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Sittin' Up With The Dead

This song is by Ray Stevens and appears on the album Lend Me Your Ears (1990).

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Well out in the country, we didn't have mortuaries
And so it was always customary
For the undertaker to do his job
And lay your kin out right there at home.
Well the church would loan ya foldin' chairs
And you'd have visitation and everything right there
But when the nighttime come you had to sit up with the dead
'Cause it wasn't right to leave 'em alone.

Well, the last time I sat up was '65
When my old arthritic Uncle Fred died
He was 97 and so stooped over the morticians couldn't straighten him out.
They used a loggin' chain to hold him down
And covered that all up with a cape and a gown
And didn't tell nobody in the family
'Cause that's the kind of stuff folks just don't want to know about.

Well we were all sittin' there; it was 3 in the mornin'
And then there come up a cloud, a-thunder lightnin' and stormin'
Well, that lightnin' flashed and that thunder clapped
And that chain 'round old Uncle Fred went 'snap'
And rattled and fell to the floor with a thump
And Uncle Fred just sat right up!

And I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
I don't know 'bout you
No, I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
No matter what ya say or do.
They say the dead can't hurt ya 'cause they already left
But what they left can sure make ya hurt yourself.
And I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
Since the dead started sittin' up too.
Lord, have mercy!

Well when Uncle Fred sat up, so did everyone there
And there came a great partin' of the foldin' chairs.
And that preacher nearly knocked me down, he said
"Oh, I'm headin' out that kitchen door!"
I said "Rev, that kitchen ain't got no door in it!"
He said "Don't worry son, it will have in a minute!"
And I ain't never seen so much jumpin' and shovin' before.

And then somebody stepped on an old cat's tail
It let out a scream, a screech, a wail
And to say the least, that howl didn't help to calm the situation down.
And then that lightnin' flashed and that house went black
And I spoke to my feets; I said "Boys, make tracks!"
And I went out that screen door lickety split for town!

Well I cut through the cemetery, fell in a hole
It was Uncle Fred's grave, and it was dark and cold!
Yeah, the town drunk dug it and he dug it too deep
And unbeknownst to me, he's still in there asleep
And I'm scratchin' and jumpin' tryin' to get out of that hole
And he woke up and said:
"You might as well come over here and sit down beside me, boy,
'Cause you ain't gettin' outta here tonight."
But I did!

And I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
I don't know 'bout you
No, I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
No matter what ya say or do.
They say the dead can't hurt ya 'cause they already left
But what they left can sure make ya hurt yourself.
And I ain't sittin' up with the dead no more
Since the dead started sittin' up too.

Wasn't no sense in nobody sittin' up with Uncle Fred anyhow!
Uncle Fred done gonna be sittin' up with his OWN self.
Next time, I'm just gonna send flowers! Yeah.