Jim Abel's Music Hall

The Ballad of Clay Chastain

 

You all know the controversy. Kansas City has poor public transportation. No subways, light rail, heavy rail, trolley, monorail or pedicabs. Few, inconvenient and underused buses. Native son Clay Chastain has made it his life's work to change that situation, preaching the value of light rail to anyone he could force to listen. Through the petition process he six times asked the voters to force the City Fathers to adopt light rail. Six times he was turned down. Moving to Virginia did not deter Clay, either, and on the seventh attempt, he was successful. At least with the voters. The City Council decided to reject the vote of the people and, sometime next year, perhaps, bring their own plan. A trifle high-handed, but Clay's plan was unworkable in spots and flaky around the edges. Clay has promised to fight his next battle in court.

Such dramas are the stuff of folk music. So, starting with The MTA Song, words by Jacqueline Steiner and Bess Lomax Hawes, I tossed out a parody song. A friend posted it to a blog, some other blogs picked it up, a local television station interviewed me, the Kansas City Star mentioned the song, and it was heard on local radio. Oh yes, Clay Chastain was not amused. Imagine.

Home

Hear Me In Person

Thunder

New Singles

Free MP3s

Contact Me

Listen to the Song 6:00 O'Clock News, KMBC-TV 9, 11/29/07

The Ballad of Clay Chastain

Left-click to LISTEN

(Click on a Mac)

Right-click to DOWNLOAD

(Control-click on a Mac)

Well, let me tell you the story ‘bout a man named Clay
Who was possessed of a one-track brain,
Put his pencils in his left hand and petitions in his right
And set out to ride the train.

Now Clay Chastain was a man with a mission
To bring light rail to his home town.
he moved to Virginia, but kept popping up just when you
thought he’d finally stopped coming round.

Will he ever go ‘way, no he’ll never go ‘way,
He’ll be here each election day.
Even if light rail never hits the streets of KC,
He’s the man who’ll never go way.

For six elections straight he asked the voters for approval
And six times they said “No”.
Clay never faltered but cried “One More Ballot”
On the seventh day it was so!

Will he ever go ‘way, no he’ll never go ‘way,
He’ll be here each election day.
Even if light rail never hits the streets of KC,
He’s the man who’ll never go way.

Now the people have spoken, though the plan is broken,
And there’s no money anywhere.
Funk’s a spoil sport, Clay says “I’ll see you in court”,
And in Johnson County no one cares.

Will he ever go ‘way, no he’ll never go ‘way,
He’ll be here come judgment day.
Even if light rail never hits the streets of KC,
He’s the man who’ll never go way.
Yes, he’s the man who’ll never go way.

Clay’s the man who’ll never go way.

© 2007 by Jim Abel All Rights Reserved

Are you on my mailing list? If not, click right here:

"Local folkie sings a song for our age: 'The Ballad of Clay Chastain'"

       - KansasCity.com

"KC's alternative weekly, The Pitch — brought us the most irresistable piece of folk tunage to clog our high-speed tubes: The Ballad of Clay Chastain. It makes us pine for the days when we would record Dr. Demento on cassettes."

       - kclightrail.com

"Seems that our city's light rail fanatic has earned himself some folksy mockery. And we're always up for musical satire here at the WB, especially when it involves local jokers like Clay Chastain."

       - Kansas City Pitch Wayward Blog

"There’s a fine line between imitation and flattery: Local folksinger Jim Abel walked it recently via a parody song called 'The Ballad of Clay Chastain.' ”

       - Hearne Christopher - The Kansas City Star

All songs, words and music, plus the entire website © 2008 and various dates by Jim Abel

wordsandmusic.us