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In the song "Oh My Sweet Carolina" (link), there's a line

I was spending money like the way it likes to rain
And I ended up with pockets full of 'caine.

What is 'caine?
or is it "cane"? shouldn't it be "canes"?
and why "I ended up with pockets full of cane"?

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I noticed two similar lines in the lyrics:

  1. I ended up with pockets full of dust
  2. I ended up with pockets full of 'caine
    (Source.)

The song seems to be describing the hardships faced when traveling from town to town. If you're traveling from town to town, barely scrapping by, you're likely to end up in the rougher parts of town. There, you are likely to run into things like drugs. So I suspect that dust and 'caine (cain, cane) are references to angeldust (PCP) and cocaine.

Aside from the drug references, I should note that having pockets full of dust can figuratively mean having a pocket full of nothing. It suggests that this person had no money or wealth. I suspect that having pockets full of \ˈkān\ means the same thing. I write \ˈkān\ because, although 'caine is written in the lyrics, \ˈkān\ is what the singer actually says/sings. 'Caine clearly implies cocaine, but it's not clear that \ˈkān\ is caine, cain, cane, etc. There is room for interpretation, and that's generally how songs are. Instead of 'caine, as in cocaine, it could be a homophone like cane:

cane

  1. any of several tall bamboolike grasses, especially of the genus Arundinaria, as A. gigantea (cane reed, large cane, giant cane, or southern cane) and A. tecta (small cane or switch cane) of the southern U.S.

This meaning seems relevant since North Carolina is a Southern (US) state. This is one interpretation of Carolina, since Adams is from North Carolina. Taking that meaning, having pockets full of cane has the same figurative meaning as having pockets full of dust.

I should further note that pockets of dust/\ˈkān\ could have regional meanings, but I am unaware of any.

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  • Who walks around with pockets full of cane? Google lyrics says 'caine and I doubt they'd print a drug reference if it was not official. – Alan Carmack Aug 26 '16 at 13:12
  • @AlanCarmack Who walks around with pockets full of dust? Anyway, do you mean sugarcane? I don't think that's what it means. I think it means like a grass type of cane. Anyway, if they're official lyrics, I'll gladly cut it out and simply say it's cocaine. But I don't know how verify that. – Em. Aug 26 '16 at 13:21
  • I don't know either, and I have little interest in attempting to. – Alan Carmack Aug 26 '16 at 13:23

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