Songs and Stories

You looked so sweet and beautiful
As you walked onto the railway car
You smiled and handed over a token
Then you went and took my heart

I fell in love with you
on the James Street Trolley
But getting your attention
was my folly

I wanted to talk with you
but I was shaking in my shoes
Because you were so sweet
and lovely

Trolley girl
You’re my James street trolley girl

Every day I watched you from the back of the train
Hoping to catch your eye, get you to look my way
But the same thing happened to me each and every day
I tried to be romantic but the words just slipped away

Trolley girl
My James street trolley

I wrote on the back of the transfer
Could I walk you home from your stop
I waited there so afraid of your answer
But you winked at me and said thanks a lot
let’s go for a walk


I ride with you each day on the James street trolley
And walk you to your house at MacAulay
Spending time with you, taking in the view
Of your pretty face so enthralling

I sit right next to you
On the James street trolley route
–By Mark McNeil (c) 2012

Trolley Girl was written for the play James Street (script by Ron Weihs) that was performed at the Lyric Theatre in Hamilton in November, 2012. Interesting to think with the current discussion about electrically driven LRT Transit coming to Hamilton. At one time, all public transit was electrically driven with overhead lines. As time went on trains became trolleys that were driven by electricity but used rubber wheels instead railway wheels on tracks. They looked like buses with big antennas on the roof. Eventually the electrical system was discarded altogether in favour of diesel buses.


Robert Boatescame home today
His face was cold and gray
No words he spoke, from death awoke
Didn’t know his name
It’s going to take time
Maybe hundreds and hundreds of tries
To find the poet behind those eyes

Robert …reached out today
Fom a place far away
She read to him, he began to grin
But couldn’t find words to say
It’s going to take time
Maybe hundreds and hundreds of tries
To find the poet behind those eyes

‘Cause when you took that step and fell
It’s like some hand reached out from hell

Robert …wrote a poem today
Awakened on a page
A burst of words, his song is heard
In all its toil and pain
It’s going to take time
Maybe hundreds and hundreds of tries
To find the poet behind those
They found the poet behind those eyes
’cause there’s poet behind those eyes
They found the poet behind those eyes.

–By Mark McNeil (c) 1990

Boates clipx

To see pdf of the entire newspaper article about Robert in The Hamilton Spectator from November, 1990 click: rboates. To find out about his poetry click here


Shiny Things

The title track is in a Detroit blues style, with brilliant harmonica work by Les Smith. The song is inspired by a conversation. “Why are you so disorganized? You’re always late, losing your keys.” And the other person replied, “I guess I get distracted by shiny things.”

Education in the Blues

Inspired from a long ago chat with the late great bluesman Brownie McGhee who said “the only way to play the blues is to live the blues.” The song suggests there should be an honorary “blues baccalaureate” or even PhD to acknowledge this.


Outlaw of Love

Is a wild train ride of a country rocker that takes you back to the old west. It’s about being attracted to someone who has “misery in (her) pocket and the devil somewhere up (her) sleeve.”


Sunny Days with You

Is a pop duet that was semi-finalist in the 2011 Song of the Year Awards, a major international songwriting competition. Metro News Toronto said the song “mixes Rochard and McNeil’s harmonies to perfection.”


Old Mexico

A folk/rock song about a breakup that seems typical at first.

At the 2012 Songwriters Association of Canada Songposium, music industry veteran Bobby Gale

said “it took me to that place..It was a great song…it’s the kind of song Jim Cuddy would do.”

Vancouver music industry entrepreneur Brian Thompson said, “I did like the vocal delivery…I

think it is a really good song that could very much appeal to a Tom Petty kind of a crowd.” Singersongwriter

Suzie McNeil said “that was my favourite on this panel…That chorus is strong.”


The folkiest song on the album reflects on drifting with the forces of nature with a surprise in the last verse.



No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

Recent Posts



%d bloggers like this: