Arrow-right Camera


Eddie Ray’s latest break merits an ode

Sun., Nov. 23, 2008

‘Will Eddie Ray be joining your family for Thanksgiving?”

That’s one e-mail from a wave of expectant and encouraging messages that rolled my way after the big news of the week:

Spokane’s most notorious desperado – Eddie Ray Hall – busted out of a Yakima hoosegow and is on the run.

“Hi Doug. I see your boy Eddie Ray Hall escaped again,” wrote George Minehart. “Now you have to write about a free bird, not a jail bird.”

“I think it is time you and I put on our ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ costumes and go find this guy,” wrote Ken Martin.

“He escaped,” wrote Peggy Coffey. “We’re waiting …”

I shouldn’t be surprised, I guess.

I have chronicled the exploits of Eddie Ray for years through numerous humor columns and even a parody song sung to the tune Johnny Cash’s smash “I Walk the Line.”

You could argue, I suppose, that Eddie Ray and I are linked like two miscreants in the Chain Gang of Life.

But what to do?

Reader Marshall Smith supplied the answer: a brand new Eddie Ray ballad.

He wasn’t alone. Several other readers wanted me to record another musical tribute for the poster boy for repeat offenders.

(Repeat offender is putting it mildly. This is the 83rd time Eddie Ray has been wanted by the law, as noted by a reporter for KREM television.)

Smith, however, came up with the perfect tune: the Willie Nelson classic “On the Road Again.”

So it was back to Cue11, where owner Dave Cebert once again donated his studio and production time so I could satisfy readers like Mike Gies.

“Enough columns,” he wrote, “it’s time to fire up the karaoke machine again.”

Nope. No pre-recorded music tracks this time.

Joe Brasch, my best pal and bandmate, collaborated on the lyrics. Then we hauled out our guitars and recorded the song from scratch.

Cebert added a Tex/Mex accordion part to spice things up. He also shared the mixing duties with Brasch, who also is a Cue11 producer.

The first Eddie Ray song that I wrote and put out in 2004 is a biographical account of the man’s misdeeds.

But Eddie Ray is more than that now. He’s an outlaw legend, and I wanted this new song to reflect that.

I also wanted the song to be more timeless. Heck, for all I know Eddie Ray could be back in the slammer by the time you’re reading this.

When that happens, I hope his next jailers won’t be idiotic enough to make him a trustee like they did in Yakima.

Lord. When I heard that Eddie Ray was given trustee privileges, I all but choked.

Letting Eddie Ray be a trustee is like letting Lindsay Lohan run the pharmacy at a RiteAid.

But back to the song …

I think we came close to copping the Willie Nelson spirit and sound. Joe and I played the guitar duet, trying to faithfully re-create the one you hear in Willie’s old movie, “Honeysuckle Rose.”

Judge for yourselves by singing along with the lyrics. Better yet, listen to our production at

Oh. And no, I’m not expecting you-know-who for Thanksgiving.

On the Lam Again

On the lam again,

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

Busted outta jail and headed for Spokane.

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

On the lam again.

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

Hopped a fence to spend Thanksgiving with his friends.

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

Just like Jesse James,

Butch and Sundance, ol’ Eddie loves a crime spree.

That’s how he made his name.

You’d think with all he’s done ol’ Eddie would be history.

But it’s a mystery.

On the lam again.

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

He stuck a knife up to the neck of his good friend.

Says, “I ain’t goin’ back to jail again.”

On the lam again,

Hiding out and laying low – that’s Eddie Ray’s plan.

It’s a crazy game.

Daring every cop to take him in if they can.

Well, he’s a wanted man.

On the lam again,

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

His entire life has been just one long scam.

Eddie Ray is on the lam again.

He’ll be scorin’ dope – he’s on the lam again.

Better lock your doors, he’s on the lam again.

Doug Clark is a columnist for The Spokesman-Review. He can be reached at (509) 459-5432 or by e-mail at

Click here to comment on this story »