Armageddon Rag

Lyrics: Robert Hunter
Music: Robert Hunter

Written by Robert Hunter wrote for the soundtrack of the movie "Armageddon Rag." This was to have been produced by Phil DeGuere from the novel by George R.R. Martin, but was never in the event completed. In the book it is played by a band called The Nazgûl. It was recorded by a group comprising Robert Hunter, John Cipollina, Merl Saunders, Tony Saunders and Gaylord Birch, with its companion piece Resurrection Rag. See also Raise Your Arms, Clap Your Hands, Blood On The Sheets and Raging. See below for more background.

Ready for the countdown (ready)
Ready on the right (ready)
Ready on the left (ready)
Very much obliged
Ready all round (ready)
Let me hear the sound (ready)
OK, mothers
Count it on down

(Ten) When
(Nine) Fine
(Eight) Too late
(Seven) What you gonna do about
(Six) Sixty Six
(Five) Bust this jive
(Four) Ready for more
(Three) Count it for me

(One, two) Armageddon Rag
(Three, four) Armageddon Rag

You and me got debts come due
I can't pay, neither can you
Life is just too weird to live
I don't forget and don't forgive

Shake your bones to Armageddon Rag
Dance with Jones to Armageddon Rag
Sticks and stones, Armageddon Rag
Soul stone, baby, ain't it a drag
(Ain't it a drag)
(Ain't it a drag)

Walk the mighty final road
Till flesh and bones fall from your soul
Turn and face your enemy
All the dead look just like me

All the living look like you
Now tell me what you're gonna do
You, you, you, brother
We can be mistaken for one another

Armies of the night (Armageddon Rag)
Soldiers of the light (Armageddon Rag)
Idiot's delight (Armageddon Rag)
Hold on tight, ready on the right
Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three
(One, two) Armageddon Rag
Armageddon Rag
Armageddon Rag
Getting ready for, getting ready for
Armageddon Rag, Armageddon Rag
Robert Hunter played a truncated version in a solo performance in 1984:
[This] is where all causes meet
[Weave the pattern] in between
Ready on the left
Ready on the right
Ready in the center
OK countdown

Ten, nine, eight seven
Six, five, four, three
One, two, Armaggedon Rag
One, two, Armaggedon Rag

All the dead look just like me
All the living look like you
You, you, you brother
We could be mistaken for one another
Armageddon Rag was registered with the US Copyright Office in 1984, described as "on 1 sound cassette + lyrics ... with Ragin' and Ashman." Hunter has performed Ragin' in solo concerts, but I've never seen any other references to his version of Ashman (described in the registration as "lyrics with chord symbols") - unless (see track list below) it's a version of No Place Here which starts with the line "Ashes, ashes all fall down". Resurrection Rag was also registered (separately) in 1984, as "words only". Blood On The Sheets, and Raise Your Arms Clap Your Hands do not seem to have been registered.

In the novel by George R.R. Martin, Sandy plays a cassette by The Nazgûl - their album titled "Music To Wake The Dead" - with the following track list:
Side One
1. Blood On The Sheet     2.07
2. Ashman (Ashes, Ashes)     5.09
3. Ragin'     3.01
4. The Survivor     3.15
5. What Rough Beast     2.02
6. Prelude To Madness     5.23
Side Two
1. The Armageddon/Resurrection Rag     23.14
Of these, Hunter wrote words and music for the film for Blood On The Sheet, Ragin', Armageddon Rag, Resurrection Rag and, it seems, Ashman. Of the other songs, "What Rough Beast" seems in the novel to be a setting of William Butler Yeats' poem "The Second Coming" (with the line "And what rough beast, its hour come round at last"). The novel also quotes what look to be original lines from "The Survivor":
Well, he came back from the war zone all intact
And they told him how lucky he had been

But the survivor has a different kind of scar
Stillborn dreams and no more hope
Hooked on booze or hooked on dope
The survivor has a different kind of scar
Yeah, the survivor has a different kind of scar


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