Red Sovine's "Classic Narrations"

(transcribed by Bill Rockenbach, October 9, 1998)

Note: These songs were transcribed from a cassette tape, which was in turn recorded from an LP record I bought quite a number of years ago. It's possible that some songs from the LP may be missing, or songs from other albums included by mistake. Please let me know if you find any errors.


  1. Dream House for Sale
  2. I Think I Can Sleep Tonight
  3. A Dear John Letter
  4. Giddy Up, Go
  5. Class of '49
  6. Twenty-One
  7. What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)
  8. Phantom 309

Dream House For Sale

'Dream House For Sale'--
Maybe it's meant for you,
If you're among the lucky ones
And have found a love that's true.

I was looking through the morning paper,
Like a lot of us do every day,
When I saw an ad that caught my eye,
And this is what it had to say.

"One dream house for sale--
It's a bargain for nothing down,
And there's no closing cost for the dreams I lost
When the girl I loved left town.

"There's five rooms, a bath, on an acre of land
And a nursery painted pink and blue,
A baby bed and a little white highchair,
And it's all almost brand-new.

"There's a sad-eyed old dog and a picket fence
Around a yard that's full of weeds.
Why, just one look and it's easy to see
A little love is all that it needs.

'Dream House For Sale'--
If you've found a love that's true.

"The only thing wrong with this house of mine
Is the black cloud that hangs above.
I guess it's there to keep out the sunshine
Since mine's a house without love.

"That's just about all there is to tell
About a boy and his love that failed.
Four words tell the rest of my story--
Dream House For Sale."

'Dream House For Sale'--
Maybe it's meant for you,
If you're among the lucky ones
And have found a love that's true.

I Think I Can Sleep Tonight

I have just received a letter that was written by my son
And as I read it, dear God, I can tell the damage that's been done.
He started off, "Dear Daddy, how is everything today?
I hope you're doing fine and things with you are still okay.

I've just finished up my homework and Mom said I ought to write.
It's funny, Dad, but I guess we both must've had you in mind tonight.
Gee, I sure miss you and the times that we've had
But, living here with Mom, I guess it really isn't bad.

But she's a girl, Dad, and I can't play those games she used to play.
She made me take my bullfrogs back and throw my gum away.
But, Dad, I love her, and you know I love you, too.
Why can't we live together just the way we used to do?

Mommy said this summer I could come and stay with you.
Why don't you call her up, Dad, and talk her into coming too?
I think she'd come to stay if you'd just hint a little bit,
And if she knew that I was writing this, boy, would she have a fit!

I mentioned you the other night in my prayers
And, oh my, she got all choked up and turned away and was just about to cry.
So I got up and took her hand and my eyes was in a blur
And she said, "Someday you'll understand, son,"
  and that's about all I got from her.

Oh, there's guys that come to see her, but she won't invite them in.
I ask her why and she just says she's not interested in men.
She keeps your same old picture on the table by the bed
And I think she misses you, Dad, if it's not all just in my head.

I know I'm awfully little to know the troubles, there's no doubt,
And I hope I never really know what it's all about.
But, Dad, if you two could just get together, everything would be alright,
And, Daddy, if prayers are really answered, I think I can sleep tonight.

A Dear John Letter

Dear John, oh, how I hate to write,
Dear John, I must let you know tonight
That my love for you has died away like grass upon the lawn
And tonight I wed another, dear John.

I was overseas in battle when the postman came to me
And he handed me a letter; I was just as happy as I could be.
For the fighting was all over and the battle had been won,
And then I opened up your letter and it started, "Dear John."

Dear John, oh, how I hate to write,
Dear John, I must let you know tonight
That my love for you has died away like grass upon the lawn
And tonight I wed another, dear John.

"Will you please send back my picture?  My husband wants it now.
And when I tell you who I'm wedding, I know you won't care, dear, anyhow.
Now the ceremony has just started and tonight I'll wed your brother Don.
Will you please wish us happiness forever, dear John?"

Giddy Up, Go

The highways that wind and wander
  Over mountains and valleys, deserts and plains,
I guess I've drove about all of them,
  Because for the past 25 years the cab of a truck has been my home.
And it'd be kind of hard for me to settle down and not be on the go.

Why, I remember the first truck I drove,
  I was so proud I could hardly wait to get home and show my wife and little boy.
And my little boy was so excited, like when he saw his first snow.
He wasn't old enough to say too many words,
  he just kept hollering, "Giddy up, go, Daddy! Giddy up, go!"
So that's what I named the old truck: Giddy Up, Go.

