Jamey Johnson and Alison Krauss sing “Seven Spanish Angels” live in Washington D. C. in HD.

Lyrics:

He looked down into her brown eyes
And said, ” Say a prayer for me.”
She threw her arms around him
Whispered, “God will keep us free.”
They could hear the riders comin
He said, “This is my last fight
If they take me back to Texas
They won’t take me back alive.”

There were seven Spanish Angels
At the alter of the Sun
They were prayin’ for the lovers
In the valley of the gun
When the battle stopped
And the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven Spanish angels
Took another angel home

She reached down and picked the gun up
That lay smokin in his hand
She said, “Father please forgive me
I can’t make it without my man.”
And she knew the gun was empty
And she knew she couldn’t win
Her final prayer was answered
When the rifles fired again

There were seven Spanish Angels
At the alter of the Sun
They were prayin’ for the lovers
In the valley of the gun
When the battle stopped
And the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven Spanish angels
Took another angel home

There were seven Spanish Angels
At the alter of the Sun
They were prayin’ for the lovers
In the valley of the gun
When the battle stopped
And the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven Spanish angels
Took another angel home

When the battle stopped
And the smoke cleared
There was thunder from the throne
And seven Spanish angels
Took another angel home

 

Seven Spanish Angels” is a song written by Troy Seals and Eddie Setser, and recorded by Ray Charles as a duet with Willie Nelson. It was released in November 1984 as a single from Charles’ 1984 album Friendship. Charles and Nelson split the verses, with Charles singing the first and Nelson the second, Charles sang the first and second choruses with Nelson joining for the outro. It was also included on Nelson’s 1985 compilation album Half Nelson. “Seven Spanish Angels” was the most successful of Charles’ eight hits on the country chart. The single spent one week at number one and a total of twelve weeks on the country chart.[1]

Setser had suggested the title “Seven Spanish Angels” and he and Seals had written the song as a homage to the tejano flavored classic hits of Marty Robbins exemplified by Robbins’ career record “El Paso“: (Troy Seals quote:) “When we finished it we thought ‘Who in the world’s gonna do it?’ because Marty was [deceased].” Within two days “Seven Spanish Angels” had been successfully pitched to Willie Nelson. Before Nelson was able to record it, producer Billy Sherrill happened to hear the demo and wanted the song for Ray Charles. Sherrill proposed that Nelson and Charles duet on the song after learning of Nelson’s having reserved it.[2]

The song is about an outlaw and his lover who are trying to outrun a posse sent to return them to Texas. When they are cornered, they decide to fight the approaching lawmen. Before the final gunfight, the two embrace, speaking of their belief that God will spare them. The gunfight then commences, with the outlaw firing upon the posse. He is immediately shot and killed, prompting his distraught lover to pick up his rifle. She tearfully prays, “Father, please forgive me; I can’t make it without my man.” She deliberately points the empty weapon it at the lawmen and is then shot dead. After each death, the titular angels gather to pray for the lovers. This is followed by “thunder from the throne” and the angels “tak[ing] another angel home”. [3] Seals stated that “We tried to make [the story] ethereal but also believable”. As written the song included the lines: “Now the people in the valley swear/ That when the moon’s just right/ They see the Texan and his woman/ Ride across the clouds at night”, which Sherrill preferred not to record feeling the track would run too long.[2]

Chart performance

Chart (1984–1985)Peak
position
US Hot Country Songs (Billboard)[4]1
Canadian RPM Country Tracks1
New Zealand Singles Chart6
Australian Kent Music Report29
Preceded by
Crazy for Your Love
by Exile
Billboard Hot Country Singles
number-one single

March 23, 1985
Succeeded by
Crazy
by Kenny Rogers
RPM Country Tracks
number-one single

March 30, 1985
Succeeded by
What I Didn’t Do
by Steve Wariner

Cover versions

  • Canadian country music artist George Canyon covered the song on his 2007 album, Classics.
  • Both Norwegian-born Country music artist, Heidi Hauge, and Dutch-born Peter Naude have covered the song; the latter turning it in to a more modern pop version.
  • Mati Nuude recorded an Estonian version.
  • Czech country group Greenhorns covered the song as Sedm španělských andělů (Seven Spanish Angels), with lyrics faithful to the spirit of the original.
  • Czech country singer Pavel Bobek covered the song as Muž na konci světa (Man at the end of the world) in 2002, with completely different lyrics in Czech.
  • Croatian singer Mišo Kovač covered the song as Ti si pjesma moje duše (You Are the Song of My Soul) in 1986., with altered lyrics in Croatian, and it became a big hit in Yugoslavia, reaching #2 on the charts there.
  • Mid-west country singer Smokey Smith covered the song on his album “Songs of Life 2”.
  • Adam Harvey (Australian Country Singer) covers on his 2014 country classic songbook album with Troy Cassar-Daley
  • Jamaican dancehall artist Beenie Man covered the song on his 1994 album Dis Unu Fi Hear.
  • Kari Tapio recorded a Finnish language version, Enkeleitä seitsemän (Seven angels).
  • Stoney LaRue covered the song as a duet with Cody Canada on his 2015 album Us Time.
  • The Jamaican reggae artist Garnett Silk covered the song to his album Nothing Can Divide Us.
  • The Howling Tongues covered the song on their album A Collection of Covers.
  • Alf Robertsson (Swedish country singer) recorded a Swedish version, Sju små vita änglar.
  • Chris Stapleton and Dwight Yoakam performed this song live at the 2016 CMA Awards.

 

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