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Bruce Springsteen lyrics

Album: The Ghost of Tom Joad [1995]

Tracks12
 01  The Ghost of Tom Joad
 02  Straight Time
 03  Highway 29
 04  Youngstown
 05  Sinaloa Cowboys
 06  The Line
 07  Balboa Park
 08  Dry Lightning
 09  The New Timer
 10  Across the Border
 11  Galveston Bay
 12  My Best Was Never Good Enough
all Bruce Springsteen lyrics



The Ghost of Tom Joad
Men walkin' 'long the railroad tracks
Goin' someplace there's no goin' back
Highway patrol choppers comin' up over the bridge
Hot soup on a campfire under the bridge
Shelter line stretchin' 'round the corner
Welcome to the new world order
Families sleepin' in their cars in the southwest
No home no job no peace no rest
The highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Searchin' for the ghost of tom joad
He pulls a prayer book out of his sleeping bag
Preacher lights up a butt and takes a drag
Waitin' for when the last shall be first and the first shall be last
In a cardboard box 'neath the underpass
Got a one-way ticket to the promised land
You got a hole in your belly and gun in your hand
Sleepin' on a pillow of solid rock
Bathin' in the city aqueduct
The highway is alive tonight
Where it's headed everybody knows
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
Waitin' on the ghost of tom joad
Now tom said mom, wherever there's a cop beatin' a guy
Wherever a hungry newborn baby cries
Where there's a fight against the blood and hatred in the air
Look for me mom I'll be there
Wherever there's somebody fightin' for a place to stand
Or a decent job or a helpin' hand
Wherever somebody's strugglin' to be free
Look in their eyes mom you'll see me.
Well the highway is alive tonight
But nobody's kiddin' nobody about where it goes
I'm sittin' down here in the campfire light
With the ghost of old tom joadback to top
Straight Time
Got out of prison back in '86 and I found a wife
Walked the clean and narrowjust tryin' to stay out and stay alive
Got a job at the rendering plant, it ain't gonna make me rich
In the darkness before dinner comes
Sometimes I can feel the itch
I got a cold mind to go tripping across that thin line
I'm sick of doin' straight time
My uncle's at the evenin' table, makes his living runnin' hot cars
Slips me a hundred dollar bill says
Charlie you best remember who your friends are.
Got a cold mind to go trippin' 'cross that thin line
I ain't makin' straight time
Eight years in it feels like you're gonna die
But you get used to anything
Sooner or later it just becomes your life
Kitchen floor in the evening tossin' my little babies high
Mary's smiling but she's watching me out of the corner of her eye
Seems you can't get any more than half free
I step out onto the front porch and suck the cold air deep inside of me
Got a cold mind to go trippin' 'cross that thin line
I'm sick of doin' straight time
In the basement huntin' gun and a hacksaw
Sip a beer and thirteen inches of barrel drop to the floor
Come home in the evening, can't get the smell from my hands
Lay my head down on the pillow
And go driftin' off into foreign landsback to top
Highway 29
I slipped on her shoe, she was a perfect size 7
I said there's no smokin' in the store ma'amshe crossed her legs and then
We made some small talk that's where it should have stopped
She slipped me her number, I put it in my pocket
My hand slipped up her skirt, everything slipped my mind
In that little roadhouse
On highway 29
It was a small town bank it was a mess
Well I had a gun you know the rest
Money on the floorboards, shirt was covered in blood
And she was cryin', her and me we headed south
On highway 29
In a little desert motel the air was hot and clean
I slept the sleep of the dead, I didn't dream
I woke in the morning, washed my face in the sink
We headed into the sierra madres 'cross the border line
The winter sun shot thru the black trees
I told myself it was all something in her
But as we drove I knew it was something in me
Something that had been comin' for a long time
And something that was here with me now
On highway 29
The road was filled with broken glass and gasoline
She wasn't sayin' nothin', it was just a dream
The wind was coming silent thru the windshield
All I could see was snow, sky and pines
I closed my eyes and was runnin'
I was runnin' then I was flyin'back to top
Youngstown
Here in northeast ohio
Back in eighteen-o-threejames and dan heaton
Found the ore that was linin' yellow creek
They built a blast furnacehere along the shor
And they made the cannonballs
That helped the union win the war
Here in youngstown
Here in youngstown
My sweet jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in youngstown
Well my daddy worked the furnaces
Kept 'em hotter than hell
I come home from 'nam worked my way to scarfer
A job that'd suit the devil as well
Taconite coke and limestone
Fed my children and made my pay
Them smokestacks reachin' like the arms of god
Into a beautiful sky of soot and clay
Here in youngstown
Here in youngstown
My sweet jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in youngstown
Well my daddy come on the ohio works
When he come home from world war two
Now the yard's just scrap and rubble
He said them big boys did what hitler couldn't do.
