John Doe No. 24

Mary Chapin Carpenter

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Mary Chapin Carpenter

Mary Chapin Carpenter (born February 21, 1958) is an American folk and country music singer, songwriter and musician. Carpenter spent several years singing in Washington, D.C. clubs before signing in the late 1980s with Columbia Records, who marketed her as a country singer. Carpenter's first album, 1987's Hometown Girl, did not produce any singles, although 1989's State of the Heart and 1990's Shooting Straight in the Dark each produced four Top 20 hits on the Billboard country singles charts. more »


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I was standing on this sidewalk
In 1945 in Jacksonville, Illinois 
When asked what my name was there came no reply 
They said I was a deaf and sightless, half-wit boy 

But Lewis was my name though I could not say it 
I was born and raised in New Orleans 
My spirit was wild, so I let the river take it 
On a barge and a prayer upstream

They searched for a mother and they searched for a father 
And they searched till they searched no more 
The doctors put to rest their scientific test 
And they named me John Doe No. 24 

And they all shook their heads in pity 
For a world so silent and dark 
Well, there's no doubt that life's a mystery 
But so too is the human heart

And it was my heart's own perfume
When the crape jasmine bloomed on St. Charles Avenue 
Though I couldn't hear the bells of the streetcars coming 
By toeing the track I knew 

And if I were an old man returning 
With my satchel and pork-pie hat 
I'd hit every jazz joint on Bourbon 
And I'd hit every one on Basin after that

The years kept passing as they passed me around 
From one state ward to another 
Like I was an orphaned shoe from the lost and found 
Always missing the other

They gave me a harp last Christmas 
And all the nurses took a dance 
Lately I've been growing listless 
Been dreaming again of the past

I'm wandering down to the banks of the Great Big Muddy 
Where the shotgun houses stand 
I am seven years old and I feel my daddy 
Reach out for my hand
While I drew breath no one missed me 
So they won't on the day that I cease 
Put a sprig of crape jasmine with me 
To remind me of New Orleans

I was standing on this sidewalk
In 1945 in Jacksonville, Illinois

 Watch: New Singing Lesson Videos Can Make Anyone A Great Singer



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    John Doe No. 24

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