Gone: Merle Haggard

The first thing I remember knowing
Was a lonesome whistle blowing
And a young’un’s dream of growing up to ride
On a freight train leaving town
Not knowing where I’m bound
And no one could change my mind but Mama tried

One and only rebel child
From a family meek and mild
My mama seemed to know what lay in store
Despite all my Sunday learning
Towards the bad I kept on turning
Till Mama couldn’t hold me anymore

And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole
No one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading I denied
That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried


From now on all my friends are gonna be strangers
I’m all through, ever trusting anyone
The only thing I can count on now is my fingers
I was a fool believing in you and now you are gone

This old smoke filled bar is something I’m not used to
But I gave up my home to see you satisfied
And I just called to let you know where I’ll be living
It’s not much but I feel welcome here inside

And I’ve got swinging doors a jukebox and a barstool
And my new home has got a flashing neon sign
Stop by and see me anytime you want to
Cause I’m always here at home till closing time

I’ve always had a bottle I could turn to
And lately I’ve been turnin’ every day
But the wine don’t take effect the way it used to
And I’m hurtin’ in old familiar ways

Tonight the bottle let me down
and let your memory come around
The one true friend I thought I’d found
Tonight the bottle let me down

I’d like to settle down but they won’t let me
A fugitive must be a rolling stone
Down every road there’s always one more city
I’m on the run, the highway is my home

The warden led a prisoner down the hallway to his doom
I stood up to say good-bye like all the rest
And I heard him tell the warden just before he reached my cell
‘Let my guitar playing friend do my request.’ (Let him…)

Sing me back home with a song I used to hear
Make my old memories come alive
Take me away and turn back the years
Sing Me Back Home before I die

We got up before sunup to get the work done up
We’d work in the fields till the sun had gone down
We’ve stood and we’ve cried as we helplessly watched
A hailstorm a beatin’ our crops to the ground
And I’ve gone to bed hungry many nights as a lad
In the good old days when times were bad.

I’ve seen daddy’s hands break open and bleed41NPR0QJ57L
And I’ve seen him work till he’s stiff as a board
I’ve seen mama lay and suffer in sickness
In need of a doctor we couldn’t afford
Anything at all was more than we had
In the good old days when times were bad.

No amount of money could buy from me
The mem’ries that I have of them
No amount of money could pay me
To go back and live through it again.

Things I learned in a hobo jungle
Were things they never taught me in a classroom,
Like where to find a handout
While thumbin’ through Chicago in the afternoon.
Hey, I’m not braggin’ or complainin’,
Just talkin’ to myself man to man.
This ole’ mental fat I’m chewin’ didn’t take alot of doin’.
But I take alot of pride in what I am.

Sometimes I think about leaving, do a little bummin around
I wanna throw my bills out the window catch a train to another town
But I go back working I gotta buy my kids a brand new pair of shoes
Yeah drink a little beer in a tavern,
Cry a little bit of these working man blues.

If we make it through December everything’s gonna be alright I know

Could be holding you tonight
Could quit doing wrong, start doin’ right
You don’t care about what I think
I think I’ll just stay here and drink

I hear people talkin’ bad,
About the way we have to live here in this country,
Harpin’ on the wars we fight,
An’ gripin’ ’bout the way things oughta be.
An’ I don’t mind ’em switchin’ sides,
An’ standin’ up for things they believe in.
When they’re runnin’ down my country, man,
They’re walkin’ on the fightin’ side of me.

We don’t make a party out of lovin’;
We like holdin’ hands and pitchin’ woo;
We don’t let our hair grow long and shaggy,
Like the hippies out in San Francisco do.

All the Federalis say
We could’ve had him any day
We only let him slip away
out of kindness I suppose.

Silver wings shining in the sunlight
Roaring engines headed somewhere in flight
They’re taking you away, leaving me lonely
Silver wings slowly fading out of sight


Stop rolling down hill
Like a snowball headed for Hell
Stand up for the Flag
And let’s all ring the Liberty Bell

Let’s make a Ford and a Chevy
Still last ten years like they should
The best of the free life is still yet to come
The good times ain’t over for good

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