Light the lamp and fire mellow
Cabin essence timely hello
Welcomes the time for a change

Lost and found, you still remain there
You'll find a meadow filled with grain there
I'll give you a home on the range

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

I want to watch you windblown facing
Waves of wheat for your embracing
Folks sing a song of the grange

Nestle in a kiss below there
The constellations ebb and flow there
And witness our home on the range

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

Who ran the iron horse?
Who ran the iron horse?

Have you seen the grand coolie workin' on the railroad?
Workin' on the railroad? Workin' on the railroad?

Over and over
The crow cries, uncover the cornfield
Over and over
The thresher and hover the wheat field

Over and over
The crow cries, uncover the cornfield
Over and over
The thresher and hover the wheat field

Over and over
The crow cries, uncover the cornfield



Lyrics submitted by Bobo192

Cabinessence Lyrics as written by Van Dyke Parks Brian Wilson

Lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group

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Cabinessence song meanings
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8 Comments

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  • +5
    General Comment

    M. Love - "But I want to know what 'Over and over the crow flies, uncover the corn field?' means", he said.

    Van Dyke Parks thought for a brief moment. He tried not to appear as insulted as he felt inside. "I think it's great poetry is what it is." he started.

    "Fine", said Mike, "It's great poetry, but what the hell does it mean? ..if you ask me, it's gibberish"

    "Mike, if you are demanding a literal interpretation", Van Dyke said calmly, "I have no idea what it means".

    I think this sums up this entire song perfectly.

    Bobo192on July 21, 2002   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    "Nestle in a kiss below there. The constellations ebb and flow there. And witness our home on the range."

    are absolutely trite compared to ingenius artistic lyrics such as:

    "Everybody knows a little place like Kokomo So if you wanna go to get away from it all go down to Kokomo"

    modestmauson August 02, 2007   Link
  • +1
    General Comment

    There's so much great stuff on "Smile". H+V, Cabinessence, Wind Chimes, Surf's Up to name just four. Trouble is, it can't be dipped in to, you gotta hear it all. Turn out the lights, pour a drink and let it wash over you! It was broken up anmd grafted onto a couple of later BB albums and it lost it's flow. The BW version is nice but get a good bootleg of BB's doing it for max. pleasure.

    49ersphilon September 30, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    I personally think the little "doing" noises used in the background makes the song. Relazing and amusing on top of it all. A creative mind at it's best.

    ChaosFluro24on October 07, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Like much of the album Smile itself, the song “Cabinessence” tells a story of American history. In this case it is about expanding to the west, particularly by means of the transcontinental railroad in the mid nineteenth century. The word cabin would be referring to the cabin cars of a freight train, traveling west during this time of change for the country.

    Grain (wheat and corn) is mentioned throughout the song. And when the words “I want to watch you windblown facing,” you might think of the windy city. During the mid nineteenth century, Chicago became one of the largest grain ports in the world.

    When Mike Love sings the words “Have you seen the grand coolie workin' on the railroad,” play on words are apparent. The Grand Coulee is a riverbed in Washington State. The dam was particularly significant during the production of “Cabinessence,” because beginning in 1966, it was expanded, making it one of the largest hydroelectric facilities in the world. While a coulee is a gorge, coolie was a derogatory term used for Asian immigrants in America during the mid nineteenth century, who worked on the railroads.

    pijinon October 12, 2006   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion

    Re: Mike Love calling out the line: Over and over the crow cries uncover the cornfield

    I wanted to just have some fun and purposely read into this line, in an attempt to see what it means. It -is- just for fun, but I also do believe that you can write something profound and not actually realize the depth of what it is you have written. This is why even an artist hasn't intended something, if you happen to see it, it's there.

    Look at it like: Over and over the crow cries, "Uncover the cornfield!"

    A "covered" cornfield would be one filled with corn. An "uncovered" cornfield would be one devoid of corn -- empty, dead stalks.

    Two thoughts: 1.) A crow crying, "Uncover the cornfield" could be alternatively said as "It's time to feast!" and eat as much corn as possible. It's exclamation to hype you up. So in the broader sense it's basically saying "Let's celebrate!"

    2.) Maybe he's referring to a 'crow, as in a Scarecrow, who longs for the fields to be empty, so he can finally get some relaxation and not have to worry about watching out for actual crows. In the broader sense this is dat existential angst.

    AndrewVSon May 10, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Here's a gem I just figured out; Cabin essence translates to French as Changing Room. Look at the first three lines of the song...this is a transition piece between suites methinks.

    DCNeroon May 09, 2015   Link
  • -1
    General Comment

    This song was supposedly on Brian Wilson's master Album Smile, which was never released. I love the relaxing sound of the song which sounds a little like their "Heroes and the Villans." This song is about the feeling you get when living on your own, perhaps in a cabin on the range.

    ChaosFluro24on July 21, 2002   Link

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