Album version

He rode the rails since the great depression
Fifty years out on the skids
He said you don't cross nobody
You'll be all right out here, kid

Left my family in Pennsylvania
Searching for work I hit the road
I met Frank in east Texas
In a freight yard blown through with snow

From New Mexico to Colorado
California to the sea
Frank he showed me the ropes, sir
Just till I could get back on my feet

I hoed sugar beets outside of Firebaugh
I picked the peaches from the Marysville trees
They bunked us in a barn just like animals
Me and a hundred others just like me

We split up come the springtime
I never seen Frank again
'Cept one rainy night he blew by me on grainer
Shouted my name, disappeared in the rain and the wind

They found him shot dead outside of Stockton
His body lying on a muddy hill
Nothing taken, nothing stolen
Somebody killed him just to kill

Late that summer I was rolling through the plains of Texas
A vision passed before my eyes
A small house sitting trackside
With the glow of the saviors' beautiful light

A woman stood cooking in the kitchen
Kid sat at the table with his old man
Now I wonder does my son miss me
Does he wonder where I am

Tonight I pick my campsite carefully
Outside the Sacramento Yard
Gather some wood and light a fire
In the early winter dark

Wind whistling cold I pull my coat around me
Heat some coffee and stare out into the black night
I lie awake, I lie awake, sir
With my machete by my side

My Jesus your gracious love and mercy
Tonight I'm sorry could not fill
My heart like one good rifle
And the name of who I ought to kill



THE NEW TIMER is a song written by Bruce Springsteen and released on his 1995 album The Ghost Of Tom Joad. The above lyrics are for Bruce Springsteen's album version of THE NEW TIMER as released in 1995.

Composition and Recording


The Ghost Of Tom Joad

Following the Jan-Feb 1995 studio reunion with the E Street Band and the release of Greatest Hits, Bruce Springsteen writing activity increased significantly. Between March and September 1995, Springsteen wrote and recorded about two-albums worth of new songs. From the scattered comments made by Springsteen and other session participants, it would seem that over an album's worth of solo material and over an album's worth of band material were recorded during these sessions. The Ghost Of Tom Joad album consist of 7 solo tracks and 5 band tracks. The songs Springsteen recorded solo may have spanned the entire session period and the band sessions appear to have been split into two or three phases during the spring and summer of 1995.

In his 1998 book Songs, Springsteen wrote: "I knew that The Ghost of Tom Joad wouldn't attract my largest audience. But I was sure the songs on it added up to a reaffirmation of the best of what I do. The record was something new, but it was also a reference point to the things I tried to stand for and be about as a songwriter.

The Ghost Of Tom Joad was released on Columbia Records on 21 Nov 1995. It was produced by Bruce Springsteen and Chuck Plotkin. The album won a Grammy Award for Best Contemporary Folk Album in 1997.

Bruce Springsteen -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad
Bruce Springsteen -- The Ghost Of Tom Joad

The Ghost Of Tom Joad features 12 new Springsteen compositions and clocks at 50:16.

Other Official Releases


Live History: on-tour


Live History: off-tour



As far as it's known, no artist has recorded and released Bruce Springsteen's THE NEW TIMER.

Available Versions

List of available versions of THE NEW TIMER on this website:

THE NEW TIMER [Album version]

Page last updated: 27 Feb 2017