"Shades Of Gray" as written by and Robert Earl Keen....
We made Oklahoma a little after three
Randy, his brother Bob, and my old GFC
We had some moonshine whiskey and some of Bob's homegrown
We were so messed up we didn't know if we were drunk or stoned

Randy was a sad sack - tall, kinda frail
Bob was a raving maniac, crazier than hell
We been kicked out of high school several years ago
For kicking over port-o-cans at the 4-H rodeo

Since they done the little dance right outside the law
Popped twice in Oklahoma and once in Arkansas
And I don't know what possessed me to want to tag along
'Cause I was raised a Christian, and I knew right from wrong

[Chorus]
Right or wrong, black or white
Cross the line, you're gonna pay
Into the dawn before the light
Live or die by shades of gray

We stole two Charolais heifers
From Randy's sweetheart's pa
And sold them at the livestock sale outside of Wichita
We got nine hundred dollars and never did suspect
The world of hurt we'd be in once we cashed that check

Next day we heard the story on the local radio
And made our plans that very night to go to Mexico
And I swear we would've made it if it wasn't for the shine
I got sick about the time we crossed that Kansas line

[Chorus]

I was lying in the bar ditch, praying I would die
When a light came on above us
And a voice called from the sky
A half dozen unmarked cars came screeching to a halt

They grabbed Bob, he started screaming that it was my fault
There were men and dogs and helicopters flying all around
They had the brothers on the pickup hood
And me on the ground

Then Bob flew all to pieces, but Randy - he held tight
When a black man in a suit and tie stepped into the light

He told his men to turn us loose
And they put down their guns
He said these are just some sorry kids
They ain't the ones

[Chorus]

They left us by the roadside downhearted and alone
Randy got behind the wheel, said, "Boys, I'm going home."
So we turned 'round and faced our fate, hung over but alive
On that morning Oklahoma, late April ninety-five


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"Shades of Gray" as written by Robert Earl Keen

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Shades Of Gray song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentAccording to Richard Shindell, this song is about three boys who run away from home, and are caught by the cops out looking for the Oklahoma City Bomber - the last line gives it away: "On that morning, Oklahoma, late April ninety-five." The cops realise they've got the wrong people and the boys make their way home hungover but a bit wiser.
    Cyborg-Goddesson July 28, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a great song, we all have done things in our youth that we remember with a touch of guilt and horror. The horror is just how stupid and dangerous our actions were and how in God's green earth did we survive. When we look back, we know we know better but we did it anyway.
    kcmogirlon January 26, 2006   Link

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