John Malcolm Penn
Driftin' River June 2014
John Malcolm Penn


That Eddie Dean western movie and I premiered on the same day. since the female lead was Shirley Patterson, my Godmother, I just had to write this song. Much like the movie's river, the song's lyrics drift from a rancher's distressed daughter to a wider social commentary.




Jenny was the farmer’s daughter

Daddy had the farm in a fix

She got help from the town banker

Nothin’ but a bag full of tricks

Lies just grow and flow like water

She said it wouldn’t do any harm

To get on a bus, I don’t want much

Just a life away from this farm


(chorus) Fool me once, I had it comin’

Fool me twice, I had it comin’ again

Fool me tray, not okay

For I won’t go, and I won’t row

This driftin’ river again


Seems to me we’re all like Jenny

Politicians got us in a fix

One side says, trust the bankers

The other has a bag full of tricks

Lies just grow and flow like water

Before there’s any more harm

Kick ‘em off the bus, we can’t trust ‘em

We’re tired of sharecropping their farm



John Malcolm Penn
Hangtown Fry 2012
John Malcolm Penn


A newly built interstate highway almost always casts small town businesses aside and friendly little motels seem farther away.


In forty-six we moved out here to Beaumont

To start a little business of our own

They built the freeway through in sixty-two

Everything we had is now lost and gone


I see them in the distance from my window

The faces in the cars look straight ahead

They roll on by too loud for comfort

But too far away to rent a motel bed


Chorus:  So if you're passing on you’re way

From Palm Springs to LA.

Give a wave to good old Dave; say hello to progress

And goodbye to the Moonlight Motor Inn


Mother’s sleeping in the back room

The TV shows are the only life she has

Our son is now a Captain in the Air Force

Can’t find the time to write his proud old dad


Our daughter wants to leave the place at eighteen

And run away with a jobless Beaumont man

To hitchhike out of California

And make a life in the rocky mountain land


The sun comes up behind the freeway

And sets down by the dried up swimming pool

Can’t make the payments on the mortgage

Can’t turn the red ink into blue


The weeds are growing through the gravel

The blacktops cracked and partly washed away

Our neon sign points in the wrong direction

The Moonlight Motor Inn closed down today


Driftin' River debuts at #10 on Folk DJ-L charts

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