San Francisco Mabel Joy

Words & Music by M. Newbury & Costerman
sung by John Denver
on Some Days Are Diamonds (1981)

     D                               G/D               D
His daddy was an honest man, just a red dirt Georgia farmer
His mother lived her short life havin' kids and balin' hay
 D                           G/D             D
He had fifteen years and he ached inside to wander
                                        A            D
So he jumped a freight in Waycross and wound up in L.A.

                                     G/D               D
The cold nights had no pity on that Waycross, Georgia farmboy
Most days he went hungry, then the summer came
    D                            G/D                    D
He met a girl known on the Strip as San Francisco's Mabel Joy
                              A                    D
Destitutions child born of an L.A. street called shame

  G                                  D
Growing up came easy in the arms of Mabel Joy
Laughter found their mornings, brought a meaning to his life
Yes, the night before she left sleep came 
And gave that Waycross country boy
                         A                  D
A dream of Georgia cotton and a California wife

Sunday mornin' found him standing 
'Neath the red light at her door

When a right cross sent him reelin'
Put him face down on the floor
     G                                           D
In place of Mabel Joy he found a merchant mad marine
Who growled "Your Georgia neck is red. 
         A                           D
Aw, but sonny, you're still green"

  D                         G/D               D
He turned twenty one in a gray rock fed'ral prison
The old judge had no mercy for a Waycross country boy
  D                                  G/D
Staring at those four gray walls in silence
Lord, he'd just listen for the midnight freight he knew
Could take him back to Mabel Joy

        G                                                   D
Sunday morning found him lying 'neath the red light at her door
With a bullet in his side he cried, "Have you seen Mabel Joy?"
  G                                                          D
Stunned and shaken someone said "Why she don't live here no more
She left this house four years today
      A                                  D
They say she's lookin' for some Georgia farmboy