The Ballad of Lester Moore Pt1 – The Ballad of Lester Moore

Hello there and welcome to part one of my latest project, entitled The Ballad of Lester Moore. Each part will be the lyrics of a new song for this latest project. As my studio is not currently up and running, I will be focussing on songwriting and so therefore decided to post up my progress. I will start with the lyrics to the latest song, and afterwards explain a bit about it or where the project is currently at. So, here we go on the journey with the opening song….The Ballad of Lester Moore.

The Ballad of Lester Moore

Here lies Lester Moore

Four slugs from a .44

He’ll sleep forever more

No less, no more


He lies buried beneath the ground

The only way to keep ol’ Lester Down

He’ll ride out no more

No less, no more


He sailed out to Plymouth Rock

Killed his first man on the dock

He came ashore

No less, no more


Running money for Boston Brown

Until word had got around

He was wanted by the law

No less, no more


Lester decided it was time to flee

Went down to Tennessee

He arrived in Jonesborough

No less, no more


He dealt faro at the Eureka Inn

Killing a man there was no sin

We all knew the score

No less, no more


There worked young Katie Hayes

Who fell in with his wicked ways

She became his whore

No less, no more


Then just as a cruel twist of fate

He joined up, became a Confederate

Gentlemen, we’re at war

No less, no more


He left the game at table eight

Said goodbye to his beloved Kate

Into the breach once more

No less, no more


Riding in Forrest’s Cavalry Corps

Charging into blood, bodies and gore

Death was all they ever saw

No less, no more


He got his fill at Wilson’s Raid

Couldn’t take blood for what they paid

Men died by the score

No less, no more


He deserted and travelled to Tombstone town

Got a job and settled down

Became a clerk in a store

No less, no more


One day Dunstan came through that door

In his hand was a .44

Death came knocking at his door

No less, no more


The two men faced off across the floor

We heard the shots, numbering four

Les was slower on the draw

No less, no more


Here lies Lester Moore

Four slugs from a .44

He sleeps here forever more

No Les, no Moore


Words & music  © Copyright 2011 Jamie McPherson September 2011

So….that is The Ballad of Lester Moore. The idea came to me while I was searching the net. I came across his epitaph that read “Here lies Lester Moore, four slugs from a .44, No Les, no Moore”. This just captured me straight away and I saw a song in it. I did some research into Lester Moore, and all we know is that he was a clerk in a store who was shot by a man called Hank Dunstan over an argument about a crushed package Dunstan had received in the post.

I thought as very little is known about this man, I could create a life for him. So, I let my mind wander and invented this story for Lester. It needed a beginning, so I had him emigrate to the US on the Eastern seaboard. I had to create pivotal moments in his life to show his descent into a world of death and murder, a turning point where he leaves it all behind, and then that fateful day with Dunstan. I wanted to stay true to the period, so lucky the history buff in me got to do a bit of research into names, places and events true to that period. Songwriter/history buff heaven 🙂

Alongside of his personal journey, I gave him a physical journey too. I always think that a sense of place always co-exists with the events in one’s life. I wanted him to start in an urban/city environment, and gradually move down South and then West to Tombstone.

Some interesting points of note. Yes, there was a Eureka Inn in Jonesborough during that period. Also, Forrest’s Cavalry Corpse did exist and take part in Wilson’s Raid. It always helps to have a good smattering of truth in the stories you make up.

I chose the name Katie Hayes for his love interest because I found it a sympathetic name. I wanted her to be more than a love interest. She needed to be a victim of his corrupted life.

And then of course, there is that fateful day with Hank Dunstan.

The song is a nice simple ballad in 3/4 time. I’ve played it a few times at gigs and it’s gone down very well.

When I had completed writing the song, I re-read the lyrics and found that there was a much bigger story in this. I read through it all and went “There is a song there…there is a song there…”. So, I decided that this will be the cornerstone of my latest project. A sort of musical narrative if you will, telling the story of Lester Moore as I have created it.

