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Waylon Jennings – San Francisco Mabel Joy lyrics

(Mickey Newbury)
His daddy was an honest man a red dirt Georgia farmer
His mama lived her young life having kids and bailing hay
He had fifteen years and an ache inside to wander
Jumped a freight in Waycross and wound up in la.
The cold nights had no pity on that Waycross Georgia farm boy
Most days he went hungry then the summer came
He met a girl known on the Strip as San Francisco's Mabel Joy
Destitution's child born on an la street called Shame.
Growing up came quietly in the arms of Mabel Joy
Laughter found the mornings that brought the meaning to his life
Night before she left sleep came and found that Waycross country boy
With dreams of Georgia cotton and a California wife.
Sunday morning found him neath the red light at her door
A right cross sent him reelin' and put him face down on the floor
In place of Mabel Joy he found a merchant mad marine
He said your Georgia neck is red but Sonny you're still green.
He turned twenty one in a grey rock Federal prison
The judge had no mercy on this Waycross Georgia boy
Starin' at those four grey walls in silnce Lord he'd listen
To the midnight freight he knew could take him back to Mabel Joy.
Sunday morning found him neath the red light at her door
With a bullet in his side he cried have you seen Mabel Joy
Stunned and shaken someone said she don't live here no more
She left this house four years ago she was lookin' for some Georgia farm boy...

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    It's about learning, or not learning, life's lessons the hard way. About a kid falling in love with a hooker, and all the inherent heartache that comes with being "green". It's sad, because the georgia farm boy doesn't get the chance to benefit from knowledge he should have gained. He dies chasing the thing that did him the most harm-mabel joy herself. Great song, liked mickey newbury's version, but think david allan coe's version was even better, even though coe took some liberties with the arrangement.
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