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Song title: The new timer


The new timer

He rode the rails since the great depression
Fifty years out on the skids
He said “You don’t cross nobody
You’ll be all right out here kid.”

Left my family in Pennsylvania
Searchin’ for work I hit the road
I met Frank in east Texas
In a freight yard blown through with snow
From New Mexico to Colorado
California to the sea
Frank he showed me the ropes sir
Just till I could get back on my feet

I hoed sugar beets outside of Firebaugh
I picked the peaches from the Marysville tree
They bunked us in a barn just like animals
Me and a hundred others just like me

We split up come the spring time
I never seen Frank again
‘Cept one rainy night he blew by me on grainer
Shouted my name and disappeared in the rain and wind
They found him shot dead outside of Stockton
His body lyin’ on a muddy hill
Nothin’ taken nothin’ stolen
Somebody killin’ just to kill

Late that summer I was rollin’ through the plains of Texas
A vision passed before my eyes
A small house sittin’ trackside
With the glow of the saviours beautiful light
A woman stood cookin’ in the kitchen
Kid sat at the table with his old man
Now I wonder does my son miss me
Does he wonder where I am

Tonight I pick my campsite carefully
Outside the Sacramento Yard
Gather some wood and light a fire
In the early winter dark

Wind whistling cold I pull my coat around me
Make some coffee and stare out into the black night
I lie awake, I lie awake sir
With my machete by my side

My Jesus your gracious love and mercy
Tonight I’m sorry could not fill my heart
Like one good rifle
And the name of who I ought to kill


Statistics from the KILLING FLOOR (www.brucespringsteen.it) database


Published on the following official releases:

First known live performance: 30/11/1995 Community Theatre, Berkeley,CA ,USA
Last known live performance: 21/11/2005 Sovereign Bank Arena, Trenton,NJ ,USA

Song 'history':


Published on the solo album THE GHOST OF TOM JOAD, in 1996.
Not much used during the Ghost of Tom Joad tour, deserving only less than a dozen renderings
The Devils and Dust tour counted 12 apparitions of this song
Data from the www.brucespringsteen.it database