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.
Edited by spacecadet16 on 28 Jan 2010, 09:05
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