My father he rides with your sheriffs
And I know he would never mean harm,
But to see both sides of a quarrel
Is to judge without haste or alarm

Oh, oh, helpless and slow,
And you don't have anywhere to go

You take away homes from the homeless
And leave them to die in the cold
The gypsy who begged for your presents
He will laugh in your face when you're old


Well, one man he drinks up his whiskey
Another he drinks up his wine
And they'll drink till their eyes are red with hate
For those of a different kind


When the rivers run quicker than trouble
I'll be there at your side in the flood
It was all I could do to keep myself
From taking revenge on your blood

(2x Chorus)

Lyrics submitted by ralph mctell, edited by epiwoosh

Genesis Hall Lyrics as written by Richard Thompson

Lyrics © BMG Rights Management

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Genesis Hall song meanings
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  • +2
    General CommentCorrections: "My father he rides with your sheriffs", "Judge without haste or alarm", "Gypsy who begged for your presents", "Rivers run thicker than trouble", "Taking revenge on your blood."

    The father is on the side of the authorities, but the narrator takes a more balanced view. And when the poor rise up, the narrator expects to be swept away by the revolution too. And regardless, there will come a time where you'll need others, and then there will be payback for all the cruelty.

    And Thomson was in his early 20s when he wrote this.
    futatoriuson March 29, 2008   Link
  • +1
    General Commentfutatorius is right, the song begins, My father he rides with your sheriffs. This I think is a reference to Richard Thompson's own father who was a policeman. The next lines of that first verse seem to be a defence of his father; maybe it wasn't easy being the son of a copper in the heady days of the late 60s! But the lines about drinking up whisky and wine until you're red with hate are a spot-on analysis of the type of blind bigotry towards blacks, asians, muslim, catholic, protestant, asylum-seekers etc etc voiced in pubs up and down the country when in like company once the bevvy gets a hold.
    TheGlasgowRangeron February 06, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is about bigotry towards race or class and the chorus tells you of the ignorance of those who aren't the bottom feeders, they haven't a clue about struggle or a grittier side of life most of us have to face.
    savingupspendon March 24, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentoh and I forgot the third party who is completely nonjudgemental who tries to clear the thick quagmire of hate from those helpless and slow.
    savingupspendon March 24, 2007   Link

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