i came into yuba as soon as i read
of all of those twenty-five hobos found dead,
i came in to find out if one of the slain
could have answered to my brother’s name.
it might be your brother, i just couldn’t say,
we hire lots of floaters who work by the day;
now i see his photo they might be the same,
but i never did ask him his name.
chorus: if i had a list and if i only knew,
i’d write down their names and sing them to you,
and when i got done, i’d sing them again,
so you’d all know each one had a name.
he had a room and ran out on the rent,
hired on a crew, i don’t know where he went,
if i knew his boss, i might make a claim,
but i never did write down his name.
he stopped for a drink every now and again,
didn’t look no different than hundreds of men;
you know these old b-ms, they all look the same,
no reason to ask him his name.
it might have been shorty, a feller i knew,
we bunked in the empties when the season was through.
you know, i been thinking, it sure is a shame
i never did ask him his name.
we always abandon the old for the new,
and second-hand people get thrown away, too;
i know it won’t help, but still it explains
why no one remembers their names.
utah phillips - yuba city lyrics are property and copyright of their owners and provided for educational purposes and personal use only.