"San Francisco Mabel Joy" as written by and Mickey Newbury....
His daddy was a simple man, just a red dirt Georgia farmer
And his momma spent her young live havin´ kids and balin´ hay
He had fifteen years and an ache inside to wander
So he hopped a freight in Waycross and wound up in L.A.

Lord, the cold nights had no pity on a Waycross, Georgia farm boy
Most days he went hungry then the summer came
He met a girl known on the strip as San Francisco´s Mabel Joy
Destitution´s child born of an L.A. street called "Shame"

Growin´ up came quietly in the arms of Mabel Joy
Laughter found their mornings brought meaning to his life
Yes the night before she left sleep came and left that
Waycross, Georgia boy with dreams of Georgia cotton and a California wife

Sonday morning found him standin´ ´neath the red light at her door
When a right cross sent him reelin´ put him face down on the floor
In place of Mabel Joy he found a merchant mad marine
Who growled, "Your Georgia neck is red but sunny, you´re still green"

He turned twenty-one in a grey rock fed´ral prison
The old judge had no mercy for a Waycross, Georgia boy
Starin´ at those four grey walls in silence he would listen
To that midnight freight he knew would take him back to Mabel Joy

Sunday morning´ found him standin´ ´neath the red light at her door
With a bullet in his side, he cried, "Have you seen Mabel Joy?"
Stunned and shaken someone said, "Why she´s not here no more
She left this house four years today, they say she´s lookin´ for some Georgia farm boy"


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"San Francisco Mabel Joy" as written by Mickey Newbury

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    General CommentWhile most of the song is self-explanatory, I am always confused by the sentence that sent him to prison. Did he fight the merchant marine and kill him, or at the time, was it a prison term for adultery? I think it is the former, but, if that was the case, why didn't Mabel Joy know what had happened to him? I suppose I'm trying to delve too deeply into the song, but it is so tragic, I can't not dive into it.
    thebigjaybirdon April 18, 2014   Link

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