A Bit Like You And Me Radio

October 17, 2011

Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1971)

A singer, songwriter, peace activist, environmental activist, and human rights activist, this artist was a prominent voice for social change in the 1960s. Gaining a following at the Newport Folk Festival in 1959, she began recording in 1960 and achieved immediate success. She helped boost Bob Dylan to national prominence, performed at Woodstock, and has continued performing for over 50 years.

This song sounds like a traditional folk song passed down from family to family from the era of the civil war. In actuality, it was written and first performed by Robbie Robertson with his group, The Band, in 1969. I strongly prefer this emotional and heartfelt version to The Band’s, which I find to be a bit nasally.

Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down

Joan Baez - The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (1971)

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Lyrics:

Virgil Caine is my name and I drove on the Danville train
‘til so much cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of ‘65, we were hungry- just barely alive
I took the train to Richmond, that fell – it was a time I remember oh-so well

The night they drove old Dixie down and all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na"

Back with my wife in Tennessee, and one day she said to me
"Virgil, quick, come see, there goes the Robert E. Lee"
Now, I don't mind choppin' wood and I don't care if the money's no good
Just take what you need and leave the rest
But they should never have taken the very best

The night they drove old Dixie down and all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na"

Like my father before me, I’m a working man
And like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand
Well he was just eighteen- proud and brave; but a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the blood below my feet
You can't raise a Caine back up when it’s in the feed

The night they drove old Dixie down and all the bells were ringing
The night they drove old Dixie down and all the people were singing
They went, "Na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na, na"

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