Decoded – Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town

Ruby, Don't Take Your Love To Town

Come on Ruby. Don’t leave Kenny and take your love to town.

I sit here in a Super Duper 8 motel in the great city of Coos Bay, Oregon on a business trip. After spending our fourth night in a row at the local casino, it was time to put pen to pad, or fingers to keyboard to blog.

But before that, it’s necessary to tell the story of why I even care to blog. It’s actually been a blog that’s a long time coming.

Firstly, can we give some respect to Kenny’s chest hair in the photo above? There isn’t really a tuft that’s overflowing. He’s just letting it all hang out. I barely recognized that he had a gold chain sitting on that head of hair on his chest.

This is my fourth time in Coos Bay, but third time in the last eight months. For three of those trips, I’ve gone with my co-worker who is probably aghast that I’m even mentioning her. So we’ll just call her CW. But she’s really not the star of this post. She’s more like the aging supporting actress, I mean, the supporting actress to this piece.

Ruby, don't take your love to townCW enjoys gambling and since it’s really the thing to do out here, we spend our evenings hovering around a specific slot machine like cold hands around a campfire. This is no regular slot machine. It’s a slot machine with character. It talks to you, sings to you, and gives you atta-boys and atta-girls if you do well. It’s Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler machine.

CW loves this machine so much and since her passion is so strong for it, I’ve become a fan of it. The best thing about this machine is that if you earn free spins, it plays the Kenny ditty, Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town while you’re winning cheese.

Now, when I first heard it, I thought it was pretty cool. But then I started to wonder. Why would it play this song rather than another Kenny song like say, um, The Gambler?

I started to get quite obsessed about this. I had to break down the lyrics to see why in the blue hell they would use this song at the happiest moment of the game.

But, before I get to the lyrics of this song, I also have to call out another co-worker. This co-worker isn’t quite worried about being the center of attention like CW, so I’m not worried about calling him out. His name is Bobby E. He’s very much enjoying his time out here.

Bobby EJust look at the happiness. Look at the merriment and euphoria. That photo was taken right after he threw a gutter ball. Okay, he actually threw a strike, but still.

He also let me film his virginal voyage to Fred Meyer.

Now, back to Kenny.

CW started to tell me the story of the song, or at least her interpretation of the song. She placed all the blame on Ruby, who Kenny doesn’t want to see go to town. Kenny is a disabled war vet. And one can imagine, that when Ruby gets all dressed up to go to town, she’s not going to shop. At least for food.

I don’t think it’s all Ruby’s fault. Kenny might just be jealous and jumping to terrible conclusions. And if he really believes that’s happening, his old behind just needs to let her go. Let Ruby be Kenny. Let Ruby be.

Let’s decode Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love To Town. You can even listen along.

You’ve painted up your lips and rolled and curled your tinted hair
Ruby are you contemplating, going out somewhere
The shadow on the wall, tells me the sun is going down
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

Ruby is getting dolled up. He asks her if she’s going out, but it seems like it might be a silent ask, as if he already knows the answer. Kenny’s been through this before. Like Eddie Murphy’s girl, it seems that she likes to party all the time. He’s silently wishing that she would stay with him, rather than hitting the town, and he’s quite paranoid, but he knows that ain’t happenin’ capt’n.

It’s not that different from Stevie Wonder’s Lately, but Stevie might be even more paranoid.

When I ask, “Will you be coming back soon,” you don’t know, never know.

And Stevie takes it far harder than Kenny as his eyes always start to cry. Kenny just seems to be accepting of it, but Hail Mary hopeful that Ruby won’t break his poor heart again.

It wasn’t me that started that ol’ crazy Asian war
But I was proud to go and do my patriotic chore
And yes it’s true, that I’m not the man I used to be
But Ruby, I still need some company

Kenny’s trying for the sympathy card here. He is a war vet and did his duty. I’m not exactly sure what he’s getting at when he says he’s not the man he used to be, but I can surely guess. But then, the very next line throws me off slightly. Is company a word for romance, or does he mean literal company like hanging out playing pinochle? I’m unsure. Come on Kenny, say what you really mean.

It’s hard to love a man, whose legs are bent and paralyzed
And the wants and needs of a woman of your age, Ruby I realize
It won’t be long, I’ve heard them say, until I’m not around,
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town

Ruby is definitely younger than Kenny, but how much younger? And even if he wasn’t hurt and paralyzed, at some point, he would’ve realized that there is still an age difference. He’s definitely thought about it. But he’s also not going to be around, either because of old age or because of his injuries. And Kenny’s selfishly like, “Hey Ruby, can’t you just wait until I die?”

She’s leaving now ’cause I just heard the slamming of the door
The way I know I’ve heard it slam 100 times before
And if I could move I’d get my gun and put her in the ground
Oh Ruby, don’t take your love to town
Oh Ruby, for God’s sake turn around

Ruby gone Kenny. She’s headed out the door and even slammed it, so either she’s mad at him or she’s so not worried about leaving that she doesn’t have the decency to leave quietly or even pretend like whoever Stevie Wonder was singing to in Lately. And she’s done it 100 times before, which means that Kenny has to be a bit hardened to it. And he’s thinking of violent things like shooting her. That’s where Kenny loses me. This is where I hope that Ruby not only never turned around, but also never looked back. Kenny is a mad man and maybe there are other reasons for Ruby to take her love to town.

I have no clue why this is the song used at the happiest moment of game on the slot machine. There’s no mirth to this song at all. Maybe Kenny is just a weird guy with cool chest hair.

By the way, I know Kenny didn’t write the song. Mel Tillis wrote it and according to Wikipedia, Johnny Darrell was the first to record it. But the story sounds so much better if I picture a paralyzed Kenny and a young Jennie Garth as the couple.

There was a weird answer to this song by the way. It’s not as good and tries to paint Ruby as a faithful wife. What fun is that?

CW is pro Kenny and I’m pro Ruby. What side of the fence are you on?

Be Sociable, Share!

Comments are closed.

Post Navigation