Fatherless Son

Song Notes

TK/Maribeth Derry
©1993

–One morning in LA I woke up late at my publisher Bo Goldsen’s house. I stumbled into the kitchen to look for coffee and noticed on the counter a typed lyric written by Bo’s talented wife Maribeth Derry. I read it down and was floored. I went back to my room for my guitar, sat down with the words, and a couple of hours later this song was done.

When Maribeth got home I asked her about the lyric, praying it didn’t belong to a finished song, and I was immensely relieved when she said she’d left it there hoping I’d see it and work on it.

She told me she’d seen a documentary about gang violence in LA, and she’d been startled to hear that virtually all of the boys in gangs have no father living at home. As a former single mother, Maribeth was impressed by the challenge that poses for young men. As a once-fatherless son myself who’d done some reckless living, I strongly related.

This is still a special one for me. I’d love for more of the world to hear it-I think it offers something worthwhile—but I wonder if maybe it’s a too complicated for a mainstream artist.

Got his snakeskin boots and his steel guitar
A ring with his initials, that’s all his daddy left him
When he set out driving a cold blue dawn

Got a half-moon scar where his mama’s new boyfriend
Taught him how to watch his mouth, a wound the size of Texas
No one ever wanted to talk about

Ain’t it true boy in this old world no one hangs around too long?
Were the heroes you looked up to just out for number one?

Outside his window tonight he cuts the screen
The boys are looking for a fight
Running wild and mean
The stage is set, the street swept clean
And wrong is close enough to right
You can see his hands shaking
He’s loading his gun
A hurt this big gotta hurt someone
It can’t be fooled or outrun
He’s a Fatherless Son

There’s an old blue Dodge sittin’ back in the yard
Daddy always meant to fix, took a hammer and a black crowbar
Bashed that baby, just for kicks

And there’s a cold wind rising off the desert floor
A sign of things to come, the wheel of war in motion
Rolling ‘cross the border of a heart so young

There’s a road laid at his feet, the wind is at his back
He’s racing like an eagle straight down the track

Outside his window tonight he spreads his wings
The boys are looking for a fight
Running wild and mean
The stage is set, the street swept clean
And wrong is close enough to right
You can see his hands shaking, he’s aiming his gun
A hurt this big gotta hurt someone
It can’t be fooled or outrun
He’s a Fatherless Son

words & music: Tom Kimmel & Maribeth Derry
©1993 Marada Music USA/Drala Music (admin. by Criterion Music Corp.)/Global Music USA (admin. by Chrysalis Music) (ASCAP)

Comments are closed.