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  1. Bitter Wine

From the recording American Dream

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About The Song

Sometime in 2001, I was flipping through the pages of ‘Waterloo Sunset’ by Ray Davies (of The Kinks), when my eyes were caught by the line '…dawn was bleeding…'. "What? Thought I, dawn was bleeding? What’s that all about?" When I did a double-take on the line, I found that it actually read, "dawn was breaking!” But the seed was sown, hence the opening line, A crimson dawn was bleeding out across the eastern sky, and the rest, as they say, is history.

Well, almost… The song remained unfinished until one day late in 2002, when I read an article in The Australian about a prison execution in the United States. The article carried a couple of quotes from the condemned man which immediately gave me a ‘handle’ on the song, and the person singing it. I later incorporated elements of the prisoners last words into the bridge of the song.

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Lyrics

Bitter Wine

© 2002, Jim Lesses. All Rights Reserved.


A crimson dawn is bleeding out, across the eastern sky,

Another thirty minutes, and they take me down to die.

I killed a man in anger, now I'm paying for the crime,

Today I’ll drain the bottle – but it’s a bitter wine.

CHORUS

They say revenge is sweet, but friends, it’s just a bitter cup,

It tears at your humanity; slowly eats you up.

Burns you like a poison; Laughs at your decline;

It will fill your glass forever – but it’s a bitter wine.

I’m not here to beg your pardon; plead for mercy; share the blame,

I have seen the guilty party, and I know he bears my name.

I won’t bore you with a reason, it’s too late to cross that line,

And now the ghosts have come to dance, and share this bitter wine.

CHORUS

BRIDGE

So warden I am ready now, to take my final sip,

And Jesus won’t you hold me, as I raise it to my lip…

CHORUS and CODA

Burns you like a poison; Laughs at your decline;

It will fill your glass forever – but it’s a bitter wine.

It’s a bitter wine. It’s a bitter wine.