North Country Blues (4:31)

Cover of Bob Dylan: The Collection

From Bob Dylan: The Collection and 13 other releases

“North Country Blues” is a song by Bob Dylan, released on his 3rd studio album The Times They Are a-Changin’ in 1964. He also performed it at the 1964 Newport Folk Festival.
Its apparently simple format (ten verses of ABCB rhyme scheme) and subject matter (the run down of a mining community) appears influenced by Woody Guthrie.
The song opens with a deliberately conventional opening (Come gather round friends and I’ll tell you a tale…).

Each verse contains at least one tragic event, and Dylan hides the fact that the narrator is a woman to the end of verse 4 (and my school it was cut as I quit in the spring, to marry John Thomas a miner.)
The song ends bleakly (My children will go as soon as they grow, for there ain’t nothing here now to hold them).
Within this apparently restricting and morose format, referred to as a “formally conservative exercise in first-person narrative” Dylan manages to achieve significant tonal and expressive variation, and the song is considered by some to be one of his most effective in the ‘folk-song’ genre.
In 1968, Joan Baez included a cover of “North Country Blues” on her Dylan tribute album Any Day Now.


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Come gather 'round friends and I'll tell you a tale
Of when the red iron pits ran a-plenty
But the cardboard-filled windows and old men on the benches
Tell you now that the whole town is empty

MetroLyrics Full lyrics at MetroLyrics


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  • AH4OYS

    heartbreaking [2]

    16 Dec 2014 Reply
  • RAY7654321

    Listening to Mr Dylan's 3rd album "The times they are a-changin'" released January 13, 1964 two months after Kennedy was assassinated. From the Only Solitaire Review: Apparently, Mr. Zimmerman was experiencing lots of indirect pressure from his folk music colleagues (and folks down at the record company as well) who wanted to have him put forth a real protest song album - you know, no obscure metaphorical shite like 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall', too artsy and indirect to be appreciated by those whoe believed in music as a political instrument. Bobbie, then, who was writing songs at a dozen per cigarette and already had a good batch of protest songs in store at the time of release of Freewheelin', was quite willing to oblige. And that's exactly what you get - ten protest songs with straightahead, generic, unsophisticated (by Bob's own standards of 1964) lyrics.

    13 Oct 2014 Reply
  • bucolicdream

    The summer is gone and the grounds gettin' cold, the stores one by one they're a-foldin'.. My children will go as soon as they grow, for there ain't nothin' here now to hold them.

    5 Jul 2014 Reply
  • Storchel

    Love it......

    26 Feb 2014 Reply
  • Arrian

    One of his absolute best songs. A true masterpiece!

    14 Mar 2013 Reply
  • Sheik777

    Just heard it for the first time and by God, what an amazing track. This man's a genius

    15 Dec 2012 Reply
  • theduckfish

    Yesterday, the biggest industry of my hometown announced they will move their production to Poland next year. My mother, and hundreds with her, will soon face unenployment. They complain in the west, they are paying too high...

    4 Oct 2012 Reply
  • Heester


    29 Mar 2012 Reply
  • Adriat1c

    why is the video attached above of some dude playing Northern Country Girl -.-

    6 Jan 2012 Reply
  • TheFatChocobo

    What everyone else said. Stunning, stunning track. "So the mining gates locked and the iron ore rotted and the room smelled heavy from drinking..."

    27 Dec 2011 Reply
  • andrewirving


    22 Dec 2011 Reply
  • PaigeVG


    26 Sep 2011 Reply
  • MrLynk

    And my children will go as soon as they grow, for there ain't nothing here now to hold them... That line kills me

    24 Nov 2010 Reply
  • alleseter

    Hauntingly beautiful

    31 Aug 2010 Reply
  • adam-454

    This is ridiculously powerful stuff. Wow.

    29 Jul 2010 Reply
  • GuevaraChe22

    I'm lost for words. Just...Amazing. This moves my soul.

    25 Feb 2010 Reply
  • jeffyy

    There's no better folk song than this. Haunting song. The last verse is so eerie and sad I react the same everytime I hear it.

    27 Jan 2010 Reply
  • squiggins

    Goddamn, how fucking good is this song?

    13 Jan 2010 Reply
  • BeyondTheHorror

    Amazing song, rough beauty

    20 Oct 2009 Reply
  • MayaSingh

    This song is so beautiful it's hard to describe....maybe my favourite Dylan track even thoug that's hard to decide...

    12 Jul 2009 Reply
  • All 35 shouts

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