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Dickey Lee – Patches lyrics

Down by the river that flows by the coal yards stand wooden houses with shutters torn down. There lives a girl everybody calls Patches. Patches my darling of old Shantytown.

We planned to marry when June brought the summer I couldn't wait to make Patches my bride now I don't see how that ever can happen. My folks say no and my heart breaks inside.

Patches oh what can I do I swear I'll always love you but a girl from that place would just bring me disgrace so my folks won't let me love you.

Each night I cry as I think of that shanty and pretty patches there watching the door. She doesn't know that I can't come to see her Patches must think that I love her no more.

I hear a neighbor telling my father he says a girl name of Patches was found floating face down in that dirty old river that flows by the coal yards in old Shantytown.

Patches oh what can I do I swear I'll always love you. It may not be right but I'll join you tonight. Patches I'm coming to you.

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Music Facts about Dickey Lee and "Patches" song

Patches meanings

  • u
    Yes you are right suicide is not the answer. This was and is my husband and I's song. I was on the other side of the track and we were both poor. What separated us was he is white and I am Native American and not only that we were young. His mother and grandmother did not want us to get married. This song humble us because it reminds us where we both come from and we do not want to forget that. Yes thank goodness my wonderful husband did not listen to his family, my family was great about us getting married. Yes we were young but we both worked together to get where we are now. We are still married, successfully and happily too. Our love for each other grows more everyday. It is our love story with a happy ending.
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  • u
    Such a sad song, I remember it so well from junior high dances in the 60's. It was one of the "slow" dances that was always played. It was then, we I only beginning to get interesed in the opposite s**, that my very wise and loving grandmother told me to always, always remember that no person, or love lost, is worth taking own your life. Your broken heart will mend and new love will be found. Suicide is the ultimate selfish act, and is devastasting to those left in its wake. How could anyone do that to the people they say they love.
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  • r
    I consider it a pitiful shame when people are so image ridden that they act like the folks in that song. It gets even more unexcusable when those people force others to obey this. As a result, good innocent people get discriminated against through no fault of their own, for example, Patches got discriminated against because she was poor, and raised by a family who probably did their best with very little to work with. If this were a true story, it would have been terrible for the fellow to plan to take his own life. But look at the pain he was hit with. He could have had a beautiful relationship with precious Patches and if this was what they wanted, he should have made it happen. He deserved to have this if the two wanted it. People in the situation that the fellow in the song was, please take a stand for not who is right but for WHAT is right. Don't listen to those image ridden people who put these material ideas before love, heart and living being"s rights. You don't owe any respect to those ideas no matter WHO they come from. And you owe no apology to the people with those ideas. They owe you the apology. They owe the person they discriminated about an apology. It's time for them to grow up and even if they don't grow up, you take the stand regardless what anyone thinks!
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  • u
    My experience is the same as that of “Unregistered,” above. Patches was a staple at YMCA dances when I was in middle school. I knew it was a sad song, but I don’t remember if I was especially touched by it. (I was young, after all.) Reading it now, I see the pathos (bathos?) of it.
    Recommendation: Sylvia’s Mother (1972) by Dr. Hook and the Medicine Show. Talk about bathos.
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  • u
    Yeah he loved her all right. NOT. When grounded by his father, he obeyed. So she kills herself because he doesn't have the guts to go and see her, to at least let her know what's happening. Leaves her hanging.
    I first heard this song when I was 13 yrs old. I thought that then, and I think that now.
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