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Boomer Road Songs: “Roll Me Away”

Roll, roll me away
Won’t you roll me away tonight?
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
And I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right

“So in America when the sun goes down and I sit on the old broken-down river pier watching the long, long skies over New Jersey and sense all that raw land that rolls in one unbelievable huge bulge over to the West Coast, and all that road going, and all the people dreaming in the immensity of it, and in Iowa I know by now the children must be crying in the land where they let the children cry, and tonight the stars’ll be out, and don’t you know that God is Pooh Bear? the evening star must be drooping and shedding her sparkler dims on the prairie, which is just before the coming of complete night that blesses the earth, darkens all the rivers, cups the peaks and folds the final shore in, and nobody, nobody knows what’s going to happen to anybody besides the forlorn rags of growing old, I think of Dean Moriarty, I even think of Old Dean Moriarty the father we never found, I think of Dean Moriarty.” — Sal, On the Road

For Tom, who knew how to roll.

Took a look down a westbound road,
right away I made my choice
Headed out to my big two-wheeler,
I was tired of my own voice
Took a bead on the northern plains
and just rolled that power on

Twelve hours out of Mackinaw City
stopped in a bar to have a brew
Met a girl and we had a few drinks
and I told her what I’d decided to do
She looked out the window a long long moment
then she looked into my eyes
She didn’t have to say a thing,
I knew what she was thinkin’

Roll, roll me away,
won’t you roll me away tonight
I too am lost, I feel double-crossed
and I’m sick of what’s wrong and what’s right
We never even said a word,
we just walked out and got on that bike
And we rolled
And we rolled clean out of sight

We rolled across the high plains
Deep into the mountains
Felt so good to me
Finally feelin’ free

Somewhere along a high road
The air began to turn cold
She said she missed her home
I headed on alone

Stood alone on a mountain top,
starin’ out at the Great Divide
I could go east, I could go west,
it was all up to me to decide
Just then I saw a young hawk flyin’
and my soul began to rise
And pretty soon
My heart was singin’

Roll, roll me away,
I’m gonna roll me away tonight
Gotta keep rollin, gotta keep ridin’,
keep searchin’ till I find what’s right
And as the sunset faded
I spoke to the faintest first starlight
And I said Next time
Next time
We’ll get it right 

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Sam L. March 6, 2021, 5:02 PM

    NOT a Springsteen fan.

  • Kevin in PA March 6, 2021, 5:30 PM

    Springsteen? No.
    Sal Paradise was Jack Kerouac and Dean was the beat poet Neil Cassidy (he drove Kesey and his Merry Pranksters on the bus named Further). I carried that book in my knapsack as I thumbed my way across this country as a young man….then I bought a motorcycle and was lucky I didn’t kill myself on it!

    I must admit that I totally under-appreciated Bob Seger at the time he was pop on the charts. His music has grown on me. Thanks fort sharing that one, G.
    Yeah, roll me away.

  • ghostsniper March 6, 2021, 5:32 PM

    You only get one first time.
    There is never a next time.
    Take it when you got it.

  • steve March 6, 2021, 7:00 PM

    Way back then. Bob Seger and the Bob Seger System used to play at the Sugar Shack in Columbus, Ohio, at the north east corner of Chittenden and North Fourth Street. Fifty cent cover and fifty cent draft. Hundreds of of knee walking drunk Ohio State coeds. That’s true, ask around. Nature never lies. If you can do it, it ain’t braggin.

  • Jack March 7, 2021, 7:12 AM

    Great song. An old friend David Teegarden played drums on that album. Never get tired of it.

  • Hoss March 7, 2021, 7:47 AM

    Saw him with the silver bullet band in Portland in 1994 if I remember right. Great concert and all around great night.

  • Nobody Atall March 7, 2021, 10:13 AM

    Who brought up Springerschnoz? He just aped being a normal workingman. Seger got it right. Notice which one is dignified in retirement and which is a foolish ape still.

  • gwbnyc March 7, 2021, 12:27 PM

    Ken Babb’s mother and mine worked together as librarians in Mentor, Ohio.

    Cassidy mentions in “The First Third” a group with either KB or KB’s brother going to visit KB’s parents.

    they camped out in the parent’s backyard until they were made to move indoors. I was the (world’s worst) newspaper boy, unreliable delivering the Willoughby News-Herald to their home on Jackson Street at age 12.

  • EX-Californian Pete March 8, 2021, 11:10 AM

    To Steve-
    Holy cow, the Sugar Shack…. Those were the days, my friend.

    I’d wager you might have also frequented a bunch of OSU campus bars like Papa Joe’s, The Agoura, The Castle, the Travel Agency, the Thirsty I, the Blue Danube, The Library-(still there!), North Berg, South Berg, the Graduate, etc., etc… and those OSU coeds sure were hot, back in the day.
    Now OSU campus is almost bar-free, and there’s almost zero parking (unless you’re on a bike) anywhere to be found. And lately, most of the OSU coeds I’ve seen are obese, tattooed, have green/purple/pink/etc. hair, and look like they have “questionable sexual preferences.”