Tom Joad's Promise

from by Sam Steffen

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A debt is owed to Mr. John Steinbeck for this one, who gave us Tom Joad, from whom this song is derived.

lyrics

Hey ma, wake up it’s me, it’s your boy, Tom Joad
I’d love to but I can’t stay long, I’ve gotta hit the road
In the morning they’ll be lookin for me high up and down low
Cops from every county from Salinas to Frisco

But I only got a minute here so I won’t make this long
I ain’t always done the right thing, hell, sometimes I been wrong
But as long as I am gonna be an outlaw from now on
Wherever there’s a stone unturned, hereby, I swear—

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever you can go to think some lonesome thought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I’m ingredient to humankind, a partial to the whole
Tho I walk upon the stage of life I play a minor role
I am portion to the giant universal human soul
Which exists within everybody everywhere

So I’ll be there when you’re weary, when you’re lonesome and afraid
When the delivery of all that you’ve been promised aint been made
When there ain’t no superhero to come rushin to your aid
When you got everything to lose and no time to spare

I will be there, I will be there
When the road becomes too narrow and the wilderness too broad
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

I will be in every crevice of this bright world that’s gone dark
I will be in every desperate hallow achin broken heart
Long after its all over and well before it starts
Anyplace that folks can’t go or just don’t dare

Wherever there’s a stranger sayin I’m too young to die
Wherever there’s a prayer that’s bein prayed up to the sky
Wherever there’s an angry cop just beatin up some guy
And the fight just don’t seem justified nor fair

I will be there, I will be there
So the one’s that go unseen unheard won’t be forgot
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

Wherever fights’re brewin up so that hungry folks can eat
Wherever there’s a cry for revolution in the street
Wherever there’s a stranger who ain’t marchin to the beat
Who repels his last companion as he draws a stare

In the way that guys start yelling when they’re stark raving mad
In the sighin folks’re doing who’ve lost everything they’ve had
In the singin and the laughin of the children when they’re glad
In the cryin and the quiet of when they’re scared

I will be there, I will be there
In the worry of the guilty ones that ain’t yet been caught
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there so help me God

I guess I’d better go now, ma, cause soon it will be dawn
I’d just like to say I’m sorry for all the screwing up I done
But just cause I ain’t here no more it doesn’t mean I’m gone
I will be with you on every step of every stair

Tomorrow when they come for me, you tell em I was here
Tell em that you saw me but that you didn’t see me clear
Tell em I’m the echo that’s been whispering in your ear
Tell em if they’re looking for me anywhere

I will be there, I will be there
Wherever someone’s lonesome in a stranded spot
I will be there, I will be there
Wherever folks are thirsty and can’t find a drop
Wherever there’s a road that ain’t been tried or trod
Wherever I am wanted pursued or sought
I will be there, I will be there
I will be there, so help me God

credits

from Ain't It a Pity?, released July 31, 2016

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