From the recording ALL COME HOME


I DIDN'T SIGN UP FOR THIS / © 2010 James Barton
From the All Come Home CD

Summer came early in 1921
By the middle of March it was hot as hell and the dog days had begun
Red dust caked the stars and bars hanging tattered, tired and torn
On the Mississippi Delta day when I was born

Mother cried all night, then never shed another tear
'Cause my deadbeat Daddy left a goodbye note and hopped the first train out of here
She found work down south in Jackson, and sent me north to the sugar cane
I never knew no better, but I knew I better not complain

But I didn’t sign up --- I didn’t sign up for this
When I made my mark on the dotted line
No I didn’t sign up --- I never signed up for this
If I knew then what I know now, I’d sooner die

Ten years old, my uncle put me on the crew
I worked like a dog out in the field picking anything that grew
We got moc'sins in the pond, and spiders in the night
If I could make it through that, I figured I’d be all right

Made it out of high school and headed on down to State
I went to class, got good grades, tried to learn how not to hate
I graduated top dog, was becoming a man of means
Then World War II and I was off to the Philippines

But I didn’t sign up…

Pacific surrender, not exactly a day at the beach
Just a little bit longer, just a little bit out of reach
G.I. P-O-W, looking at three years and change
Came back to Chicago, fell in love with a girl named Jane

When I was young we had a cure for the common cold
The weak got sick, the fit stayed well and the elders just got old
But today she doesn’t know me, she’s lost beyond the mist
The love of my life, I didn’t sign up for this

No I didn’t sign up…