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Smilin' Billy Lye

This song is by Beau and appears on the album When Butterflies Scream (2017).

We made our way down to a field that everybody knew,
Where grandpa once saw Buffalo Bill in 1892.
Yes, I was there and saw it all so very long ago:
Crash Donovan appearing with his Motorcycle Show.
Like everyone around that day, we knew we had to try
To see the living legend that was Smilin' Billy Lye

Billy was a dirt track man with nothing left to prove;
The champion that no one ever managed to remove.
Gamblers made their fortunes, and bookies lost their shirt
When Smilin' Billy Lye was out there kicking up the dirt.
But this was something different; the glorious goodbye;
The final challenge Crash had made to Smilin' Billy Lye.

The Wall of Death; the Pyramid; the Wheelies came and went
As everyone was keying up toward the main event;
The Tunnel! - made of bales of straw and maybe six foot tall,
And long - about two hundred feet when taken all in all.
And how we stood and cheered at the compere's stirring cry:
"He's here, folks! The one and only Smilin' Billy Lye!"

His Tiger roared above the crowd, all British Racing Green,
With Billy revving hard and standing high on the machine.
Then Crash himself, with a torch aloft, set light to all that straw.
The Tunnel burned from end to end, from outside to the core.
So that was it, the stage was set. We'll oversimplify;
The challenge of his life was facing Smilin' Billy Lye.

Then a silence fell. The engine snarled. The Tiger gathered speed
As everybody hoped he'd have the impetus he'd need.
He roared into the tunnel's mouth, the belly of the beast,
But then, a second later as the screaming engine ceased
The pandemonium began. Had something gone awry?
A minute passed without a sign of Smilin' Billy Lye.

Scarcely had the crowd accepted something there was wrong,
To everyone's surprise above the tumult of the throng
A roaring came from deep within that blazing stack of straw.
No one there that night had come prepared for what they saw.
The Tiger raced across the field - it almost seemed to fly -
With no one in the saddle, and no Smilin' Billy Lye.

They never found his body; no traces, large or small.
"He was," said Crash to everyone, "the greatest of us all."
Someone asked him why he smiled? He said, "The grief is bad.
The funny thing with me, I tend to laugh when I am sad!"
And no one really understood, or made him justify;
No one but the restless ghost of Smilin' Billy Lye

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