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Orange Line shutdown spurs musicians to perform a parody they call ‘Charlie (Baker) on the MBTA’

Commuters take the Orange Line on Aug. 3, 2022 after an announcement that the city will shutter the line for a month to provide much needed improvements.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

Many commuters have voiced frustration on social media over the impending month-long closure of the MBTA Orange Line. A few others, however, have found a musical message to be a more effective way to vent.

On Aug. 10, local musicians Jacob Deck, Ben Rechel, and Anna Seda set up their instruments in Back Bay Station to play a parody of the well-known Boston song, “Charlie on the MTA.” They cleverly titled their version “Charlie (Baker) on the MBTA.”

The lyrics were written by a close friend of the musicians, who asked to remain anonymous.

The late-night performance featured Deck playing the celtic harp, Rechel on bass, and Seda on cello. Both Deck and Rechel sing the scorching lyrics, poking fun at the ever-increasing issues plaguing the T.

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“Charlie on the MTA” came out in 1959 and tells the story of a man named Charlie endlessly trapped on Boston’s transportation system, at the time called the MTA. The latest version, however, has a ripped-from-the-headlines twist.

“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.

Other lyrics take a snarky approach to Governor 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.

A video of the impromptu music session has gotten a lot of attention on Twitter and TikTok, with many echoing the sentiments.

“OMG this is amazing, and by that I mean sad. He (and the legislature) has a lot to answer for,” read one TikTok comment.

“I will risk my life on the orange line to see this,” said another.

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The trio plans to make a return to the Back Bay station Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.

The orange line will shut down starting 9 p.m. Friday night and is expected to reopen Sept. 19.


Shealagh Sullivan can be reached at shealagh.sullivan@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @ShealaghS.