Coward of the County: A song for IELTS Listening Exercise

Have you been looking for some IELTS Listening exercise?

You may try this exercise using a country music or a ballad.

This IELTS Listening exercise is not in any way similar to the real IELTS listening module, but the idea is almost the same, and that is for you to familiarise yourself of doing two things at the same time-listening and writing.



In this IELTS listening exercise, a song by Kenny Rogers is used. This song has full of meaning. In this troubled world, this song is just right; it is so beautiful and touching.

After you have done this exercise, please play the video again, but this time focus your attention on the meaning of the song.

Below are the lyrics. Based on what you hear from the video, write on a piece of paper the words that are missing. Be sure to spell the words correctly because spelling in IELTS listening is very important.

Answers are given at the end, but please don't look at them beforehand. Otherwise, the purpose of this exercise on IELTS listening is defeated.

Coward of the County

Everyone considered him the coward of the county. He never stood one single time to prove the county wrong. His mama named him Tommy, the ______ just called him yellow, Something always told me they were reading Tommy wrong.

He was only ten years old when his daddy died in prison. I looked after Tommy 'cause he was my ________ son. I still recall the final words my brother said to Tommy:

"Son, my life is over, but yours has just _______.

Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done. Walk away from trouble if you can. It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other _______. I hope you're old enough to understand:

Son, you don't have to fight to be a man!"

There's someone for evr'yone and Tommy's love is Becky. In her arms he didn't have to prove he was a man. One day while he was workin' the Gatlin boys came callin'. They took turns at Becky... there was ______ of them!

Tommy opened up the door and saw his Becky cryin'. The _____ dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand. He reached above the fireplace and took down his daddy's picture. As the tears fell on his daddy's face, he _______ these words again:

"Promise me, son, not to do the things I've done. Walk away from trouble if you can. Now it won't mean you're _______ if you turn the other cheek. I hope you're old enough to understand:

Son, you don't have to fight to be a man!"

The Gatlin boys just ______ at him, when he walked into the barroom. One of them got up and met him halfway 'cross the floor. When Tommy turned around they said, Hey look! ol yellows leavin'. But you coulda heard a pin drop when Tommy stopped and ______ the door.

Twenty years of crawlin' was bottled up inside him. He wasn't holdin' nothin' back; he let 'em have it all. When Tommy left the _______ not a Gatlin boy was standin'. He said, this one's for Becky, as he ______ the last one fall.

And I heard him say,

"I promised you, dad, not to do the things you've done. I walk away from trouble when I can. Now please don't think I'm weak, I didn't turn the other cheek, And papa, I sure hope you understand:

Sometimes you gotta fight when you're a man".

Evr'yone considered him the _______ of the county.




Answers for the IELTS Listening Exercise

Be sure to check your spelling.

His mama named him Tommy, the folks just called him yellow,

I looked after Tommy 'cause he was my brother's son.

"Son, my life is over, but yours has just begun.

It won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek.

They took turns at Becky... there was three of them!

The torn dress, the shattered look was more than he could stand.

As the tears fell on his daddy's face, he heard these words again:

Now it won't mean you're weak if you turn the other cheek.

The Gatlin boys just laughed at him, when he walked into the barroom.

But you coulda heard a pin drop when tommy stopped and locked the door.

When Tommy left the barroom not a Gatlin boy was standin'. He said, this one's for Becky, as he watched the last one fall.

Evr'yone considered him the coward of the county.

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