1. Stoney's Ghost

From the recording Running on Smoke

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Stoney's Ghost

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Cathy and I (Bob) were in Charleston walking down the street behind a "street entrepreneur" that we came to know as Ace. Ace was singing a Bob Marley song and Cathy finished a verse. He turned and he and Cathy locked eyes and smiled, and we went on our way. Later the next evening, we were walking down an alley when Ace came out of the shadows. He recognized Cathy and we stood in the alley and talked for quite awhile. He told us the story of the palmetto rose, a rose woven from palmetto palm fronds, and how wives and girlfriends would give one to their soldier husbands and boyfriends as they headed off to the civil war. The palmetto rose was to bring them back home safely. Ace told us how his old departed street mentor, Stoney, knew the secret to the true design of the traditional palmetto rose, and how, before he died, Stoney passed that know-how down to Ace. Then Ace gave Cathy a rose, and I left with a song.


Another night
Was all but gone
When she sang a line
Of his redemption song
And where some would know
A life undone
She could see
A mother’s son

And his gift to her
Was a braided rose
And when she touched it petals
She touched a ghost
And Stoney’s story is
Passed along
As the moon comes up
And the sun goes down

Poets, hustlers and ghosts
They come out at night
No tellin’ who got it wrong
And who got it right
A scar, a song, a rose
A story to tell
The curtain came up
When darkness fell
(casts it’s spell)

Though they’d never spend
A night together
Her smile would keep him
From the weather
And he thinks of her
As he sings his song
When the moon comes up
As the sun goes down