These mills they built the tanks and bombs
That won this country's wars
We sent our sons to korea and vietnam
Now we're wondering what they were dyin' for
Here in youngstown
Here in youngstown
My sweet jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin'in youngstown
Here in youngstown
From the monongahela valley
To the mesabi iron range
To the coal mines of appalachia
The story's always the same
700 tons of metal a day
Now sir you tell me the world's changed
Once I made you rich enough
Rich enough to forget my name
And youngstown
And youngstown
My sweet jenny I'm sinkin' down
Here darlin' in youngstown
When I die I don't want no part of heaven
I would not do heaven's work well
I pray the devil comes and takes me
To stand in the fiery furnaces of hellback to top
Sinaloa Cowboys
Miguel came from a small town in northern mexico
He came north with his brother luis to california three years ago
They crossed at the river levee when luis was just 16
And found work together in the fields of the san joaquin
They left their friends and family
Their father said my sons one thing you will learn
For everything the north gives it exacts a price in return.
They worked side by side in the orchards
From morning till the day was thru
Doing the work the hueros wouldn't
Word was out some men in from sinaloa were looking for some hands
Well deep in fresno county there was a deserted chicken ranch
There was a small tin shack on the edge of a ravine
Miguel and luis stood cooking methamphetamine
You could spend a year in the orchards
Or make half as much in one ten-hour shift
Working for the men from sinaloa
But if you slipped the hydriodic acid
Could burn right thru your skin
They'd leave you spittin' up blood in the desert
If you breathed those fumes in
It was early one winter evening as miguel stood watch outside
When the shack exploded lighting up the valley night
Miguel carried luis' body over his shoulder down a swale
To the creekside and there in the tall grass luis rosales died
Miguel lifted luis' body into his truck and then he drove
To where the morning sunlight fell on a eucalyptus grove
There in the dirt he dug up 10000 dollars all that they'd saved
Kissed his brother's lips and placed him in his graveback to top
The Line
I got my discharge from fort irwin
Took a place on the san diego county line
Felt funny bein' a civilian again
It'd be some time
My wife had died a year ago
I was still tryin' to find my way back whole
Went to work for the ins on the line
With the california border patrol
Bobby ramirez was a ten year veteran
We became friends
His family was from
Guanajuato
So the job it was different for him
He said they risk death in the deserts and mountains
Pay all they got to the smugglers rings
We send 'em home and they come right back again
Carl hunger is a powerful thing.
Well I was good at doin' what I was to
L'd kept my uniform pressed and clean
At night I chased their shadows
Thru the arroyos and ravines
Drug runners farmers with their families
Young women with little children by their sides
Come night we'd wait out in the canyons
And try to keep 'em from crossin' the line
Well the first time that I saw her
She was in the holdin' pen
Our eyes met and she looked away
Then she looked back again
Her hair was black as coal
Her eyes reminded me of what I'd lost
She had a young child cryin' in her arms
I asked senora is there anything I can do?
