Listen: With impending Orange Line closure, Baker gets his own ‘Charlie on the MTA’ song

“We may crawl forever through the streets of Boston, but our train may never return.” 

The Orange Line is set to shut down for 30 days starting Friday, Aug. 19. David L Ryan/Globe Staff

With a month-long Orange Line shutdown looming over Boston, one group of musicians turned a well-known Boston song on its head to vent. 

Last week, local musicians Jacob Deck, Ben Rechel, and Anna Seda set themselves up in Back Bay Station and performed a parody of “Charlie on the MTA.” 

While the original song tells the story of a man named Charlie trapped on Boston’s subway system, the parody — titled “Charlie (Baker) on the MBTA” — takes listeners through the woes the closure is expected to bring and pokes fun at the ever growing list of issues facing the MBTA.

“Will it ever return? It had better return, but its fate is still unlearned. We may crawl forever through the streets of Boston, but our train may never return,” the group sings in the chorus of the song.


The train station performance featured Deck playing the celtic harp, Rechel on bass, and Seda on cello, with Deck and Rechel singing, according to the Boston Globe.

Orange Line:

“If you’re in Back Bay and you gotta get to Malden, or from Cambridge to Jamaica Plain, hope you’ve got four wheels or a couple extra hours ‘cause you won’t get there on the train,” the group sings.

The Orange Line shut down will begin Aug. 19 at 9 p.m. and service is scheduled to resume at 5 a.m. Sept. 19.

The song, written by a friend of the musicians who wishes to remain anonymous, according to the Boston Globe, takes a snarky approach to Gov. Charlie Baker. 

“Let me tell you a story ’bout a man named Charlie on a tragic and fateful day. He got driven to his office, gave a speech and took some photos, then he shut down the MTA,” they sing.

The group was set to return for an encore performance Tuesday night, but a video has yet to surface on social media. 

The original song, “Charlie on the MTA,” was written as part of a mayoral campaign in the 1940s. In 1959, The Kingston Trio recorded and released a version of the song and it became a hit. The song lives on as the namesake of CharlieCards and Charlie Tickets on the MBTA today. 


Here is The Kingston Trio version of the song.


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