Flatter than a table top
Makes you wonder why they stopped here
Wagon must have lost a wheel
or the lacked ambition one

In the great migration west
Seperated from the rest
Though they might have tried their best
They never caught the sun

So they sunk some roots down in this dirt
To keep from blowin off the earth
Built a town right here
When the dust had all but cleared
They called it Levelland

GrandDad grew the dry land wheat
Stood on his own two feet
His mind got incomplete
And they put him in a home

Daddy's cotton grows so high
Sucks the water table dry
His rolling sprinklers circle back
Bleeding it to the bone

And I won't be here when it come the day
It all dries up and blows away
I'd hang around just to see
But they never had much use for me
In Levelland
They don't understand me
In Levelland

Well I watch those ships trails comin out that big blue sky
Coast to coaster - watch 'em go
And I don't blame 'em one damn bit
If they don't look down on this
Ain't much down here they'd want to know
Just Levelland
You could wash your hands
In nothin but Levelland

Mama used to roll her hair
Back before the central air
We'd sit outside and watch the stars at night
She's tell me to make a wish
I'd wish we both could fly
I don't sthink she's seen the sky
Since we got the sattelite dish

I can hear the marching band
Doing the best they can to play
Smoke on the water
And joy to the world

I payed up all my debts
Got some change left over yet
I'm getting on a whisper jet
Going to fly as far as I can get
From Levelland
Done the best I can
In Levelland

Lyrics submitted by BoyBlue

Levelland song meanings
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  • 0
    General Comment

    Anyone who grew up in a small town, and wondered why anyone would stay, now has an anthem. McMurtry makes a pretty compelling case for a desolate part of west Tx. Great song!

    BoyBlueon June 30, 2002   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    James makes a lot of connections to planes, jets and flying in this song. I think this song is more than just a small town in west Texas. On the surface that's that, but it corrilates more to freedom and freedom from the same old boring day to day lives that most are forced to lead. "they lacked ambition, one". You see. It's funny that he throws greed in the song as well because it doesn't seem to fit with the rest. "Sucks the water table dry". In farming communities this kind of practice is frowned upon by some other farmers. (mostly because they can't compete (it takes money to make money kind of thing)). The best verse in this song works so well. Mama used to roll her hair Back before the central air We'd sit outside and watch the stars at night She's tell me to make a wish I'd wish we both could fly I don't sthink she's seen the sky Since we got the sattelite dish

    That gets me everytime.

    Lukethedrifteron June 24, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    A little trivia: I read in an interview that James said the song is really about the town of Floydada, Texas, but Floydada didn't fit the meter, so it became Levelland. I think I also heard or read somewhere that he has a friend who lives in Floydada, who James has said is the leader of the Socialist party there. Knowing what small towns in west Texas are like, he must be one brave sumbitch.

    guitarpicker23on September 16, 2009   Link
  • 0
    My Opinion

    Regarding McMurtry's "Levelland:" I just have to add that I used to live in Levelland [Texas] and now I don't. I can see McMurtry writing it about the actual town of Levelland. Just as BoyBlue stated, he "makes a pretty compelling case for a desolate part of west Texas." If I may ask, guitarpicker23, do you remember where you read or heard about McMurtry actually writing the song about Floydada?

    nativeTexanon September 10, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Other than Dylan, he is my favorite writer. He gets really nasty and jaded. Check out Red Dress, and 60 Acres...Turtle Bayou is just killer from his latest. This is how it opens:

    "Got a idea, tell ya what let's do, Let's go down to that place near the Turtle Bayou. Well, we maybe get lucky, maybe get shot, Couldn't be half the trouble I got.

    Turtle Bayou, turn around

    Get your big feet up off the ground

    Turtle Bayou, turn around.

    railroadginon May 31, 2011   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    "Contrary to popular belief, Robert Earl Keen did not write that last song. I wrote it for my buddy Max Crawford from Floydada,Texas. Floydada didn't fit the meter, so I used Levelland. Max was a Communist, so he didn't fit in too good in Floydada. The American Worker's Party is not very well represented in FLoydada, ya know."

    • James McMurtry, "Max's Theorem" on "Live in Aught-Three

    Great song about not fitting in, wanting to get away. I especially love the line about Mom: "don't think she's seen the sky, since we got the satellite dish."

    ratbert3on February 04, 2012   Link
  • 0
    General Comment

    Good song, Didn't realize he wrote this.

    ruarchitecton March 04, 2012   Link

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