GENTLE ON MY MIND

Posted on Posted in Breedloves's Folk Songs
  • GENTLE ON MY MIND
    “Gentle On My Mind” is a song written by John Hartford, which won two 1968 Grammy
    Awards. Hartford himself won the award for Best Folk Performance. The other award,
    Best Country & Western Solo Vocal Performance, Male, went to Glen Campbell for his
    version of Hartford’s song. Hartford said that he was inspired to write the song’s poignant
    lyrics after seeing the film Doctor Zhivago”, and that it took about fifteen minutes to
    write down.
    While Campbell’s version remains the best known in the US, versions by Patti Page and
    Aretha Franklin were also Hot 100 hits in 1968 and 1969, respectively. In the UK, the
    version by Dean Martin reached number 2 in 1969. Elvis Presley also recorded the song
    at American Sound Studios in Memphis in January 1969, and the song featured on the
    award winning album From Elvis in Memphis. More recently, it was recorded by
    Lucinda Williams and this version was featured over the closing credits in the 2006. All
    together it has been recorded by over 300 different artists. Glen Campbell’s version has
    received over 5 million plays on the radio.
    It’s knowin’ that your door is always open
    And your path is free to walk
    That makes me tend to leave my sleepin’ bag
    Rolled up and stashed behind your couch
    And it’s knowin’ I’m not shackled
    By forgotten words and bonds
    And the ink stains that have dried upon some line
    That keeps you in the back roads
    By the rivers of my memory
    That keeps you ever gentle on my mind
    It’s not clingin’ to the rocks and ivy
    Planted on their columns now that bind me
    Or something that somebody said because
    They thought we fit together walkin’
    It’s just knowing that the world
    Will not be cursing or forgiving
    When I walk along some railroad track and find
    That you’re movin’ on the back roads
    By the rivers of my memory
    And for hours you’re just gentle on my mind
    Though the wheat fields and the clothes lines
    And the junkyards and the highways come between us
    And some other woman’s cryin’ to her mother
    ’cause she turned and I was gone
    I still might run in silence
     Tears of joy might stain my face
    And the summer sun might burn me till I’m blind
    But not to where I cannot see
    You walkin’ on the back roads
    By the rivers flowin’ gentle on my mind
    I dip my cup of soup back from a gurglin’ cracklin’ cauldron
    In some train yard
    My beard a rustlin’ coal pile
    And a dirty hat pulled low across my face
    Through cupped hands ’round a tin can
    I pretend to hold you to my breast and find
    That you’re waitin’ from the back roads
    By the rivers of my memory
    Ever smilin’, ever gentle on my mind