Better Than I Used To Be
by Tom Tognaci, Paul Battersby

This is a ballad that tells an interesting story set in the old West. I kept Tom’s original mix of his tracks. It was already exactly how he wanted it to be. I applied some noise reduction to his mix, then added my own tracks for the final result.

show / hide lyrics
Better Than I Used To Be
Lyrics by Tom Tognaci

V1
He started off a preacher’s only boy
The only time, in his life, he knew joy
But a gun brought his daddy down
On some dirt street in Illinois

He stood scared while he watched his daddy bleed
And picking up the six-gun at his feet
He aimed to have his vengeance there
But was too young to do the deed
He hung his little head in shame
And cried the tears no one could read

And while the church bells rung,
While a choir sung…
…He swore, to himself, that he’d be,
“Better than I used to be”
…He swore, to himself, that he’d be,
“Better than I used to be”

V2
From the everglades to the desert sands
He turned outlaw, wanted, in the badlands
Some say the demons in his head
Fanned the fury of his hands
Yeah, the last thing Sheriff Dillon saw
Was the blur of his right hand

And while the church bells rung,
While a choir sung…
…A tattoo on his right hand reads,
“Better than I used to be”
…A tattoo on his right hand reads,
“Better than I used to be”

(instrumental break)

V3
It’s a mystery that’s still misunderstood
It’s a story of how the bad was turned to good
Where a woman gave her heart to
The man who’d steal it, if he could

He was an outlaw, hardened by his trade
And the deal with the devil he had made
Some say she bartered her own soul
Others say, it’s how she prayed
Some say she was an angel
Explaining why he seemed afraid

And the church bells rung,
And the choir sung…
…he promised her, that day, he’d be,
“Better than I used to be”
Yea, he promised her, that day, he’d be,
“Better than I used to be”

V4
He earned the reputation as a thief,
A scoundrel who would lie right through his teeth
But, in that church, a miracle
Had turned over a fresh new leaf

Now, it’s said, he disappeared in ole Paris
But, it’s whispered that he died in Tennessee
Where it’s rumored that his headstone reads,
“Better than I used to be”
Where it’s rumored that his headstone reads,
“Better than I used to be”

Tom Tognacisong writing, vocals, rhythm guitar, lead guitar, sound fx
Paul Battersbystrings, brass, pan flute, choir
Hear the original version on soundclick.com


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2 comments on “Better Than I Used To Be by Tom Tognaci, Paul Battersby
  1. Tognaci has a dramatic hush in his delivery. Paul wisely let’s him open solo to establish the troubadour and gradually adds background of strings and brass to give it a wide-screen western scope, let’s the guitar recite in the middle and towards the end adds flute to augment a kind of lakota lonesome feeling. Very imaginative.

    • Thanks Stanley. Tom wanted exactly a “wide-screen western scope” for this song. I’m sure he’ll be pleased it’s being perceived that way.

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