Long Way From Home

My father owned some records I latched onto when I was young. The albums included Sam Cooke, The Beatles, Patsy Cline, and Peter, Paul, and Mary. These musicians were my musical heritage from both my parents and grandparents along with Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young; Jim Croce; Connie Francis; The Ink Spots; and The Platters. I listen to them even now. This song was my first favorite of my own generation.

I was a real quiet kid–I kept to myself with books and music. I sat with the school secretary in junior high when everyone went out to recess. Music was my refuge. As Freddie Mercury sang, “Everything/I had to know/I learned it on the radio.”

The Peter, Paul, and Mary album was particularly meaningful to me during this time as it was furtive and melancholy, matching my timidity. The music was also charged with political and emotional currents that I didn’t yet understand. My favorite song was “Early Morning Rain,” a song written by Gordon Lightfoot.

This song is heavy, wry, and about a traveler’s life away from loved ones. Raw with weariness. I’m always captured by the line, “Now I’m stuck here on the grass, where the pavement never grows.” This song is my “long distance request and dedication” for everyone miles away from those they love. Or for those whose lifeline to the world was the radio.



Filed under Music

5 responses to “Long Way From Home

  1. I really love this song. Usually, I sorta cringe with white folk music, but there’s something really timeless and satisfying about this song. By the way, I really love how personal this entry is. I think you’re on your way SLIBA to finding your own audacious voice in blogville. This seems like a really great start.

    Sidenote: it’s funny how cramped the three of them are on stage, with all those boxes stacked up everywhere.

    I felt sort of bad for the bassist playing in the dark beside them.

  2. Aunt Debbie

    Hi Sweetie,

    How ironic…..when I was your age, I would sit alone in my living room and listen to Gordon Lightfoot’s albums.

    “Early Morning Rain” was a favorite of mine.

    “In the early morning rain
    With a dollar in my hand
    With an achin’ in my heart
    And my pockets full of sand
    Im a long way from home
    And I miss my loved ones so
    Out on runway number nine
    Big seven-o-seven set to go
    But Im stuck here in the grass
    Where the cold wind blows
    Now the liquor tasted good
    And the women all were fast
    Well, there she goes my friend
    Well, she’s rollin down at last”

    I don’t know why those lyrics stuck in my head so, but I sure enjoyed sitting there with a glass of wine, listening to the song.

    Miss you very much, Sweetie.

  3. jantango

    My sister and I were such fans of Peter, Paul and Mary that we bought their song book and a guitar. I learned how to play the chords for “If I had a hammer,….” and we sang it in two-part harmony. We waited for hours on unreserved seating before their concert on a hot summer night at the Ravinia Festival, north of Chicago. It was worth it.

  4. Jorely

    Beautiful song. . . I was just thinking how homesick I was for sunny Southern California.

  5. Mom

    Your blog is so melancholy! I wish you’d come home! I liked music a lot when I was young, but as you get older, you don’t remember who sang what, or the words to songs you used to like!! Nice entry!

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