I am looking forward to this musical journey, and am very excited about this project. And I am just itching to record these songs and get it all together. And who knows, maybe I can persuade some of my very dear and talented friends to take part in the recordings. We’ll see.

So, that is the first installment of The Ballad of Lester Moore.

Part two will be ‘The Wandering Jew’

Beannachd leibh,



9 Responses to “The Ballad of Lester Moore Pt1 – The Ballad of Lester Moore”

  1. I am always fascinated Jamie by how the creative process works for other people.

    And always fascinated by how a particular creative process takes on a life of its own and then drives us rather than the other way round 🙂

    I am delighted by this and so pleased that you are informing us of the process as it goes along.

    I will very much look forward to the completed result. and just as much look forward to accompanying you on this journey.

    My very best wishes to you my friend


    • Hi David,

      Thank you very much my friend for dropping by and having a read and taking the time out to comment.

      Yes, we are all different in our creative paths and the process is very much an individual one. I do find it is something I can not push, but comes to me in those quiet moments when I am out walking along the river at home or the creek out the back of work in Mount Barker. Good Australian scenery is always good to inspire the soul. Tikarma bought me a lovely little notebook for my last birthday so I can jot down lines and phrases as they come to me. It’s come in very handy for those moments I’ve jumped out of bed at 3am. These lines came to me surfing the net and then a good long walk along the creek.

      I am glad you are delighted about reading my creative process. I find that it is good for myself in writing these processes as it helps get me into good creative practices. It also is a good way to keep me fired up in what will be a very long term process.

      Thank you for all your interest and support, and hopefully the next song won’t be too far away 🙂

      Beannachd leat my friend,


  2. This sounds interesting. 🙂 i hope to hear it. 🙂

  3. Hi Jamie,

    It is so good to see you being creative despite the obstalces in your way. I’m quite sure this journey into Lester Moore’s life as you discover it will be an interesting journey.

    It’s always interesting to me to see where others draw their inspirations from and how they change and mold those indeas into something which is uniquely their own. 🙂

    I’m looking forward to the time you are able to start putting your song to music. In the meantime learning how you are working creatively and watching you put so much effort into your work is just as interesting.

    This journey I know is going to be very different for you and I’m certainly looking forward to seeing how this story reveals itself through a medium of songwriting and music.

    All my best wishes to you! May the New Calendar year bring you much creativity, inspiration and energy and may success follow you in all you undertake.

    Yours always in love and with much pride!


  4. Hi Tikarma,

    Thank you for your lovely comment and for all your support and encouragement 🙂

    Yes, this will be an interesting project as the story is already told now by the first song, and now I have to discouver the finer details of his life as I write each song. A very different way of approaching it for me, yet it will be a good challenge. Yes, it is a bit hard not being able to run to the studio every time a song is finished as I love to do, but hopefully, it will keep me concentrated on songwriting.

    The creative process is very different for everyone and this is a bit of a step out of my comfort zone, but I am very excited about it, so hopefully it should be a brilliant experience. I’ve just have to keep finding that inspiration in all those strange places 🙂

    I’m glad you are looking forward to the outcome. I can safely say “Me too!” as some of it is floating around in that noggin, but most of it is yet to be discouvered 🙂

    My best wishes for you too in 2012. May it be the year of art for us!

    Thank you for all of your love & support. It means the world to me.

    With all the love in my heart, always and forever yours,



    • ps. A whole lot of pride in you too baby! You’re just brilliant! ♥

      • I think the step out of your comfort zone will be good for you. Each album requires a different mindset as each album is a story and journey unto itself.
        As you said you need to discover the finer details in the story and in some ways there is a different approach as well to the songwriting. Not getting distracted by all the bells and whistles of the studio will help keep your mind focused on the sotry at hand if that makes sense.

        Indeed may it be a year of art! 🙂

        Your in love always.


  5. Yes, I totally agree with you Tikarma 🙂 I’m looking forward to it. It should be a fun journey :-).

    Should be a great year of art! 🙂

    Always yours forever,


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