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ON DOWN THE RIVER

When I was young I would go down to the Thames
And watch the rusty freighters leaving on the tide
The crew all leaning on the rails along the side
Hey Lad, you want to hitch a ride?

I used to go there ‘cos I had to get away
From all the hustle of the Dagenham estate
The endless houses every one of them the same
The dirty diesel traffic roar
The river was an open door

Oh how it called me from my bedroom down the hallway
Out through the doorway it led me down the road
Out of the city rolling to the sea
Free

Walk down the Heathway along the Chequers Lane
In past the motor works beneath the gantry crane
Between the slag heaps and the rusty railway train
They’d never see me here again

On down the river I could wish myself away
On a rusty freighter bound from London to Bombay
On down by the river I imagined I could be
Free

My father used to ask me “Billy where you been?”
I’d tell him truthfully “I’ve been down the river Thames”
He knew that someday he would stand and watch me go

On down the river
On down the river
On down the river
I could wish myself away