Stones In The Road

Album: Play Me Backwards (1992)
  • When we were young, we pledged allegiance
    Every morning of our lives
    The classroom rang with children's voices
    Under teacher's watchful eye
    We learned about the world around us
    At our desks and at dinnertime
    Reminded of the starving children
    Cleaned our plates with guilty minds

    The stones in the road
    We played like marbles in the dust
    Until a voice called for us
    To make our way back home
    The stones in the road

    When I was ten, my father held me
    On his shoulders above the crowd
    To see a train draped in mourning
    Pass slowly through our town
    His widow kneeled with all her children
    At the sacred burial ground
    And the TV glowed that long hot summer
    With all the cities burning down

    And the stones in the road
    Flew out from our bicycle tires
    Worlds removed from all those fires as we raced
    Each other home
    The stones in the road

    Stones

    And now we drink our coffee on the run
    Climb that ladder rung by rung
    We are the daughters and the sons
    But here's the line that's missing

    The starving children have been replaced
    By souls out on the street
    We give a dollar when we pass
    And hope our eyes don't meet
    We pencil in, we cancel out
    We crave the corner suite
    We kiss your ass
    We make you hold, we doctor the receipt

    Stones in the road
    Flew out from beneath our wheels
    Another day, another deal, before we get back home

    The stones in the road
    Leave a mark from whence they came
    A thousand points of light or shame
    Baby, I don't know

    Stones in the road

    Stones

    In the road Writer/s: MARY CARPENTER, MARY CHAPIN CARPENTER
    Publisher: Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC
    Lyrics licensed and provided by LyricFind

Comments: 5

  • Arthur Fallowfield from Northants England.The funeral train was that of Bobby Kennedy which is pivotal to the song.
  • Matt from Clveland, OhSince MCC wrote the music and lyrics, most people would consider it wrong to say that another artist's cover cover would be superior, considering that the writer of the song is presenting the song as it was intended. While there is nothing wrong with Baez's version, Carpetner's version surpasses it every way.
  • Rich from Portsmouth, NhAs a Freshman I used to go down to the music room in our dorm--there was a scratchy scratchy copy of Farewell Angelina.
    Still, the stories + voice were poignant.
  • Alexander from London, United KingdomNot so clear to this Limey although I suppose it should have been, especially as I'm one of those rare types who believe Kennedy was murdered by Oswald rather than some airy fairy fanciful conspiracy.
  • Marina from Baltimore, MdThe "enigmatic funeral procession" was not due to the Vietnam War and not enigmatic at all. It was clearly a reference to the train carrying Robert Kennedy's body from New York to Washington. (Search YouTube for footage of the crowds that gathered spontaneously along the railroad tracks to pay homage, as Mary Chapin Carpenter's family evidently did). The widow who "kneeled with all their children" was Ethel Kennedy, then pregnant with her and RFK's 11th child. The second verse really works better with MCC singing it, because it recounts the tumultuous events of 1968 (both RFK's assassination and the riots following MLK's assassination) from the perspective of a 10-year-old child, which Mary was (Joan Baez was already a 27 year old folk goddess). The song is MCC's lament that her generation lost two important heroes that year, but it is also a plea to her peers not to sell out completely and abandon the ideals those men stood for.
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