Released on Places I’ve Been, 2008, with accompaniment by Tony Marcus (fiddle), Sam Page (bass fiddle), and my pedal steel. Johnny played lead guitar on his Martin flattop.

The verse + chorus structure is from folk tradition, but the chords are more like a Beatles song. I wasn’t even thinking of those factors when I wrote this in the process of recovery from another lost love. (Previously released by Bob White, and by Mark Bradlyn & Bob Reid.)

  When your lover leaves you, help her on her way
Let her face her future with her best
If she really needs you, she’ll come back some day
Even rolling stones have got to rest

Letting people go, when you love them so
That’s the hardest lesson you can learn
Birds will learn to fly, reach the sky or die
But if you help them sometimes they return

Apron strings of sorrow tie us to our homes
Father tries to buy the family
Give the world your children — learn to let them go
Love’s a getting game unless it’s free


Different kinds of people, different kinds of love
Different kinds of heartaches every day
Different deep desires, different destinies
Every drummer drums a different way


    By Mayne Smith, 1967 © Hillgreen Music <>