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"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town"

"Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town" is a song written by Mel Tillis about a paralyzed veteran who lies helplessly as his wife "paints [herself] up" to go out for the evening without him. He believes she is going in search of a lover. As he hears the door slam behind her, he claims that he would murder her if he could only move to get his gun and pleads for her to reconsider. A line in the song about a "crazy Asian war" and the time of the song's release led to the assumption that it was about a veteran of the Vietnam War, although that was never stated directly in the lyrics, and Tillis himself stated that the song was about a veteran of World War II.


"Ruby" was first recorded by Waylon Jennings in 1966. Johnny Darrell reached number nine on the country charts with the song in 1967, but the most famous rendition was the Kenny Rogers and The First Edition version (below) released in 1969 during the height of the Vietnam War.



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