"She Wishes She Were Gone"

© 1971 Lee Ruth

MP3
Roberta Weir - Acoustic Guitar & Vocals
Dan Smith - Bass
Pete Szkolka - Piano & Guitar
  MP3 Sample of Lee's Original

 

Song Lyrics:
Lee's Lyrics:
She Wishes She Were Gone

Behind the dark and distant hills the sun has disappeared.
The town rolls up its sidewalks and you know the night is near.
Half a dozen streetlights cast their shadows on the square
And no one knows that she is living there.

You wouldn't think to find a woman near as fine as she.
At home, it's such a sad town and no place for her to be.
She knows the door will open, but she does not turn the key
She is needed while she's needing to be free.

She listens to her radio and switches off the light.
Staring out the window at the starry, starry night.

Her heart beats strong, her eyes are clear and her hair has grown so long.
The night birds know her beauty and the wind has heard her song.
Locked inside her boundaries she knows that they are wrong
And she knows that she has known this all along.

There are pictures, there are voices, there are songs inside her head,
But no one's there to share them with and so she goes to bed.
She dreams about the stars and streams and wanders where she will
And wakes before another night is fled.

Turned to her window just before the light of dawn.
It's time to face another day. She wishes she were gone.

Way out on the highway you can hear the big trucks roll
And where the railroad crosses you can hear the whistle blow.
The night wind whispers softly while the world spins by outside.
She loves to catch that lonesome train and ride.
She loves to catch that lonesome train and ride.

Behind the dark and distant hills the sun has disappeared
The town rolls up its sidewalk and you know the night is near
A half a dozen streetlights cast their shadows on the square
And no one knows that she is living there

You wouldn't think to find a woman near as fine as she
At home in such a sad town , it's no place for her to be
She knows her door will open, but she does not turn the key
She is needed, while she's needing to be free

(bridge)
She listens to her radio and switches off the light
Staring out her window at the starry, starry night

Her heart beats strong, her eyes are clear, her hair has grown so long
The night birds know her beauty and the wind has heard her song
Locked inside her boundaries, she knows that they are wrong
And she knows that she has known this all along

There are pictures, there are voices, there are songs inside her head
But no one there to share them with , and so she goes to bed
She dreams about the stars and streams, and wanders where she will
And wakes before another night has fled

(bridge)
Turning to her window just before the light of dawn
It's time to face another day, she wishes she were gone

Way out on the highway you can hear the big trucks roll
And where the railroad crosses you can hear the whistle blow
The night wind whispers softly, while the world spins by outside
She longs to catch that lonesome train and ride
She longs to catch that lonesome train and ride

Artist on the Song:
Lee on the Song:
As I was listening to the song "She Wishes She Were Gone," I relived moments of my life and was inspired to perform the song as my tribute to Lee for writing it. I have had several friends who, at some point in their lives, found themselves in a situation where they were unable to continue living in the place where they wished to be living, partly because of difficulties they had brought upon themselves, and partly because of circumstances beyond their control. A vision presented itself to me, of one who found herself bound, in a situation of which I was left to imagine the details, by her own choice to live in self-imposed exile. Familial obligation? A sense of duty? Fear? Entropy? Need? Pick your own question. A mystery to me. Decades pass. She keeps her secret.
Artist on Lee Ruth:
Lee on the Artist:
I've had the opportunity to hear and perform on occasion with some very talented songwriters/musicians. Few performers have the ability to write and perform both vocally and instrumentally, with each skill matching the other. Lee Ruth, a seasoned musical writer, has always been one of those few performers to me.

The first song I remember hearing Lee perform was not one of his own, but he owned the song as if it were. His God-given voice matches no words I can use to describe it, but it touches something deep inside and melts you into the poetry and story of his songs.

A bit of trivia:
Besides sharing a love for music, Lee and I also share the same date of birth only ten years apart.

Phil and Roberta (Weir) Jackson moved to Columbia in 1969 when Phil's band White Eyes relocated from St. Joseph, Mo. Though I saw her on occasion at band gigs and other community events we didn't really become acquainted until the late 1970s when she and Phil formed a band of their own called White Rock Prairie. She mostly played keyboards and did a lot of the singing for the band, in a voice both rich and strong.

In the early 1980s they moved away, and I didn't see her again until this project got underway and I learned that she was living back in mid-Missouri and was interested in doing a song. I'm glad both that she found one to do and that she chose this one. Her woman's voice imparts to the song a particular poignancy that I don't think it has when I sing it.

Producer's Notes:
Recording Credits:
The original plan was to add another female voice singing harmony, but when I first heard Roberta sing this song, it was clear to me that the song is all about loneliness. I knew the only other voice that would be heard in a solitary room would be your own so Roberta had to sing her own harmony. Late in the session Pete Szkolka went in to tweak the piano tuning and Roberta asked Pete to play the keyboard track. Pete laid it down like he had been playing the song for years even though he'd first heard it just an hour before.

Recorded at Pete Szkolka's Studio

Record Date: 5/14/03

Mixed: 12/23/04

Mixed by Pete Szkolka and Steve Donofrio

 

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