The first thing I remember knowing,
Was a lonesome whistle blowing,
And a young un’s dream of growing up to ride.
On a freight train leaving town,
Not knowing where I’m bound,
No one could change my mind but Mama tried.
One and only rebel child,
From a family, meek and mild,
My Mama seemed to know what lay in store.
Despite all my Sunday learning,
Towards the bad, I kept on turning.
‘Til Mama couldn’t hold me anymore.
And I turned twenty-one in prison doing life without parole.
No one could steer me right but Mama tried, Mama tried.
Mama tried to raise me better, but her pleading, I denied.
That leaves only me to blame ’cause Mama tried.
– Merle Haggard