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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Lori 900 Miles/500 miles (50) RE: 900 Miles/500 miles 18 Dec 01


There's a whole family of "I Can't Go Back Home This-a-Way" songs of which Hedy West's "500 Miles," Woody Guthrie and Cisco Houston's "900 Miles," and everybody's "Reuben's Train" are members. So is "I Can't Feed My Family This-a-Way," sung by the late Rev. Fred Kirkpatrick (affectionately known as Brother Kirk).

Here is how I sing it, in the key of D with an F# in the scale, as would be expected, but with a C natural rather than a C#.

It's been years since I left home,
And I've been a railroad bum,
And I never got a letter from my home,
Till a letter finally came,
Saying take the very next train,
Saying, son [girl], it's time for you to come on home.

It said your mama's dead and gone,
And your sister has gone wrong,
Saying, son [girl], it's time for you to come on home.

Not a shirt on my back,
Not a dollar to my name,
Lord, I can't go back home this-a-way.

This-a-way, this-a-way,
This-a-way, this-a-way,
Lord, I can't go back home this-a-way.

So, I'm walking down the track,
I got tears in my eyes,
I'm trying to read that letter from my home,
If the train runs me right,
I'll be home tomorrow night,
'Cause I'm nine hundreds miles from my home.

Nine hundred miles, nine hundred miles,
Nine hundred miles, nine hundred miles,
'Cause I'm nine hundred miles from my home.


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