Keep On Rollin’- the story behind the song

All of the songs on the album, ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ are based on life experience. Some are nearly literal in their retelling of a personal story – ‘Keep on Rollin’ is a prime example. 

When I was young (so many, many years ago) my family was exceptionally poor. During one particularly dire period, my little sister, Sissie, and I would accompany our father to the railroad yards near our house. There, we would scrounge and salvage piles of coal which we could burn in our furnace at home. 

We also gathered up feed corn – meant for live-stock – which we took home to hand grind for corn bread. We always had to be on the alert for railroad security who would have arrested us for pilfering. It was Sissie’s job to keep watch while Dad I did the work. (The railroad ‘dicks’ were notorious for beating the trespassers they caught, mercilessly.) 

On other days we’d walk the vacant lots and fields on the outskirts of town and gather wild greens (e.g. Swiss chard and lamb’s quarter-otherwise known as ‘pig weed’.  My dad never called it that for obvious reasons. (BTW, Queen Anne’s lace is a wildflower in Central Illinois. It’s also called ‘wild carrot’ and is poisonous. )

The St Stan’s refers to St Stanislaus,  the Roman Catholic church in the Polish neighborhood of my hometown, Kankakee, Illinois. One Easter, there was a blizzard and we couldn’t make it to Mass at our normal parish. At my father’s insistence, we trudged through the blizzard to St Stan’s to attend Mass and receive Communion; the Eucharist. 

My dad would set traps and taught me to rig dead-falls and snares to catch rabbits. I remember that he used to go into the fallow field across the road from our house and hunt pheasants with a bow and arrow as you couldn’t discharge firearms in the city limits. We’d feast on rabbit and pheasant when the hunting and trapping was good. Once, a pheasant, flushed from cover, flew into the side of our old Chevy, killing itself and denting the fender. It became our supper that night.

My mother would use the pheasant feathers to cover pill-box hats and such. Although my dad did fashion little slippers for winter, none of us wanted to wear the rabbit pelts.

As I’ve said, my songs are stories of my life. In a manner of speaking, ‘Feeling Fifteen Again’ is a testimony to the kindness of my friends and family. Without their loving assistance in dire times, I might not have survived. No joke. There were several times in my life when I would have been homeless and starving except for those who loved me. 

I dedicated the album to those who ‘gave me life, kept me alive and those who gave me reason to live.’ I should have put that dedication on the fronts-piece of the booklet rather on the end-piece. 

Keep on Rolling
DC Rapier©2018

You gotta keep on rollin’ – Roll past the break of dawn
You gotta keep on rollin’ – Ain’t no moss on this stone
You gotta keep on rollin’ – roll ‘til the rollin’s done
You gotta keep on rollin’ – Can’t nothing slow us down.

Down by the railroad tracks; scrounging in the switch-yard
Gather up the good feed corn that’s fallen from the box-cars
Find some stoker-coal. Take it to warm our home

Chorus

Wading in the Queen Ann’s lace; Picking Swiss chard and lamb’s quarter
Daddy used a guitar string; Caught himself a little brown coney.
Sissie cried and would not eat. All she had was cornbread

Chorus
Trudging through an Easter blizzard, on the way to Mass at St. Stan’s
Gotta take the Eucharist; Or we’re facing sure damnation
Heading home, my daddy told me, ‘Here’s what you’re gonna learn from this.’
Chorus

 

 

 

[ 中文歌詞翻譯 ]

繼續向前邁進 – 直到黎明破曉的那一刻
繼續向前邁進 – 直到石頭上已經沒有青苔
繼續向前邁進 – 直到已經無法再跨下一步
繼續向前邁進 – 直到沒有任何事可以阻止我們

沿著鐵路車軌; 在火車調度廠四處尋找
收集給牲畜的玉米飼料; 那是從棚車掉下來的
找到一些煤炭; 帶它溫暖我們的家

小心翼翼地穿越過安皇后的蕾絲*; 摘了瑞士甜菜和一些野菜*
父親用了吉他弦抓到一隻棕色的兔子
Sissie *在哭也不肯吃東西; 因為她只有玉米麵包

步履艱難地走在復活節的暴風雪中; 在要去聖斯塔尼斯勞斯*的路上
一定要接受聖餐儀式; 否則我們肯定會受到譴責
回家的路上, 父親這樣地告訴我;
這是你將從中學到的東西

[ 備註 ]

*安皇后的蕾絲是伊利諾州中部的一種有毒的野花
*野菜- 例如豬菜,和莧菜或稱之為大家知道的「豬雜菜」
*Sissie – 作詞者/主唱DC的妹妹, 在哭的原因是不願意吃那隻可憐兔子
*聖斯塔尼斯勞斯 – 羅馬天主教堂


[ 此首歌的背景及故事 ]

在我的小時候,我們家境非常不好。那個處境艱難的時期裡,我的小妹Sissie與我,會跟爸爸到我家附近的火車調度廠,乞討跟打撈成堆的煤炭,供家裡的暖爐燃燒。我們也收集給牲畜的玉米飼料,帶回家手磨做成玉米麵包,一邊還得留心鐵路警察逮捕正在偷竊的我們。

父親會自設陷阱、再教我們如何操縱這些致命圈套捕捉兔子。我記得他習慣於到我們家對面休耕的田地用弓箭獵野雞,因為城裡有規定不能用槍火。若是打獵的狀態好、或陷阱設得好,我們就有野兔野雞加菜的盛宴。

聖斯塔尼斯勞斯,是在我家鄉伊利諾州坎卡基市,波蘭人近鄰地區的羅馬天主教堂。有一年的復活節下暴風雪,我們無法順利抵達我們所屬教區舉辦的彌撒。但在父親的堅持下,我們硬是跋涉過這場暴風雪到聖斯塔尼斯勞斯,參加彌撒及接受聖餐儀式。

這首歌最主要在闡述父親藉著生活的困難來教導兒子不管遇到什麼挫折, 都必須去面對它去克服它. 對周遭環境無情的對待, 家人存活的需求. 不管事情有多沒困難, 都應該必須去做他應該做的事, 因為這是他的責任也是他的義務.

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