This track is both obscure and highly pedigreed. It appears on a solo album by Peter Yarrow (of Peter Paul and Mary) titled That's Enough for Me. Members of The Band play on the track as well.
"Livin’ a hobo’s life’s not the/ Glamour that it seems/ It’s a drag at the end of the day." This sentiment seems to run counter to the many other Simon songs in which he complains about feeling overworked and wishes for a more leisurely pace.
The first lines are slightly off: "Ask the groundhog/ Diggin’ for a hole." Why is he digging to find a hole? Doesn't he create a hole by the act of digging itself? Why digging "for" a hole, and not just "diggin' a hole," or if he needed another beat, "diggin' him a hole"? In any case, the industrious groundhog is contrasted with "the dog who’s gone astray," and presumably is not digging for a bone.
As for the speaker, "I’m diggin’ down/ Beneath my pride," and is about to reveal something deeply personal below his surface: "I get the blues all morning/ Morning is my best time of the day." This could mean two things: One, he enjoys being miserable; or two, his merely bluesy mornings are nothing compared with how abjectly depressed he gets as the day wears on.
The next line refers to yet another animal, a racehorse: "Stanley Dancer took my money/ Call it an off night at the track." Wait, it gets worse-- it wasn't his money to begin with: "Give me that one sweet chance/ To salvage our romance/ And I’ll pay every cent of it back."
This is a terrible negotiator. He takes her money and loses it at the track. Rather than say, "If I pay it back, will you give our love another chance?" his ploy is "If you take me back, then I'll pay you back." At this point, Stanley Dancer is a better bet.
If our speaker knows that "the hobo's life" isn't worth living, it must be from experience. He's certainly tried it.
He's not done trying to win her back. His next move is the old "Only you can save me! How can you not?" routine: "Pull my life-line...Open your heart... Now that I need a helping hand/ Would you take your baby home."
OK, let's follow his logic: He needs a "helping hand" because he's broke. He's broke because he owes her money. He owes her money because he stole her money and gambled it away. Is she supposed to forget that part?
Well, yeah! "Touch my loyalties," he pleads, "Honey don’t treat your man this way." As if he was the one done wrong by her breaking up with him, as if his "loyalties" have been to her... and not to Stanley Dancer, the no-trick pony.
There is an old Jewish joke about the definition of the word "chutzpah": Imagine a man who kills his parents, then begs the court for mercy because he's an orphan.
Now, this guy didn't kill anybody, but the groundhog is not the one here digging himself in deeper.
Musical Note: This song was left off of the Bridge album.
Next Song: Allergies