Oh, things wasn't too bad;
  of course, I was gone a lot
And after about six years, I got home one day
  and found my wife and little boy gone.
I couldn't find out what happened.  Nobody seemed to know.
So from that day on it's been me and old Giddy Up, Go.

I've made a lot of friends at all the truck stops
  and some of them would kid me about my little sign.
Of course, they knew where I got the name
  because I'd told them about that little boy of mine
And how his first word about the truck was "Giddy Up, Go!"

Today I was barreling down old 66
  when up beside me pulled a brand-new diesel rig, both stacks blowing black coal.
And as he pulled around and back in front of me
  a big lump came in my throat
And my eyes watered like I had a bad old cold.
A little sign on the back of the truck that read Giddy Up, Go.

Well, I pushed old Giddy Up and stayed right on him
  until the next truck stop where he'd pulled up.
I waited until he went in and offered to buy him a cup.
Well, we got to talking shop and I said,
  "How did you come by the name on your truck, Giddy Up, Go?"
"Well," he said, "I got it from my pop."

"Dad used to drive a truck.  That's what Mom talked about a lot.
You see, I lost Mom when I was just past sixteen,
  and I lost all track of Pop.
Mama said he got the name from me."
I shook his hand and told him that I had something I wanted him to see.

I took him out to the old truck
  and brushed off some of the dirt so the name would show,
And his eyes got big and bright as he read Giddy Up, Go.
Oh, we had a lot of things to talk about
  and, buddy, I felt like a king,
And now we've just pulled back on old 66
  and he handled that rig better than any gear-jammer that I'd ever seen.

Well, now the lines on the highway have got a much brighter glow,
As we go roaring down the road,
  and we stare at that little sign that reads Giddy Up, Go.

Class Of '49

Well, it feels so good to be coming home after all these years,
But if feels so good to know that I can still cry real tears.
Over there's my old alma mater, still covered with ivy vines,
Where I was voted most likely to succeed, class of '49.

There's a little ice cream parlor where many an afternoon
I sat and boasted of the day I'd be a big tycoon.
And my classmates sat and listened with admiration of my great mind,
So I was voted most likely to succeed, class of '49.

  In that big house upon the hill
    lives the girl I left behind,
  I hated to, but I knew
    she'd only slow down my time.

I can't wait to see all their faces when they see that I'm back
And how surprised they're gonna be when I pull up in this Cadillac.
I want to thank you again for the ride, young man,
  and thanks for this bottle of wine--
The guy most likely to succeed thinks you're very kind.
  The guy most likely to succeed, class of '49.


Dear son: I know I haven't been much of a daddy, son,
But I had to write tonight because tomorrow you'll be 21.
I guess your mom has told you, boy, that I was just a no-good drunken bum
And left her before you were even born.
She worked hard through all these years--I know from what I hear--
To bring you up right and keep you near.
Oh, I wish things could've been different, son,
I've been ashamed all of my life for the things that I've done.
But times were hard when you came along;
I was young and so was your mom.
And I worked for wages that wouldn't even pay the rent,
So I left your mother and I thought it was right.

Oh, I wandered all over this country, son,
There isn't much your daddy hasn't done.
Son, your mom was right--I was just a bum--
But I've learned a lot of things that I'd like to tell you about.
Life is full of roads and paths;
  they cross and meet like people on a busy street.
And you're young, son,
Your life as a man has just begun.
So choose the path that leads to right
For this path leads to peace of mind with a future, so hold on tight.

I took the wrong path through friends of mine,
And I followed and they led me like I was blind.
And I didn't care, son, what each turn brought
As long as a woman or a bottle could be bought.
I killed a man a year ago, and I did it out of spite,
Over a bottle, and I know it wasn't right.
The warden got your address, son,
  from the funeral home that laid your mom to rest.
It's hard to realize that you're a big boy now
  and a soldier, I was surprised to hear.

So, son, take my advice, from a man that knows.
Choose life's path you know is right.
Walk in your mother's shadow,
  and things for you will turn out right.
Don't choose the one that your unknown daddy chose,
For that path was full of thorns without the rose,
Just self-made friends that turned out foes.

