Kirk Kelly's cover version

I had a job, I had a girl
I had something going in this world
I got laid off at the lumber yard
Our love went bad, times got hard
Now I work down at the carwash
Where all it ever does is rain
Don't it feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

She just said "Joe I gotta go
We had it once we ain't got it no more"
She packed her bags and she left me behind
She got a ticket on the Central Line
Nights as I sleep, I hear the whistle whining
I feel her kisses in the misty rain
And I feel like I'm a rider on a downbound train

Last night I heard your voice
You were crying, crying, you were so alone
You said your love had never died
You're waiting for me at home
I put on my jacket, ran through the woods
Ran till I thought my chest would explode
There in the clearing, beyond the highway
In the moonlight, our wedding house shone
I rushed through the yard, burst through the front door
My head pounding hard, up the stairs I climbed
The room was dark, our bed was empty
Then I heard the long whistle whine
Then I dropped to my knees, hung my head and cried

Now I swing a sledge hammer on a railroad gang
Knocking down them cross ties, working in the rain
Don't it feel like you're a rider on a downbound train

The above lyrics are for Kirk Kelly's cover version of DOWNBOUND TRAIN. It was included on the Bruce Springsteen tribute album Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen.

Track credits:
Kirk Kelly: vocals, ukelele
Recorded at Clocktower Studios in Soho, New York City in February 2003.
Produced by Kirk Kelly and Bill Bowen.
Engineered and mixed by Bill Bowen.

Liner notes from the Light Of Day: A Tribute To Bruce Springsteen tribute booklet:

Back in the day when we were just out of college and enjoying all the city's charms with gusto, my cousin "The Mister" (the origin of this appendage is the topic of another story entirely) had a weekend job driving a delivery truck for a lumber yard on Staten Island (the borough of New York where he grew up and which the MTA only serves from Manhattan by ferry) to supplement his 9 to 5 grind in the city. The boss that gave him the job - none other than his own brother. Some Fridays myself and my brother would meet him after work and we'd avail ourselves of all the city's charms with gusto and The Mister would opt to crash out in our flat on Avenue A, rather than go back to his own flat in Brooklyn. This was supposed to save the time of coming back to Manhattan to catch the ferry, but after nights on which we had employed perhaps a bit too much gusto, you could often see The Mister dashing off to catch the ferry at just about the time he was supposed to be arriving at the lumber yard on Staten Island. Of course, all those missed deliveries were not good for business and after a while The Mister had to be let go, even if the boss letting him go was his own brother. When asked about it my cousin The Mister's former boss would say only "he was talkin' union". Once The Mister had his weekends free we could partake in all the city's charms with even more gusto. But every so often we'd be out somewhere havin' a beer or chatting up some pretty girls and Springsteen's "Downbound Train" would come on the jukebox and my cousin would stop for a moment and say, "listen - 'I was something mister in this world. I got laid off at the lumber yard...'" Then add, sometimes a bit wishfully, "That's my song". Don't it feel like you're a rider on a downbound train.

-Kirk Kelly

Available Versions

List of available versions of DOWNBOUND TRAIN on this website:

DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Album version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Early demo #1]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Early demo #2]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Nebraska demo version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Live 21 Jun 1985 version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Live 11 Aug 1999 version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Live 25 Jun 2005 version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [The Smithereens' cover version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Raul Malo's cover version]
DOWNBOUND TRAIN [Kirk Kelly's cover version]