The Blue Train

Song Notes

TK/Jennifer Kimball

©1988

–Jennifer called from LA one day to say she had an idea she wanted to write with me. I loved the title, and I wrote a verse and chorus, sang it into a cassette and mailed it to her. She then called to say she loved my verse, but that she had a different idea for a chorus feel. Good thing-hers was much better than mine! Shortly after that she came to town and we wrote the bridge together-the first time we’d seen each other since we’d begun the song.

Maura O’Connell recorded it first-a lovely rendition in her inimitable fashion-then Linda Ronstadt had an Adult Contemporary hit with it. Later she also recorded it with Emmylou Harris and Dolly Parton for the second Trio album.

I once asked a friend who’d just written a big country hit why he thought it was that a country artist had never recorded the song. "Because," he said, "it’s all metaphor. In Nashville you can use metaphor, but if you do there’s also got to be a literal meaning. So if you’re riding the Blue Train, you need to be riding it into Memphis."

Watching the long faces riding this run-down track
And the lost places from a dream that never brings them back
And the sad truth is nothing but a cold, hard fact

I’m riding the blue train over the miles yet to cover
A ghost in a hurry to fade
I’m taking it one way to nowhere
Afraid you might be there
To find me inside this blue train

Counting the burned bridges trailing this rusted wreck
As our back pages scatter in the dust we left
Like a pearl necklace falling from around your neck

I’m riding the blue train over the miles yet to cover
A ghost in a hurry to fade
I’m taking it one way to nowhere
Afraid you might be there
To find me inside this blue train

Away… down the low road
A ticket to an empty room, a rendezvous unknown

I’m riding the blue train over the miles yet to cover
A ghost in a hurry to fade
I’m taking it one way to nowhere
Afraid you might be there
To find me inside this blue train

words & music: Tom Kimmel & Jennifer Kimball
©1988 Criterion Music Corp./Morrissette Music/Colgems-EMI Music, Inc./Sweet Angel Music (ASCAP)

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