This is my first letter to you, son,
  and, sorry to say, will also be my last,
Because tomorrow they'll come for me
  and that's why I had to write tonight,
For tomorrow, when you become a man at 21,
My life here on earth will be done.
Oh, I wish I could've met you, son.
Happy birthday!  Forgive me.  --Dad

What Would You Do (If Jesus Came to Your House)

If Jesus came to your house,
  I wonder what you'd do.

Yes, if Jesus came to your house
  to spend a day or two,
If He came unexpected,
  just dropped in on you.

Oh, I know you'd give your nicest room
  to such an honored guest,
And all the food you'd serve to Him
  would be the very best.

And you would keep assuring Him
  you're glad to have Him there,
That serving Him in your home
  is joy beyond compare.

But when you saw Him coming
  would you meet Him at the door,
With arms outstretched in welcome
  to your Heavenly Visitor?

Or would you have to change your clothes
  before you let Him in,
Or hide some magazines
  and put the Bible where they'd been?

Would you turn the radio off
  and hope He hadn't heard,
And wish you hadn't uttered
  that last loud, hasty word?

And would you hide your worldly music
  and put some hymnbooks out?
Could you let Jesus walk right in,
  or would you rush about?

And I wonder,
  if the Savior spent a day or two with you,
Would you go right on doing
  the things you always do?

Would you go right on saying
  the things you always say?
Would life for you continue
  as it does from day to day?

And would your family conversation
  keep up its usual pace?
And would you find it hard each meal
  to say a table grace?

Would you sing the songs you always sing
  and read the books you read,
And let Him know the things
  on which your mind and spirit feed?

And would you take Jesus with you
  everywhere you'd planned to go,
Or maybe would you change your plans
  for just a day or so?

Would you be glad to have Him meet
  your very closest friends,
Or hope that they would stay away
  until His visit ends?

And would you be glad to have Him stay
  forever on and on,
Or would you sigh with great relief
  when He at last was gone?

Oh, it might be interesting
  to know the things that you would do
If Jesus came in person
  to spend some time with you.

Phantom 309

1. I was out on the west coast tryin' to make a buck,
   And things didn't work out; I was down on my luck.
   Got tired o' roamin' and bummin' around
   So I started thumbin' back East, toward my hometown.

2. Made a lotta miles the first two days
   And I figured I'd be home in a week if my luck held out this way.
   But the third night I got stranded way outta town
   At a cold lonely crossroads; rain was pourin' down.

3. I was hungry and freezin' and done caught a chill
   When the lights of a big semi topped the hill.
   Lord, I sure was glad to hear them airbrakes come on,
   And I climbed in that cab, where I knew it'd be warm.

4. At the wheel set [= sat] a big man; he weighed about 210.
   He stuck out his hand and said with a grin,
   "Big Joe's the name," and I told him mine.
   And he said, "The name o' my rig is Phantom 309."

5. I asked him why he called his rig such a name.
   He said, "Son, this old Mac can put 'em all to shame.
   There ain't a driver or a rig a-runnin' any line
   That's seen nothin' but taillights from Phantom 309."

6. Well, we rode and talked the better part o' the night,
   When the lights of a truck stop came in sight.
   He said, "I'm sorry, son, this is far as you go
   'Cause I gotta make a turn just on up the road."

7. Well, he tossed me a dime as he pulled 'er in low
   And said, "Have yourself a hot cup on ol' Big Joe."
   When Joe an' his rig roared out into the night
   In nothin' flat he was clean outta sight.

8. Well, I went inside and ordered me a cup;
   Told the waiter Big Joe was settin' me up.
   Oh, you coulda heard a pin drop; it got deathly quiet,
   And the waiter's face turned kinda white.

9. "Well, did I say somethin' wrong?" I said with a halfway grin.
   He said, "No, this happens every now and then.
   Every driver in here knows Big Joe,
   But, son, let me tell ya what happened about ten years ago.

10. "At the crossroads tonight, where you flagged 'im down,
   There was a busload o' kids a-comin' from town,
   And they were right in the middle when Big Joe topped the hill.
   It could've been slaughter, but he turned his wheels.

11. "Well, Joe lost control, went into a skid,
   And gave his life to save that bunch o' kids.
   And there at that crossroads was the end of the line
   For Big Joe and Phantom 309.

12. "But every now and then some hiker'll come by
   And, like you, Big Joe'll give 'im a ride.
   Here, have another cup, and forget about the dime;
   Keep it as a souvenir from Big Joe and Phantom 309."

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