The Stranger Song (1975-1988)
verse variation

You hate to watch another tired man lay down his hand
like he was giving up the Holy Game of Poker.
And while he talks his dreams to sleep,you notice there's a highway
that is curling up like smoke above his shoulder.
Now suddenly, you feel a little older.
Yes suddenly you look a little older.

About ten years ago I came to NYC with some songs. I have been living on a Greek island for about 8 years at the time. And it was kind of hard to get anybody to listen to them. You know they've kind of said "Just stand up Kid and turn around, you're a little old for this aren't you" .There was one person in NYC that listened to the songs and that was Judy Collins. And she recorded them and I think anything that happened to me subsequently was because of the interest she took in the songs when she first read them. Around that time I was living in the Penn Terminal Hotel on 34th Street, gruesome establishment as the name indicates.And I wrote this song at that time.

4Th verse variation

But now another stranger seems to want you to ignore his dreams, as though they were the burden of some other.
You've seen that man before,his golden arm dispatching cards, but now it's rusted from the elbow to the finger.
And he wants to trade the song he sings for shelter. Yeah he wants to trade the song he knows for shelter.

This is a very curious and important moment for the Band and myself. It's our last night in Germany and we are here in some kind of a very center of a series of Chinese boxes, in Germany, the strongest nation in the West, in Bonn, the capital of this gigantic nation. In a room named for your most forceful composer, Beethoven, it seems difficult for this stranger to be at the very center of all this power,and I want to thank you for welcoming me in this mystical center of fire and ice.

This comes out of a thousand hotel rooms,ten thousand railway stations...

"The Stranger Song" was included in  the O.S.T of "John Mc Cabe"
(a Robert Altman picture)