril 26, 2001, Royce Hall, Los Angeles, CA
Various Artists collectionsThe Harry Smith Project: Anthology Of American Folk Music Revisited, 2006

Secret, Profane & SugarcaneSecret Profane And Sugarcane album cover medium.jpg

The Harry Smith Project: Anthology Of American Folk Music RevisitedHSP album cover small.jpg


no known covers

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