The Best Laid Plans
Appalachia Through My Eyes - Love

Desperados Waiting For A Train

  Kids you remember

According to his website: "Guy Clark was born in Monahans, Texas, on November 6, 1941 and grew up in a home where the gift of a pocketknife was a rite of passage and poetry was read aloud." 

As a songwriter, Clark is famous for songs which offer slices of real life set to music. Over the years, Clark's songs have become hits for various artists including:

  • Johnny Cash - Texas 1947
  • Bobby Bare - New Cut Road
  • Ricky Skaggs - Heartbroke
  • Vince Gill - Oklahoma Borderline
  • John Conlee - The Carpenter
  • Brad Paisley - Out In The Parking Lot

Clark's song-Desperados Waiting For A Train grabs your heart from the first line: "I'd play the Red River Valley He'd sit out in the kitchen and cry."

Clark wrote the song in the late 1960s about an oilfield worker who stayed at his grandmother's hotel. The song was most notably covered by The Highway Men. The Blind Pig Gang has been doing the song for almost a year-if you've heard us do it live then I'm sure you'll remember Pap's speech about wildcaters who drill for oil on their own.

(*Before you start the video you need to stop the music player-the music controls are along the top of this page on the far left side-just above the Blind Pig logo. Click the center round button to stop the player)

I hope you enjoyed the song-I thought you might like Pap's ad libing at the end. The song is a tear jerker-it makes me think of:

  • learning to play Red River Valley on the piano-how one note seemed sweeter than all the others
  • sitting in the kitchen making music with Pap and Paul
  • all the people who've sat in Pap's house and made music over the years
  • Paul telling me I could find the chords in the song better than most of The Highway Men.
  • Papaw Wade and his tobacco
  • Pap and his snuff that used to leave stains on his chin every once in a while-he's been quit for years now
  • A 14 year old Deer Hunter pulling a loaded horse trailer home from Cataloochee because everyone else was too drunk to drive
  • the impression we each make on others-even when we don't know we're making it


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Memories!!! I don't remember singing Desperadoes, but I do remember singing Red River Valley in grade school which was in one of the last one room school houses in the nation where the teacher did everything from teaching, to fixing our hurts, to getting milk in for our lunches, to loading the furnace with coal, to sweeping or shoveling snow off the front steps each day. I took grades 4-6 in that school, and her name was Mrs. Crandall. She was amazing!!!

I remember too back in the old days how the ladies of the family, house, neighborhood, etc., sat around the kitchen table over a cuppa coffee talking about everything under the sun. Now that I'm an older lady, I wish we still did that. Nowadays it takes place in the sitting room or the family room or not at all. What a sad thing!!!

God bless.


Tipper, hope you are better today.
That was a great song.

Peggy L

Good job and liked hearing the base. First heard this song in the album "The Highway Men" with Willie N., Johnny C., Waylon J., and Kris K. Loved to listen to those guys.Some of country's greats.

Guy Clark is a favorite. My wife and I went to an Emmy Lou Harris concert on our second date in 1976.

Jerry Jeff Walker opened for her and did "Like a Coat From the Cold" and raved about the songwriter Guy Clark. Then Emmy came on and raved some more about Clark and did several of his songs including "Desperadoes Waiting for a Train."

We left the show and went to a record store and bought copies of Clark's "Old No. 1" album that has so many great songs and we've had the pleasure of hearing him perform live. He is an American treasure! Thanks for the wonderful rendition.

That's a fine version of an old favourite of mine. Thanks muchly.

Loved the song, and I could hear
that bass keeping time just like
Johnny Cash. I guess I am one of
the lucky guys that have heard
the Blind Pig Gang do it in person.

Trains always fascinated me. Even
when I was a kid, our gang would
walk a long ways just to get to
hobo the train. The old Cabboose
guy tried his best to goudge us
off with a stick, but there was
too many of us and pretty soon we
were all onboard. Then we'd steal
his fuzzees holding up the windows
to rob jacket nests. We fished


I love the song and the way your family did it. I haven't heard it for a while. Thank you for all you share with everyone.

I don't know any of the artists you mention but I loved Clark's song so much! It's amazing how many memories a song can trigger! Thanks for sharing.

Started my day off just right! Pap was purely enjoying that one, wasn't he! I see more than a bit of a sly wit there. Love picking in the kitchen.

Nicely done! I enjoyed that! Is your migraine gone? Maybe the song helped! Happy Day!

For a train robber’s personal account, see “Holding Up A Train,” a short story in "The Complete Works of O. Henry" (Doubleday & Co., NY, 1953), 831. Tulsa Jack Blake, my non-de-plume, a 1st cousin once removed, was a bank and train robber with the Doolin Gang in Oklahoma the 1890s. We have a biography and a poem about him.

Thank you, Tipper. That was beautiful! Shared it with my husband this morning & we both really enjoyed it. Nothing like good music to soothe the soul. Have a blessed day!

Tipper, I loved the song this morning. The title reminded me of my brother. When he was around 14 he and a buddy hopped on a boxcar of the train that would stop near the house we lived in when we were young. They had the big idea that they would see what it was like to be a hobo. They rode about 15 miles until the next stop where they snuck off the train and had to find a phone to call dad to come get them. Daddy was pretty upset but also sort of proud of them too. I was in awe of him for actually having the guts to do it. He has always reminded me of a desperado waiting on a train because he never stays put too long anywhere.

P.S. I hope you are feeling better!

Tipper: A great post for a chilly day! Your fellows did a great performance! I needed a break from the EARLY Sunday morning writing process. But thanks to Ethelene, I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Oops I should not leave out Jim, who solves my computer problems in great style. Stay 'tuned' for "The Fiddler of the Mountains" coming in the SPRING - maybe.

The best,
Eva Nell

Wow,, don't think I've ever heard this one, very good job..

Pap and Paul do a fine rendition of this song. I so love the way their voices blend together.

Love the song. Are you feeling better today?

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