There's a bar in tijuana
Where me and bobby drink alongside
The same people we'd sent back the day before
She said her name was louisa
She was from sonora and had just come north
We danced and I held her in my arms
And I knew what I would do
She said she had some family in madera county
If she her child and younger brother could just get thru
At night they come across the levee
In the searchlight's dusty glow
We'd rush 'em in our broncos
Force 'em back down into the river below
She climbed into my truck
She leaned toward me and we kissed
As we drove her brother's shirt slipped open
And I saw the tape across his chest
We were just about on the highway
When bobby's jeep come up in the dust on my right
I pulled over and let my engine run
And stepped out into his lights
I felt myself movin'
My gun restin' 'neath my hand
We stood there starin' at each other
As off thru the arroyo she ran
Bobby ramirez he never said nothin'
6 months later I left the line
I drifted to the central valley
And took what work I could find
At night I searched the local bars
And the migrant towns
Lookin' for my louisa
With the black hair fallin' downback to top
Balboa Park
He lay his blanket underneath the freeway
As the evening sky grew dark
Took a sniff of toncho from his cocaine
And headed thru balboa park
Where the men in their mercedes
Come nightly to employ
In the cool san diego evening
The services of the border boys
He grew up near the zona norte
With the hustlers and smugglers he hung out with
He swallowed their balloons of cocaine
Brought them across to the 12th streetstrip
Sleepin' in a shelter
If the night got to cold
Runnin' from the migra
Of the border patrol
Past the salvage yard 'cross the train tracks
And in thru the storm drain
They stretched their blankets out 'neath the freeway
And each one took a name
There was x-man and cochise
Little spider his sneakers covered in river mud
They come north to california
End up with the poison in their blood
He did what he had to for the money
Sometimes he sent home what he could spare
The rest went to high-top sneakers and toncho
And jeans like the gavachos wear
One night the border patrol swept 12th street
A big car came fast down the boulevard
Spider stood caught in it's headlights
Got hit and went down hard
As the car sped away=20
Spider held his stomachlimped to his blanket 'neath the freeway
Lay there tasting his own blood on his tongue
Closed his eyes and listened to he cars
Rushin' by so fastback to top
Dry Lightning
I threw my robe on in the morning
Watched the ring on the stove turn red
Stared hypnotized into a cup of coffee
Pulled on my boots and made the bed
Screen door hangin' off it's hinges
Kept bangin' me awake all night
As I look out the window
The only thing in site
Is dry lightning on the horizon line
Just dry lightning and and you on my mind
I chased the heat of her blood
Like it was the holy grail
Descend beautiful spirit
Into the evening pale
Her appaloosa's
Kickin' in the corral smelling rain
There's a low thunder rolling'cross the mesquite plain
But there's just dry lightning on the horizon line
It's just dry lightning and and you on my mind
I'd drive down to alvarado street
Where she'd dance to make ends meet
I'd spend the night over my gin
As she'd talk to her men
Well the piss yellow sun
Comes bringin' up the day
She said 'ain't nobody can give nobody
What they really need anyway.'
Well you get so sick of the fightin'
You lose your fear of the end
But I can't lose your memory
And the sweet smell of your skin
And it's just dry lightning on the horizonline
Just dry lightning and and you on my mindback to top
The New Timer
He rode the rails since the great depression
Fifty years out on the skids
He said 'you don't cross nobody
You'll be all right out here kid.'
