Country Music Reclamation Project: Streets of Baltimore

There are many songs about the pride rightfully felt by rural folk who aren’t “citified” — and by that I mean cosmopolitan, shallow and materialistic. In the early 21st century, we’ve begun to turn “simple” back into something positive, but country music always took the side of the simple folk. Nothing was more transforming than to give up the farm and head for the bright lights of the city. Bobby Bare was among many who recorded this song about fulfilled dreams that turn out to be a fork in the road.

Streets Of Baltimore (performed by Bobby Bare)
Words and Music by Tompall Glaser and Harlan Howard

Well I sold the farm to take my woman where she longed to be
We left our kin and all our friends back there in Tennessee
And I bought those one way tickets she had often begged me for
And they took us to the streets of Baltimore

Well her heart was filled with gladness when she saw those city lights
She said the prettiest place on earth was Baltimore at night
A man feels proud to give his woman what she’s longing for
And I kinda liked the streets of Baltimore

I got myself a factory job, I ran an old machine
And I bought a little cottage in a neighborhood serene
And every night when I’d come home with every muscle sore
She’d drag me through the streets of Baltimore

Well I did my best to bring her back to what she used to be
Then I soon learned she loved those bright lights more than she loved me
Now I’m a going back on that same train that brought me here before
While my baby walks the streets of Baltimore

Hard to imagine “the prettiest place on earth was Baltimore at night,” but I’ve never been there. It might be. I have been with someone who felt that her new surroundings were far superior to her old place, next to me. And that ride back home was a lonely ride, and a humbling one.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *