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Johnny Cash - Pool Hustler

The Baron Took On The Kid In The Showdown That Could Have Been

By

Johnny Cash - Pool Hustler

Johnny Cash polishes off another 9-Ball

Photo courtesy of Echo Bridge Home Entertainment
Looking for a wistful pool movie without language and with some solid drama punched in? Look no further than The Baron And The Kid starring the legendary Johnny Cash and June Carter Cash, whose love story was immortalized in 2005's Walk The Line. Add ace action star Richard Roundtree, Claude Akins, Tracy Pollan and Darren McGavin, best known for A Christmas Story and you have a fine evening's entertainment with a print of this 1984 classic next to popcorn and drinks at home.

Point of trivia... Cash's longtime pianist, Earl Poole Ball, appears in the film. One of the best monikers for a billiards movie ever! "Poole" has also performed for, produced or recorded with Michael Nesmith of The Monkees, The Byrds, Gram Parsons, Ricky Nelson, Waylon Jennings and countless others. Between "Poole Ball" and "Cash", you know you're in for a hustler's treat, right?

Cash plays true to form, a hard living man who has seen the bottom of too many bottles but has (mostly) repented and seen the error of his ways. He's on a hunt for the son he knows but soon before, never knew he had.

The song lyrics below setup the drama. But they make me wonder. Will we ever see the likes of The Baron again? Likely no, as the Internet and the ease of posting video and photos has all-but obliterated secret identities for road players. A traveling hustler today must also be a master of disguise to get action most anywhere in the world.

[Chorus] I wish I had of known you when you were a little younger 'round me you might have learned a thing or two
If I'd had known you longer you might be a little stronger
Maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do, maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do

As he walked into the poolroom you could tell he didn't fit
In his hand made boots, custom suit, pearl handled shootin' stick
Tonight there'd be a showdown then everyone would know
Who shoots the meanest game around, The Baron or Billy Joe

Billy Joe looked edgy, about to lose his cool
But the Baron's hands were steady as the two began to duel
Yeah, he was like a General on a battlefield of slate
And he would say to Billy Joe each time he sunk the eight, he'd say...

[Chorus] I wish I had of known you when you were a little younger 'round me you might have learned a thing or two
If I'd had known you longer you might be a little stronger
Maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do, maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do

Now Billy Joe was busted but he hadn't felt the sting
And from the far end of the table he threw his Mother's wedding ring
And he said, 'You won my money but it ain't gonna do the trick
I'll bet this ring on one more game against your fancy stick'

The Baron's eyes grew foggy as the ring rolled on the felt
And he almost doubled over like he was hit below the belt
Twenty years ago it was the ring his wife had worn
And he didn't know before he left that a son would soon be born

It sounded just like thunder when the Baron shot the break
But it grew quickly quiet as he lined up the eight
Then a warm hand touched his shoulder and it chilled him to the bone
When he turned and saw the woman who had loved him for so long.

The game was never finished, the eight ball never fell
The Baron calmly picked it up and put it on the shelf
Then he placed the ring in the hand that held him long ago
And he tossed that fancy shootin' stick to his son Billy Joe
And he said....

[Chorus] I wish I had of known you when you were a little younger 'round me you might have learned a thing or two
If I'd had known you longer you might be a little stronger
Maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do, maybe you'd shoot straighter than you do

And don't miss Walk The Line, starring Joaquin Phoenix as Johnny Cash. Phoenix does a great star turn portraying this uniquely American music artist, his early stellar career, and on again, off again, blazing romance with June (as played by Reese Witherspoon).

Based on Cash's two autobiographies, Cash: The Autobiography and Man In Black and developed over years with Johnny and June Carter Cash personally before their 2003 passing, the movie is a dynamic retelling of Johnny Cash's turbulent and exciting history. Phoenix and Witherspoon sing all the songs and make the story burst with life.

The Baron And The Kid (1984)

Song lyrics courtesy of CBS Television Productions

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