Straight Lines

1. New York Central Yard

Lyrics and Music: Dave Gordon;
1978 Gina Kay Landis


Vocal and Guitar: Mike Agranoff
Upright bass:Marco Brehm

Dave Gordon is a treasure trove to a singer-songfinder like me. He toured with his wife Kay in the early 80s before he finally succumbed to a degenerative neurological disease he suffered from since youth, which left him blind. He left a legacy of 5 LPs full of brilliant songs that never got the distribution they deserved, and so are virtually unknown today. I particularly appreciate the craft in his writing. Every rhyme is perfect. Everything scans perfectly. There is not a misplaced syllable in his entire works.

1.
Trains roll in, trains roll out.
That's what the life in a railroad yard is all about.
We load 'em up and ship 'em out to each midwestern town.
And they say that I won't have a job if the price of corn goes down.
But the first red streaks were in the east as I punched in,
And the moon will be above the maple tree 'fore I get home again.
And the goons have said they're gonna bust my head if they catch me with a union card.
Such is the life of a section hand in the New York Central Yard.

2.
There's a woman, old and grey.
Sits down by the loading platform every day.
Waitin' for the Portsmouth train to bring her boy from war.
But for 14 years the Portsmouth train don't stop here anymore.
And I guess her ghost will haunt her post when she is gone.
And my arms get heavy and my back gets sore as the afternoon wears on.
And the work ain't always easy, but it's seldom far from hard.
Such is the life of a section hand in the New York Central Yard.

3.
Dutch McGann, I knew him well.
Switch engine gave a jerk...Old Dutch he slipped and fell.
And all he'd left to show for a life that's worked away
Was a sickly wife, three hungry kids, and a mortgage they can't pay.
But they gave us three hours of free time, and a box of pine.
So we dug his grave and laid him in down by the outbound line.
And oftimes I've sat, and I've tipped my hat to my one-time good old pard.
Such is the life of a section hand in the New York Central Yard.

4.
Gonna move out west. Stake my claim.
Dig myself a homestead and forget my name.
Steal me an engine just to see how fast she'll go.
Watch them drivers tear up track and hear that whistle blow.
But the first red streaks were in the east when I punched in.
And the moon will be over the maple tree 'fore I get home again.
And the roof needs fixing. The kids need shoes. Molly needs a bucket of lard.
Such is the life of a section hand in the New York Central Yard.