Phoebe Snow (Utah Phillips)

Sheet music for “Phoebe Snow” available from Utah Phillips & The Long Memory.
“Phoebe Snow” Karaoke (midi with lyrics).

Performer: Utah Phillips.
Lyrics: Utah Phillips.
Tune: Utah Phillips.


I saw her name on the side of a train
Somewhere a long time ago.
I don’t know who she was, but I gave my love
To someone called Phoebe Snow.

Like a bird on the wing, I hear a voice sing
As over the prairies I roll.
But I’d give my life to spend one more night
In the arms of my own Phoebe Snow.

I climbed on board through a wide open door
Just as she started to roll.
And I rode so light through the long summer night
In the arms of my own Phoebe Snow.

Like a bird on the wing, I hear a voice sing
As over the prairies I roll.
But I’d give my life to spend one more night
In the arms of my own Phoebe Snow.

[spoken] Many a night, I’ve sat by a fire in a circle of stone, silent men and heard the sagebrush whistle and pop and the coffee boil in the can. The bottoms were filled with a cool, river wind, and the tree tops were chasing the wind. And I knew without saying to take my guitar and play up some slow, gentle tune. I played up a face I knew long ago, and the song was the sound of a name. I knew without looking that every man there was each of ’em feeling the same. Then, I played up some hands, so pale and small, with a touch as light as the rain. And I knew without looking that every man there was each of ’em feeling the same. Then, I played up the booze and the holes in the shoes of a man whose life is a cage and all the things done to make a man run: the hard luck and the failures of age. Then, I stopped with a crash. We looked into the ash, helpless with longing and rage. Now, a traveling life might seem all right: a life without worry or care, always up and always out and always going somewhere. But, I’ll tell you, friend, it’s not where you are but your reason for being there.

And then I awoke as the day broke
And gazed out over the plain,
Thinking as how I’m better off now
Being in love with a train.

Like a bird on the wing, I hear a voice sing
As over the prairies I roll.
But I’d give my life to spend one more night
In the arms of my own Phoebe Snow.


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