Song Lyric Sunday: “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye”

Happy Father’s Day to all you fathers, grandfathers, stepfathers, great-grandfathers, foster fathers and pet fathers!

Here’s one by Chet Atkins that he used to sing at the end of his concerts. Now that Chet’s gone, Tommy Emmanuel sings it at the end of his concerts. Tommy has a little explanation at the beginning.

Lyrics from

When I was young
My dad would say
“C’mon son, let’s go out and play”
Sometimes it seems like yesterday

And I’d climb up the closet shelf
When I was all by myself
Grab his hat and fix the brim
Pretending I was him

No matter, how hard I try
No matter, how many tears I cry
No matter, how many years go by
I still can’t say goodbye

He always took care
Of Mom and me
We all cut down a Christmas tree
He always had some time for me

Wind blows through the trees
Street lights, they still shine bright
Most things are the same
But I miss my dad tonight

I walked by a Salvation Army store
Saw a hat like my daddy wore
Tried it on when I walked in
Still trying to be like him

No matter, how hard I try
No matter, how many years go by
No matter, how many tears I cry
I still can’t say goodbye

I thought it was appropriate for today’s prompt, “Dad/Father/barbecue.”

That’s Song Lyric Sunday for Father’s Day, 2019.

13 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: “I Still Can’t Say Goodbye”

  1. Hi John – what a lovely post to come across … I miss my father after 4 decades … way too early. But this is a delightful tribute … loving listening to it … glad he’s keeping Chet’s song going … cheers Hilary


  2. When I heard what Tommy said about Chet wanting him to keep the song alive, my heart hurt. It strikes me how much music enriches our lives and how important it is to keep music alive. Back in the days before the written word, music and storytelling was how history was kept alive. Thank you for sharing this song, especially with the story origin. Who are the other two “CGP”s?


    1. Steve Wariner and John Knowles, and there are a couple more: Marcel Dadi and Paul Yandell. Paul worked with Chet for years, and was awarded the CGP by Chet’s daughter Merle, who then said there would be no more. I thought for sure Mark Knopfler would get it, because he and Chet made several albums together, but I guess Chet died before he could give it to him.

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  3. Thanks, John. These words bring a tear to my eye thinking of Dad today. They express my feelings perfectly.


    1. His real strength is fingerstyle guitar, though he’s dynamite with a flatpick as well. Chet Atkins bestowed the title “Certified Guitar Player” on him, making him one of five (two of whom, Chet and Jerry Reed, have died) in the world. Chet’s daughter might have given the title to one other person, but when Chet died, no one else will have it. Seriously, check YouTube or Spotify. The guy is an utter genius.


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