Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard Didn’t Let “Pancho and Lefty” Slip Away

I once had a roommate who was pretty much obsessed with Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard’s rendition of “Pancho and Lefty.” He must have spent a month of his free time picking through all the chord changes and learning the complicated storyline. At first, I didn’t get it, but gradually I began to realize how much this classic tale of Mexican bandits and double-crossing has to offer a listener. Written by the late Townes Van Zandt (you can spot him in the video), the story of “Pancho and Lefty” is one that has played out again and again since the beginning of time. But for all the detail, everyone seems to come away with a different message. Take a look at Nelson and Haggard in their 1983 video and find out what it means to you.

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