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R.E.M.: Fables of the Reconstruction: Driver 8


 [Driver 8]

"The power lines have floaters so the airplanes won't get snagged."
Floaters are presumably the orange balls on power lines to warn aircraft, reminiscent of fishing floaters (bobbers). [Ron Henry]

"Bells are ringing through the town again"
These are presumably the bells at the railroad crossing gate. [Ron Henry]

"Way to shield the hated heat."
Perhaps the heatshield in a locomotive? [Ron Henry]

"the Go Tell crusade"
A semi-educated guess would be that "Go Tell" is short for "Go Tell it On the Mountain" and is the theme song of some evangelical Christian revival crusade in the South. (I am picturing people under large tents witnessing and raising their hands.) But without scouring a history of Southern Church history, I can't confirm the hunch. [Ron Henry]

"Southern Crescent"
The 'Southern Crescent' [...] is a real railway line, running through Georgia on its way to New Orleans. [ICFTS] * The "Southern Crescent" was the name of the former Southern Railway's passenger train (not a railway line) that ran from New York to New Orleans. It survives today as Amtrak's "Crescent." [Kipp Teague]

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Lyrics from Kipp Teague's Lyric Archive.