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Song For A Deck Hand's Daughter

This song is by James McMurtry and appears on the album Too Long In The Wasteland (1989).


He'd always whistle Jolie Blonde
On his way out the back door on a Friday night
So many times he just stayed gone
Rarely did he try to treat your mama right
Shut off the tractor with the field half mowed
Set the brake and headed down the road
Came home for Christmas
Never said where he'd been
With No presents for the children
Only stories for the men
Still your mama called him daddy
She never told him no
Said she couldn't help but love him
You wondered how it could be so
He'd work two weeks out on a river barge
She worked in the factory never missed a day
He'd spend his week off holding up the bar
Never took him long to drink a deckhand's pay
Wind off the river
Cut the lines on his face
And left him dreaming of some other place
Maybe Memphis town or Baton Rouge
When it's cold in Cape Girardeau
There's nothing much to do
And if his suitcase wasn't standing in the hall
He might not be coming home at all
And all the sides of him you never knew before
Would be drifting down the river to another back door

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