"Carey" as written by and Joni Mitchell....
The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn't sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here Carey
But it's really not my home
My fingernails are filthy
I've got beach tar on my feet
And I miss my clean white linen and my fancy French cologne

Oh Carey get out your cane (Carey get out your cane)
And I'll put on some silver (I'll put on some silver)
Oh you're a mean old Daddy, but I like you fine

Come on down to the Mermaid Cafe
And I will buy you a bottle of wine
And we'll laugh and toast to nothing and
Smash our empty glasses down
Let's have a round for these freaks and these soldiers
A round for these friends of mine
Let's have another round for the bright red devil, who
Keeps me in this tourist town

Come on Carey get out your cane (Carey get out your cane)
And I'll put on some silver (I'll put on some silver)
Oh you're a mean old Daddy, but I like you
I like you, I like you, I like you

Maybe I'll go to Amsterdam
Or maybe I'll go to Rome
And rent me a grand piano and put some flowers 'round my room
But let's not talk about fare-thee-wells now
The night is a starry dome
And they're playin' that scratchy rock and roll
Beneath the Matalla Moon

Come on Carey get out your cane (Carey get out your cane)
And I'll put on some silver (I'll put on some silver)
You're a mean old Daddy, but I like you

The wind is in from Africa
Last night I couldn't sleep
Oh, you know it sure is hard to leave here, but it's
Really not my home
Maybe it's been too long a time since I was
Scramblin' down in the street
Now they got me used to that clean white linen and that
Fancy French cologne

Oh Carey, get out your cane (Carey get out your cane)
I'll put on my finest silver (I'll put on some silver)
We'll go to the Mermaid Cafe, have fun tonight
I said, oh, you're a mean old Daddy, but you're out of sight

Lyrics submitted by wingedsorceress

"Carey" as written by Joni Mitchell

Lyrics © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Crazy Crow Music / Siquomb Music Publishing

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

Carey song meanings
Add your thoughts


sort form View by:
  • +2
    General CommentJoni is one of few truly great singer-songwriters. Apart from her unique playing style, what sets her apart from most, is how directly she communicates her feelings and the way that she shares with you images of places and people.

    Carey covers a time when traveling in Europe - specifically here the island of Crete near the town of Matala. (I think the lyric should read "... Beneath the Matala moon."

    Cary was a guy from North Carolina that she met while on the island and had to leave to continue her trip and eventual return to California.

    Check out this link for more of the story:

    Every time I hear this song I feel the urge to jump on a plane to Crete to get lost for a while.
    lindsay1953on August 08, 2006   Link
  • +2
    General Commentcould carey possibly be the "redneck on a grecian isle who did the goat dance very well"?
    sploogerellaon January 03, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commenti'd always thought "get out your cane" was an odd line; most people who walk with a cane always have them close at hand even if they sit all day (like me). maybe it means sugar cane. I don't know but I never thought it was about cocaine. "I'll put on some silver" must mean jewelry, but that's another line which sounds awkward to me.

    on the subject of joni's wanderlust, etc. there's that line in "Coyote" which--come to think of it--is yet another song written for a friend, lover (or both) one would guess is many years her senior. you know the words I mean: about the lines on the freeway. you can see how travel has "written" those lines on her, quite literally: on the cover of Hejira, in a kind of double-exposure. and on the last repetition, she gets more descriptive: "the fine white lines..." hey how many successful folks in the 70s didn't indulge, particularly in the entertainment industry?

    not everyone perhaps. despite several tries, I always found it unpleasant...or at best, undetectable. people will say "then you never had good stuff." but trust me, I know how stimulants affect me, and I simply don't like the way they make me feel.

    after 20 years of chronic illness I've become an amateur pharmacologist. if I'm dumb enough to forget, and...oh, let's say, drink more than one can of Mountain Dew...I get irritable & sleepless. then I'm in pain (more than usual) for the next week.

    you wanna know my weakness, OK ask for "steely dan" and maybe you too can have a talk with doctor wu. he's a sneaky, unreliable bastard...don't say you weren't warned.
    foreverdroneon August 04, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentErr.. dus anyone know what this could be about?
    Zagabooon September 25, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song is one of the most important songs on "Blue" I think. Like California and This flight tonight it's about her trip around Europe in 69 or 70, where she allegedly did a lot of the writing for this album.

    Its really mostly as simple as it looks, shes describing the places she's been, Matalla in Greece where the Mermaid Cafe is real ( greece may also inspire the line about "these soldiers", as it was under military rule, and "these freaks" are her fellow hippy travellers.

    I cant remember who the Carey of the title is, though I think its mentioned in jonis biography (?) but Im pretty sure there was a man with red hair in her life while or before she wrote this son. The "bright red devil".

    Although its on the surface just about her travels, there is a lot of longing and emotion in the song as in the rest of the album. She expresses uncertainty about where she'll go next and discontent at not being "home" - also shown in California and River in particular. But she shrugs all her sadness off with the chorus and urges herself to have fun and live for the moments.

    I think its a wonderful song, not as sad and gentle as the rest on blue but a great one to hum along to and imagine yourself pleasantly drunk in a greek bar, dancing your cares away

    * cue moment of cheesiness*
    Clareyon December 06, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentWell, it's about being in love. I guess. It might not even be about the relationship kinda love, just a love for a friend. She likes this guy so much that she calls him a devil, she hates him at the same time, because he's keeping her in "This tourist town" and really she wants to go home, back to cleanliness and "fancy French Cologne".

    I really love the way she sings it, especially the Mermaid Cafe verse - what an amazing voice! Also, the claps on the second and fourth beats of each bar really add to the holiday, relaxd atmosphere of the song. Can songs even have atmospheres?

    Anyway, that's my rant over. Ignore it, it's a load of bull! :P
    mercury_girl86on January 02, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song. although it isn't my favourite on the blue album, i listen to it a huge amount because it reminds me of travelling.

    she has the whole backpacking lifestyle down to a t. the idea of loving where you are, but missing home (and all that is familiar) at the same time.

    it's an unspoken traveller thing - i think all backpackers miss their 'clean white linen and fancy french cologne', but don't want to admit it!
    karma_queenon May 15, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General Commenti love this song so much! it's my second favourite Joni song (after A case of you obviously) I just love her voice in it, the way she can jump octaves in the middle of a line and the ephasis on certain words like 'lets have a round'. And the lyrics, that she loves this person and really doesnt want tp leave him but its a bittersweet love cos she's homesick too. Yep 'mazin song
    just katon July 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentand here I was thinking that Joni was only hanging out with this guy as long as his supply of blow lasted... "Carey get out your (co-)Cane"

    Either way it's a beautiful song.
    arthadudeon March 29, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh my god. arthadude, i totally agree with you! that's honestly the first thing i thought when i heard, "Carey, get out your cane."
    jasonchriston July 25, 2008   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top