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The Devil & John McDaid

by Brother Bastion

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A cautionary folk tale based on the classic legend of the crossroads. Down on his luck, John McDaid gets a very different reward to what he expected after making a deal with Ol' Nick at the crossroads one night. Always check the T&C's...

Played on a banjitar, with acoustic bass backing, this is a stripped back grooving folk song, that allows the story in the lyrics to unfold as clear as can be.



John McDaid was walking home one evening at almost midnight,
What was about to happen would give the bravest man a fright,
He was not a superstitious man but believe me when I say,
That something wicked his way came, and he never was the same again,
At first he saw a shadow weave in the corner of his eye,
Then the wind picked up and a grim voice spoke, and that voice it did cry,
“Hey friend I see you're feeling down and lonely let me help,
I'll make all your dreams come true tonight, if you commit your soul to hell!”

John said "Get back you filthy demon, get back to where you came, I don't believe in tales damnation or eternal flame"
But as he reached the crossroads, that devil did appear, and he tipped his hat and said "how about that, it seems that i'm still here"!
"Y'see mate, this aint fate it's late, so we can't wait, believe me we haven't much time"
And so I promise you a life of power and wealth just so long as your soul is mine"?!
“Y’see i've been watching you from the fires of hell, and seems things ain’t going so well,
So I’m here to help weave a little old spell, get you out of this grim old place you dwell”?!

So John said "Well I must admit, things have been a bit shit so what you're offerin' seems quite nice…" The Devil chirped in "That's great my mate, so I'm just gonna need a little sacrifice!
Nothing too big, too bad, too wicked just summat to close this deal, just a little bit o' blood from a wretched soul John, that's all I need, then it's signed and sealed"

John had no clue what he should do, he'd never killed before, never run a man through,
"Is there no other way I can pay if I may, I could rob a bank for ya, what do ya say"? The devil said "Not today I'm afraid its blood that I need, so c’mon, do the deed, you’re doin’ this for you not me John. Find me a victim; make ‘em bleed”!

And so with that young John McDaid was suddenly overcome,
With a sense of rage so pure than he’d ever felt before,
He saw a drunken fellow come stumblin’ up the hill,
Picked up a brick, struck from behind and John made his first kill…

Woooaaaah Wooooaaah Wooooaaah Wooooaahhh

So there John stood, now covered in blood and his prey led there dead,
John looked down at that stranger, and around where he had bled,
Next thing there's blue lights everywhere, and an angry voice it said,
"Drop that brick you're hold of, and place your hands upon your head"!

Weeks later in his prison cell, John pondered what he'd done,
He began to think that devil was just his imagination,
As he looked in the mirror just before he went to bed,
He saw a face smile back at him that said "Hello again"

John looked at him and and screamed "You lying little bastard you said I'd have power and wealth, but now I'm banged up in here, inside this fuckin' cell?"
"Johnny, Johnny, Johnny" the devil did condescend
"I don't know what you were expecting, but I can take a wild guess,
But let's get real, this deal we made, I feel you might misunderstand that no one really wins in these arrangements, least not with me, good man.
Y'see, if you wanna know how it's gonna be, then gotta go read the T&C's, then it's plain to see, when you deal with me, it'll never work out that favorably"
"That fella you killed was a bad bloke, and what he did you don't need to know, but you gotta understand that I need souls, so I was killing two birds with one stone, and what I said ain’t a total lie, you can still have wealth and power of a kind - this jail needs someone in control, to be the daddy, to run the show, so there is a kingdom for you to rule, you can do this John you’re not a complete fool"!? You can work for me, bring a soul or two, Have we got a deal John, does that suit you…?”

And so John McDaid seized his place, ruled with an iron hand,
There was a guy called Silas who became his right hand man,
Broke the spirit of every inmate, no one stepped out of line,
And one by one their souls were claimed, before they'd done their time!

Woooaah woooaah woooaah woooaah


released October 27, 2023
Written and recorded by Brother Bastion.


all rights reserved



Brother Bastion Manchester, UK

Brother Bastion is a Folk-punk singer and guitarist from Blackburn, Lancs
His songs are based on his observations of growing up in a working class town, and the social and political aspects that come with that.

Influenced by The Pogues, Dead Kennedys, Johnny Cash, Motorhead and The Clash to name a few; his lyrics are often brutally honest but delivered with an acerbic wit.
A must-see live act.
... more

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