One World

Song Notes

TK
©1991

–Twenty-five years ago a roommate’s girlfriend asked me to be pen pals with a guy in prison-someone who had no family or friends to visit. Soon I was visiting him at the Tennessee State Penitentiary, and I continued to visit and correspond with him for the next eighteen years.

My time at the prison had a profound effect on me as I became increasingly aware that our prisons are filled with people from difficult backgrounds and of little means-often people of color, lacking in education and other advantages-and all too often mentally ill.

I began to see, too, how not-so-very-different from me the inmates were-and to see how easily I could’ve been one of them under other circumstances. I began, too, to observe how unaware most people on the outside are of the enormity of our criminal justice system-and to notice how rarely most of us think of the men and women behind bars. My education has been a long, slow and continuing process, and I think this song is a expression of that process for me.

["One World" was featured in a movie-of-the-week story of Princess Diana’s affair with her riding instructor. Thankfully after the Princess’s death it stopped being aired!]

Sittin’ down to write this letter
Maybe you forgot about me
Twenty-seven years this summer
They threw away the jailhouse key
Twenty-seven years of hopin’
Says a lot about despair
Livin’ where the law is broken
And lookin’ at the trouble out there

Twenty seven years of hours
Time enough to rattle my chains
But take a look around us
And brother one thing is plain

We are down to One World
We’re standing in the same bread line
We are down to One World
Even if it takes all kinds

Well maybe I’m a gangland killer
Maybe you’re a minister’s wife
Maybe I’m a pawn shop lender
Sellin’ off another man’s life
Maybe you’re a race car driver
Runnin’ into wreckage and flames
And maybe I’m a firefighter
Tryin’ to make you breathe again

Maybe you’re a small town banker
Tryin’ to keep a friend afloat
And maybe I’m a hack songwriter
Stealin’ what another man wrote

We are down to One World
We’re standing in the same bread line
We are down to One World
Even if it takes all kinds

Common ground is the word
We’re runnin’ for the same lifeboat
Comin’ down to One World
And reachin’ for the same high note

Well what about your brother sleepin’ in the subway?
And what about the sister beggin’ for your spare change?
Well maybe he was never your problem
And she was never our concern
Well how were we forgotten?
How we gonna wait our turn?

Well maybe you’re a Wall Street broker
Winnin’ in a high stakes game
And maybe I’m a Dust Bowl farmer
Prayin’ for a little more rain
Maybe you’re a cocaine runner
Breakin’ the bank to make bail
And maybe I’m a TV preacher
Countin’ the checks in my mail

Maybe you’re a third world doctor
Running out of medicine, water and hope
And maybe I’m a million dollar opera singer
Worried ‘bout a catch in my throat

We are down to One World
We’re standing in the firing line
We are down to One World
Even if it takes all kinds
Common ground is the word
We’re runnin’ for the same lifeboat
Comin’ down to One World
And reachin’ for the same high note

words & music: Tom Kimmel
©1991 Marada Music / Drala Music (admin. By Criterion Music Corp.) / Global Music (admin. by Chrysalis Music) (ASCAP)
(Previously unreleased recording)
Featured in the made-for-TV movie Princess in Love, as performed by TK

Produced, recorded & mixed by Ray Kennedy at Room & Board (Nashville)

Tom Kimmel – vocal, guitar
Ray Kennedy – resophonic guitar, keyboard
Brad Smith – drums & percussion
Glenn Worf – bass
James Hooker – Hammond B3

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