James Varda – This Train Is Lost – a great Protest song.

When James Varda died we lost a truly unique voice, a craftsman in lyric and music, a poet, an individual who gave a new perspective to protest and Englishness. He was capable of songs of great power and lyrical beauty.

His first album – Hunger – had all the force and fury of punk in a folk setting. His future albums captured the pastoral beauty of the English countryside and his last album was so achingly beautiful it wrenched at the heart. As he was dying from a terminal illness he poured all his passion and love into producing a masterpiece – a coming to terms with death and a celebration of life and love.

This is a strong song from his first album – a swipe at the senseless, directionless carnage of our society.

James did not want to be part of this machine of destruction and pointless stupidity – neither do I.

This Train Is Lost

I’m gonna move to another country

I’m gonna find myself a new name

I’m gonna wake up

Shed this skin

Because I’ve never felt at home any place I’ve been

I’m getting off this train

Oh I ain’t gonna  ride this train no more

Oh I ain’t gonna ride this train no more


How much is nothing?

How far is nowhere?

We’ll sell you a map

But you’ll never get there.

I don’t know what I want

But I know it’s not this

If I pulled love out

The world would cease to exist.

I’m getting off this train

Oh I ain’t gonna ride this train no more

Oh I ain’t gonna ride this train no more


Well there’s no danger

Everything is very sure

You wake up in the morning

And you walk out the door

All this repetition that tries to strangle hope

I’m going to chart an unknown river

In a porcelain boat

I’m getting off this train

Oh I ain’t gonna ride this train no more

Oh I ain’t gonna ride this train no more

I’m getting off this train

This train is lost


9 thoughts on “James Varda – This Train Is Lost – a great Protest song.

  1. Doesn’t that seem like immature song-writing ability don’t you think?
    Or it doesn’t read nearly as well.
    I can’t fathom what you find there.
    Whatever, it wouldn’t be of any interest of me, I like writers who can write.

    1. Not to me, as a writer, it doesn’t. But everybody has their own likes and dislikes. I think James is brilliant – almost right up there with the Harpers and Dylan. So who is it that rocks your boat?

      1. ? Nowhere close to Bob Dylan, this is ten-a-penny random thought nothingness.
        The Harpers? None too sure about the son, and Roy Harper hasn’t written much of worth for decades.
        Anybody can say they’re a writer and too many do so with some conviction. Needless to say it’s the readership that determines the truth of that.

      2. Harry/Andrew – one can say exactly the same thing about Dylan. After his purple patch in the sixties the decent tracks and albums have been few and far between.
        No it is not the readership that decides whether you are a writer or not. If you write then you are a writer. I write and have some fine books to show for it thanks. Whether you or anybody else likes them or not is of no consequence. What matters is whether I like what I write and I do, thanks.

    1. Cardboard City is not one I have a great affinity with. But there’s a few I’ve liked after that. The Green Man comes to mind. But certainly he has not produced anything to rival his great masterpieces of the 70s.

      1. Whose Andrew? As far as I can see it’s just the two of us … queue the music Bill.
        I don’t think you’ve given these Dylan albums much attention. Over the last few years I occasionally notice you’ve made mention of Dylan from time to time on post headers and if I read any I got the distinct impression that you lost contact in around 1966. I’d go as far to say that you would not be someone who I’d wish to discuss the work of Dylan with – simply because of that and nothing personal you understand. I don’t see your moniker anywhere on any Dylan blogs or discussion sites so I guess that you’ve just made a generalist statement based on nothing more than your own apathy and myopia, and probably a challenged attention span, because let’s face it, there are just too many albums for the casual fan from 50 years ago to even begin to contemplate. Right? I could ask you 100 questions about Dylan albums and you would not be able to correctly answer just one of them.
        Anyone who cannot express their joy and delight over the albums Blood On The Tracks and Desire, just as an example, therefore, have little or no knowledge, or at best, not nearly enough. Anyway, I digress.

        Sorry, but the Green Man did nothing for me and the entire album was a bitter disappointment, not just for me but for every Roy Harper fan that I’ve ever talked to.
        It was just a notch better than the one before it which was a wasted effort.
        I really don’t think I’d get very much from your rather contrite preferences regards song-writer. Basically, I really hate all that singer-songwriter introverted stuff. My life was never miserable and I definitely don’t need to listen to their misery.

        About this here Varda fellow. I clicked onto a youtube of Varda and guess what – I thought he was as dull as dishwater. You rate this? He’s a fifth form schoolboy whose lost his tuck box.
        Why don’t you tell me what that song you’re highlighted is all about?
        Personally, I reckon you couldn’t because it’s about something and nothing much.
        It’s just amateurish stream of consciousness blah that I’ll hear on any given freebie magazine CD.

        I wouldn’t quite agree with your take on what makes a writer. Readership makes a writer, not sitting in the spare bedroom typing to warm one’s own sole – that sort of pasttime is governed by another name entirely, that of hobbyist. Perhaps you are a hobbyist writer. Good for you and I do hope it enlightens that space in your life that you feel the need to fill.
        I’ve no idea of any of your books as I’ve never heard of you as a writer. Who is your publisher?

      2. Right Andrew – who you kidding?
        Well that shows how much you know about me. My passion for Dylan extends up to today even though a lot of his later stuff has been pretty piss poor.
        I’ve no need to go on loads of Dylan sites. I have all the music and a mass of concerts and outtakes. Who cares what other people think?

      3. What’s difficult for you, five letters, begins with H, pronounced Harry. Got it. Good.
        I don’t know anything about you except that you’ve so far displayed a questionable appreciation of some fifth-form singer person. Other than that…
        Your passion? Didn’t I read somewhere of your attendance to some gig and it had to be explained to you that Dylan has been sat behind keyboards for about 14 years?
        In fact, if memory serves he was an Andrew. I’m sure I could look it up and might even have marked it to read and it’s still on my listings. Didn’t he mock you for something like sitting so far away from the stage that you were half way out to the car park? Now I remember. Now I get it. He bowled you out the park and you’ve been unable to come to terms with that, so any other Dylan fan is automatically treated as a potential threat. My word, you must struggle with your ego. You probably banged your head coming through the door onto this page. That conceit must weigh heavily on your pretensions.
        I struggle to agree with any claims regarding “passion”.
        I’d be interested to know of your preferred label/s for bootlegs.

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