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​The Open Road Song

This song is by Peter Case and appears on the album Let Us Now Praise Sleepy John (2007).

Case

On the ragged wooded outskirts of the city
Where the ancient elevators store the grain
And the long lake boats that used to haul the metal
Are in the dock and rusting with the rain

There's a maritime supply beneath the skyway
My father took me there to buy a rope
The store is dark and jammed with all you needed
On a journey bound for the Cape of Good Hope

I'll seek my fortune in the wide world
Take my chances in the cold
Come what may I'll be okay
If I could only find a stretch of open road

A mysterious figure passes on the sidewalk
In ragged clothes, father I say, "How come?"
He wears several dirty jackets and a topcoat
My father nods and says, "Son, that man's a bum"

I looked again and saw the rapt expression
'Neath a floppy hat he tipped back with his thumb
The aura of a world's ragtime adventure
I said, "When I grow up I want to be a bum"

I'll seek my fortune in the wide world
Take my chances in the cold
Come what may I'll be okay
If I could only find a stretch of open road

Now I'm traveling a world that's filled with war zones
Listening to music we've destroyed
Praying to a God who's just a tyrant
For work that's just like being unemployed

Eating food that's pumped with fat and water
Reading books with nothing on the page
Sittin' in the dark to watch a picture
You're better hungry watchin' a bare stage

I'll seek my fortune in the wide world
Take my chances in the cold
Come what may I'll be okay
Somewhere there's a stretch of open road