Al Stewart, “Roads to Moscow” (live at “Don Kirshner’s Rock Concert”, 1976)


They crossed over the border, the hour before dawn moving in lines through the day / Most of our planes were destroyed on the ground where they lay / Waiting for orders we held in the wood / Word from the front never came / By evening the sound of the gunfire was miles away

Softly we move through the shadows, slip away through the trees / Crossing their lines in the mists in the fields on our hands and on our knees

And all that I ever was able to see / The fire in the air glowing red silhouetting the dust on the breeze

All summer they drove us back through the Ukraine / Smolensk and Viasma soon fell / By autumn we stood with our backs to the town of Orel / Closer and closer to Moscow they come / Riding the wind like a bell / General Guderian stands at the crest of the hill

Winter brought with her the rains, oceans of mud filled the roads / Gluing the tracks of their tanks to the ground while the sky filled with snow

And all that I ever was able to see / The fire in the air glowing red silhouetting the snow on the breeze

In the footsteps of Napoleon the shadow figures stagger through the winter / Falling back before the gates of Moscow, standing in the wings like an avenger / And far away behind their lines the partisans are stirring in the forest / Coming unexpectedly upon their outposts, growing like a promise / You’ll never know, you’ll never know which way to turn, which way to look you’ll never see us / As we’re stealing through the blackness of the night, you’ll never know, you’ll never hear us

And the evening sings in a voice of amber, the dawn is surely coming / The evening roads leads to Stalingrad, and the sky is softly humming

Two broken tigers on fire in the night / Flicker their souls to the wind / We wait in the lines for the final approach to begin / It’s been almost four years that I’ve carried a gun / At home it will almost be spring / The flames of the tigers are lighting the road to Berlin

Softly we move through the ruins that bow to the ground / The old men and children they send out to face us, they can’t slow us down

And all that I ever was able to see the eyes of the city are opening / Now it’s the end of a dream

I’m coming home, I’m coming home, you can taste it in the wind, the war is over / And I listen to the clicking of the train-wheels as we roll across the border / And now they ask me of the time that I was caught behind their lines and taken prisoner / “They only held me for a day, a lucky break” I say, they turn and listen closer

I’ll never know, I’ll never know why I was taken from the line and all the others / To board a special train and journey deep into the heart of holy Russia / And it’s cold and damp in the transit camp, and the air is still and sullen / And the pale sun of October whispers the snow will soon be coming / And I wonder when I’ll be home again, and the morning answers “Never” / And the evening sighs, and the steely Russian skies go on forever

[By Al Stewart © Cbs / Universal Music Publishing Group, 1973]

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