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A Jamaican Boatman in New York City

Words and music by Robbie Smith

Hey, mon! You ought to lead a simpler life
Take all of your woe and your strife and throw it all away
Hey, mon! I’m just one of the common folk
Down at heel and I’m nearly broke
But there’s truth in what I say

Just for fun I went wandering down to Wall Street
Some angry young men were there – throwing paper in the air
I said “how can you stand this noise and all this heat?
People glaring, tempers flaring – no time to spare

And I say if that’s winning, – then I’d rather be losing
I’d rather be cruising – out on the waves with a cool, clear mind
And if that’s successful, then I’d sooner be a failure (failure)
A penniless sailor – leaving it all behind

I went underground to a downtown station
People packed in all around in their sardine cans
Pushed up against the glass – felt the suffocation
The key to the city was slipping slowly from my hands

And I’d gladly stay a poor man
Just leave me my boat to take me from this shore
Will I find freedom? I’m not sure man
But I’d empty my pockets just to unlock its magic door
Freedom’s door, freedom’s door… now, open it a little wider
Freedom’s door – who knows – now, who knows what’s in store
But I’m walking through freedom’s door

Think I’ll go back to me boat – read the evening papers
Look back at the skyline – the Statue of Liberty
So many souls locked up in those skyscrapers
They’ve climbed too far up the ladder, now, to ever be free

And I say if that’s winning – then I’d rather be losing
I’d rather be cruising out on the waves away from this crazy maze
You call this freedom? Huh! Then we’re all our own jailors
And this Jamaican sailor’s heading back home to stay

So listen what this sailor has to say, mon
You ought to lead a simpler life
Take all of your woe and your strife and throw it all away
Hey, mon! I’m just one of the common folk
Down at heel and I’m nearly broke but there’s truth in what I say