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A song that appeared in American folk music in the early 1960s; it was written by Hedy West first, but everyone says the first recording is from The Journeymen. I wonder why West didn't get the first recording. Maybe she was busy writing down songs from Appalachia at that time.

In any case, it's based on an earlier song, "900 miles", with the tune taken from another, even older song, "Reuben's Train."

 

If you miss the train I'm on,

You will know that I am gone,

You can hear the whistle blow, a hundred miles.

A hundred miles, a hundred miles,

A hundred miles, a hundred miles,

You can hear the whistle blow a hundred miles.

 

Not a shirt on my back,

Not a penny 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.

 

Lord I'm one, lord I'm two,

Lord I'm three, Lord I'm four,

Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home.

Away from home, away from home,

Away from home, away from home,

Lord I'm five hundred miles from my home.

 


 

Here's Hedy West singing it, with lyrics a little different than I'm used to. The Kingston Trio did the version I know best. They were baiscally working off the Journeymen cover. It must have been the Journeymen that changed the tune from Hedy's upbeat song to something sad --

so now it sounds like something you sing if you're a convict on a bus heading to a jail far away,

or a grad student preparing to get out of school and find a job somewhere, like me.

All I ever wanted to do was go home.


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