Left my family in pennsylvania
Searchin' for work I hit the road
I met frank in east texas
In a freight yard blown thru with snow
From new mexico to colorado california to the sea
Frank he showed me the ropes sir=20
Just till I could get back on my feet
I hoed sugar beets outside of firebaugh I picked the peaches from the
Marysville trees
They bunked us in a barn just like animals
Me and a hundred others just like me
We split up come the springtime
I never seen frank again
'cept one rainy night he blew by me on a grainer
Shouted my name and disappeared in the rain and wind
They found him shot dead outside of stockton
His body lyin' on a muddy hill
Nothin' taken nothin' stolen
Somebody killin' just to kill
Late that summer was rollin' thru the plains of texas
A vision passed before my eyes
A small house sittin' trackside
With the glow of the savior's beautiful light
A woman stood cookin' in the kitchen
Kid sat at a table with his old man
Now I wonder does my son miss me
Does he wonder where I am
Tonight I pick my campsite carefully
Outside the sacramento yard
Gather some wood and light a fire
In the early winter dark
Wind whistling cold I pull my coat around me
Heat some coffee and stare out into the black night
I lie awake I lie awake sir
With my machete by my side
My jesus your gracious love and mercy
Tonight I'm sorry could not fill my heart
Like one good rifle
And the name of who I ought to killback to top
Across the Border
Tonight my bag is packed
Tomorrow I'll walk these tracks
That will lead me across the border
Tomorrow my love and I will sleep 'neath auburn skies
Somewhere across the border
We'll leave behind my dear
The pain and sadness we found here
And we'll drink from the bravo's muddy water
Where the sky grows grey and wide
We'll meet on the other side
There across the border
For you I'll build a house
High upon a grassy hill
Somewhere across the border
Where pain and memory
Pain and memory have been stilled
There across the border
And sweet blossoms fill the air
Pastures of gold and green
Roll down into cool clear waters
And in your arms 'neath open skies
I'll kiss the sorrow from your eyes
There across the border
Tonight we'll sing the songs
I'll dream of you my coraz_n
And tomorrow my heart will be strong
And may the saints' blessing and grace
Carry me safely into your arms
There across the border
For what are we
Without hope in our hearts
That someday we'll drink from god's blessed waters
And eat the fruit from the vine
I know love and fortune will be mine
Somewhere across the borderback to top
Galveston Bay
For 15 years le bin sonfought side by side with the americans
In the mountains and deltas
Of vietnamin '75 saigon fell and he left his command
And brought his family to the promised land
Seabrook, texas and the small towns in the gulf of mexico
It was delta country and reminded him of home
He worked as a machinist, put his money away
And bought a shrimp boat with his cousin
And together they harvested galveston bay
In the mornin' 'fore the sun come up
He'd kiss his sleepin' daughter
Steer out thru thechannel
And cast his nets into the water
Billy sutter fought with charlie company
In the highlands of quang tri
He was wounded in the battle of chu lai
Shipped home in '68
There he married and worked the gulf fishing grounds
In a boat that'd been his father's
In the morning he'd kiss his sleeping son
And cast his nets into the water
Billy sat in front of his tv as the south fell
And the communists rolled into saigon
He and his friends watched as the refugees came
Settled on the same streets and worked the coast they'd grew up on
Soon in the bars around the harbor was talk
Of america for the americans
Someone said 'you want 'em out, you got to burn 'em out.'
And brought in the texas klan
One humid texas night there were 3 shadows on the harbor
Come to burn the vietnamese into the sea
In the fire's light shots rang out
2 texans lay dead on the ground
Le stood with a pistol in his hand
A jury acquitted him in self-defense
As before the judge he did stand
But as le walked down the courthouse steps
Billy said 'my friend you're a dead man.'
One late summer night le stood watch along the waterside
Billy stood in the shadows
His k-bar knife in his hand
And the moon slipped behind the clouds
Le lit a cigarette, the bay was still as glass
As he walked by billy stuck his knife into his pocket
Took a breath and let him pass
In the early darkness billy rose up
Went into the kitchen for a drink of water
Kissed his sleeping wife
Headed into the channel
And cast his nets into the water
Of galveston bayback to top
My Best Was Never Good Enough
'every cloud has a silver lining, every dog has his day.
'she said 'now don't say nothin'
If you don't have something nice to say
The tough now they get going when the going gets
Tough.'
But for you my best was never good enough
'now don't try for a home run baby
If you can get the job done with a hit
Remember a quitter never wins
And a winner never quits
The sun don't shine on a sleepin' dog's ass.'
And all the rest of that stuff
But for you my best was never good enough
'if God gives you nothin' but lemons then you make some lemonade
The early bird catches the fuckin' worm,=20
Rome wasn't built in a day
Now life's like a box of chocolatesyou never know what you're going to get
Stupid is as stupid does' and the rest of that shit
Come on pretty baby call my bluff
'cause for you my best was never good enoughback to top
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