it was the army train that took her daddy from her
it was the bible train that took her momma, too
and that high loud whistle made her horse run away
but the straw the broke the camel's back was you

it was the government train that took away her childhood
it was the kkk that took away her past
it was the white man's will that hers be broken
but that barefoot girl could run too fast

because the world's too cold for a girl like that
with a blackfoot soul, and a cowboy hat
everything she loved went down the dragon track
she had a fear of trains

In the beet fields of montana
she's always coming on dead rails
to break the plow and whisper:
"honey, bound to live is bound to fail,"
and in a park in san francisco
her momma shrieks about the lord
and down the dead rails there's an echo
the wind is whistling "all aboard!"

it was the wagon train that took away her country
it was the oil train that took away her land
and she could have been the belle of the ponderosa
but that was not the fat man's plan


Lyrics submitted by delial

Fear Of Trains song meanings
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7 Comments

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  • -1
    General CommentGreat song. Maybe the girl is a metaphor for the whole blackfoot nation. I'm not sure.
    Kaguthon December 19, 2005   Link
  • -1
    General CommentGreat song. Maybe the girl is a metaphor for the whole blackfoot nation. I'm not sure.
    Kaguthon December 19, 2005   Link
  • -1
    General CommentGreat song. Maybe the girl is a metaphor for the whole blackfoot nation. I'm not sure.
    Kaguthon December 19, 2005   Link
  • -1
    General CommentWhy does that keep happening?
    Kaguthon January 19, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI feel like the idea that "the straw that broke the camel's back was you" goes unexplored in the song. What did I do to her?

    Also: I am a big fan of the phrasing in "her momma shrieks about the lord."
    judahnielsenon November 21, 2006   Link
  • -1
    General CommentI've always wondered about that line too. Maybe what Steve Merrit is saying is that white America as a whole (ie you, the listening audience) are all in a small part responsible for the violence done to the Blackfoot (and other) nations, for example by living off the gains from it but not acknowledging it.
    neiledwardon August 13, 2007   Link
  • -1
    General CommentJust downloaded this after not hearing it for years.

    Whew. It's utterly great. And yes, I think it's about one person suffering as an entire tribe (nation, really) suffered from the coming of the 'fat man'. But like others, I'm puzzled by "the straw that broke the camel's back was you' because it seems so personal. Perhaps it just fitted well.

    His deadpan delivery is a bit like Lou Reed's, and I am so pleased I rediscovered it.
    uffyon September 20, 2009   Link

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