Lyr Add: Len Chandler, The Bus Driver
BEANS IN MY EARS
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Subject: Lyr Add: Len Chandler, The Bus Driver|
Date: 25 Jul 13 - 09:51 PM
Len Chandler wrote and performed, but apparently never recorded, a song called The Bus Driver. Bob Dylan later used the tune for Ballad of Emmett Till. I found the Chandler lyrics on a Dylan fansite. I have left in the "musical instructions".
December 15th of '61, yes just the other day,
I read the morning paper to see what it did say.
The picture on the front page, it struck my heart with woe,
I saw two women standin' by a dead child in the snow.
One woman lifted a blanket to see a dead child's face.
Some books, some boots, some Christmas cards were scattered 'round the place.
Another one, she hid her eyes, she could not bear to see,
Sayin', "Tell me," to her neighbor, "does this child belong to me?"
Still another one, she hid her eyes, she could not bear to look
At the torn paper lunch bag and the bloodstained spellin' book.
While at the bottom of the page, here's what it said to me:
"More pictures on the centerfold, see story on page three."
That Union Pacific Headliner came cannonballin' down,
Runnin' 79 miles an hour, for Denver she was bound,
She was comin' from Chicago, runnin' 90 minutes late,
And at Greeley, Colorado, 20 children met their fate.
Herbert Sommers was the engineer of that southbound passenger train,
He saw the schoolbus on the tracks and tried to stop in vain.
He said the bus rolled on the tracks right after it slowed down,
Now twisted steel and broken lives lie on the frozen ground.
Said Sommers, "I am 64 and there's nothin' I could do.
And I've been on this same railroad since I was 22."
Duane Harms, the driver of the bus, said "I am 23,
I've been drivin' since September, yes this job's quite new to me."
"I think I stopped, I usually do." That's what the driver said.
And in the Armory of the National Guard lay 20 children dead.
"Don't question him, he's deep in shock." I heard a doctor say,
A mother stood and stared a while, turned her back and walked away.
If Duane had stopped the bus that day, each child would be alive,
But the guilty are the men who gave Duane Harms that bus to drive,
The guilty are the men who signed him on the job that day,
But innocent or guilty, it is Duane Harms who must pay.
They booked him on the charge, and I read on down to see,
If the jury found him guilty, what his penalty would be.
Well, the jury found him guilty and the evidence was clear.
The jury did convict him, but his sentence was one year.