wrote Downeaster Alexa
in 1989--while he was in jail.
He had been protesting the cutting of fishing rights with local fishermen
on Long Island--where Joel grew up. A bunch of the protesters were
arrested, Joel along with them. While he was locked up, he started
to write Downeaster Alexa in tribute to the fishermen of LI who continued
to fish every day
while the fish grew more scarce
I know there's fish out there but where God only knows
and the fish that were there were being protected by new laws.
Since they told me I can't sell no stripers
So, the fishermen are forced to go further and further out each year
to find fish they can sell
Now I drive my Downeaster Alexa
More and more miles from shore every year
to support their families.
I've got bills to pay and children who need clothes
Valiantly carrying on, because it's the only thing they know how to
I was a bayman like my father was before
Can't make a living as a bayman anymore
and they won't admit that Long Island isn't the same place it was
thirty years ago.
But there ain't no Island left for islanders like me