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John Brown 1

Bob Dylan © 1963 Warner Bros.-7 Arts Inc., 1991 Special Rider Music

(Official lyrics @ www.bobdylan.com)


15 Oct 1962
cd imgLIVE AT THE GASLIGHT 1962
cd imgFOLK SINGER-HUMDINGER Just About As Good As It Gets!
cd imgGASLIGHT TAPES (T-104)

  Live, Gaslight Cafˇ, NYC - 15.oct.1962  

When John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mother sure was proud of him
As he stood so straight an' tall in his uniform an' all
His mother's face broke out all to a grin.

''Oh son, you look so fine i'm glad you're a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
We'll put 'em on the wall when you come home.''

When that old train pulled out John's ma began to shout
Tellin' everybody in the whole neighborhood
''That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now you know.''
She made well sure the neighbors understood.
Lord, lord, understood.

She got a letter once in a while an' her face broke into a smile
As she showed 'em to the people from next door
An' she bragged about her son with his uniform an' gun
An' this thing she called a good old fashioned war.

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they never come
They ceased to come for about nine months or more
Then a letter finally came, sayin', ''Go down an' meet the train
Your son's a-comin' home from the war.''
Lord, lord, from the war.

Well, she smiled an' went right down, she looked up an' all around
But she did not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

His face was all shot up an' his hand was both blown off
An' he wore a metal brace around his waist
He whispered kind of slow in a voice she did not know
While she could not even recognize his face.

''Oh my darling son, tell me what to you they've done 
How is it that you've come to be this way?''
His mouth could hardly move as he tried his best to talk
And she did not even recognize his voice.

''Oh don't you remember ma, when i went off to war
You thought it was the best thing i could do
I was on the battleground, you were home feelin' proud
Thank god you wasn't standin' in my shoes.

''Lord i thought when i was there, god what am i doin' here?
I'm tryin' to kill my enemy or i die tryin'
But as the enemy came close the thing that hurt me most  
Is i saw that his face looked just like mine.''
Lord, lord, just like mine.

An' i could not help but think, through the thunder soundin' stink
That i was just a puppet in a play
An' through the roar an' smoke the string it finally broke
An' a cannonball blew my eyes away.

As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
Seein' the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
An' he dropped his medals down into her hand.
Lord, lord to her hand.  up
    

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John Brown 2


Feb 1963
cd imgBROADSIDE BALLADS Vol. 1
cd imgBROADSIDE (T-441)
cd imgBLIND BOY GRUNT (vinyl bootleg)
cd img70 DOLLAR ROBBERY (vinyl bootleg)

  Folkways Studios - february 1963  

John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mother sure was proud of him
He stood so straight an' tall in his uniform an' all
His mother's face broke out all in a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine i'm glad you're a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
An' we'll put 'em on the wall when you come home."

When that old train pulled out, John's ma began to shout
Tellin' everyone in the neighborhood
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now you know."
She made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while an' her face broke into a smile
As she showed 'em to the people from next door
An' she bragged about her son with his uniform an' gun
An' this thing she called a good ol' fashioned war.
Lord, lord, good ol' fashioned war.

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
They ceased to come for about nine months or more
Then a letter finally came, sayin', "Go down an' meet the train
Your son's a-comin' home from the war."

She smiled an' went right down, she looked up an' all around
But she did not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

His face was all shot up an' his hand was all both blown off
An' he wore a metal brace around his waist
He whispered kind of slow in a voice she did not know
While she could not even recognize his face.

"Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what to you they've done
How is it that you've come to be this way?"
He tried his best to talk as his mouth could hardly move
An' his mother had to turn her head away.

"Don't you remember ma, when i went off to war
You thought it was the best thing i could do
I was on the battleground, you were home actin' proud
We thank god you wasn't standin' in my shoes."

"Lord i thought when i was there, god what am i doin' here?
I'm tryin' to kill somebody or i die tryin'
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close 
An' i saw that his face looked just like mine."
Lord, lord, just like mine.

An' i could not help but think, through the thunder rollin' stink
That i was just a puppet in a play
An' thru the roar an' smoke the string it finally broke
An' a cannonball it blew my eyes away.

As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
Seein' the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
An' he dropped his medals down into her hand
Lord, lord, down to her hand.  up
    

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John Brown 3


26 Apr 1963
cd imgTHE ROAR OF A WAVE (T-966)
cd imgSTUDS TERKEL'S WAX MUSEUM
cd imgBEFORE THE FLOOD AND AFTER THE FIRE (T-305)

  Studs Turkel Wax Museum, WFMT Radio, Chicago IL - 26.apr.1963  

When John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mama sure was proud of him
He stood so straight an' tall in his uniform an' all
His mama's face broke out all to a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine i'm glad you're a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun.
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
An' we'll put 'em on the wall when you come home.''

When that old train pulled out John's ma began to shout
Tellin' everybody in the neighborhood
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now you know.''
She made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while an' her face broke into a smile
As she showed 'em to the people from next door
An' she bragged about her son with his uniform an' gun
An' this thing she called a good ol' fashioned war.

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
They ceased to come for about nine months or more
Then a letter finally came, sayin', "Go down an' meet the train
Your son's a-comin' home from the war.''
Lord, lord, from the war.

She smiled an' went right down, she looked up an' all around
But she did not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

Well, his face was all shot up an' his hand was all blown off
An' he wore a metal brace around his waist
And he whispered kind of slow in a voice she did not know
While she could not even recognize his face.
Lord, recognize his face.

"Tell me my darling son, pray tell me what they've done 
How is it that you've come to be this way?''
He whispered kind of slow as his mouth could hardly move 
His mother had to turn her head face away.

"Don't you remember ma, when i went off to war
You thought it was the best thing i could do
I was on the battleground, you were home actin' proud
You wasn't there standin' in my shoes.

"Lord i thought when i was there, god what am i doin' here?
I'm tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close 
An' i saw that his face looked just like mine.''
Lord, lord, just like mine.

An' i could not help but think, through the thunder soundin' stink
That i was just a puppet in a play
An' through the roar an' smoke the string it finally broke
An' a cannonball blew my eyes away.

As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
Seein' the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
An' he dropped his medals down into her hand.
Lord, lord, down to her hand.  up
    

home  J
 | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

John Brown 4


Aug 1963
cd imgTHE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 9 THE WITMARK DEMOS
cd imgTHROUGH A BULLET OF LIGHT (WITMARK DEMOS) (T-378)
cd imgGWW THE DEMO TAPES (vinyl bootleg)

  Witmark Studio, NYC, august 1963  

When John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mama sure was proud of him
He stood so straight an' tall in his uniform an' all
His mama's face broke out all to a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine i'm glad you're a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
An' we'll put 'em on the wall when you come home.''

When that old train pulled out John's ma began to shout
Tellin' everyone in the neighborhood
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now you know.''
She made well sure her neighbors understood.

She got a letter once in a while an' her face broke into a smile
As she showed 'em to the people from next door
An' she bragged about her son with his uniform an' gun
An' this thing she called a good ol' fashioned war.
Lord, good ol' fashioned war.

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they did not come
They ceased to come for about ten months or more
Then a letter finally came, sayin', "Go down an' meet the train
Your son's a-comin' home from the war''.

She smiled an' went right down, she looked up an' all around
But she did not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did, she could hardly believe her eyes.

Well his face was all shot up an' his hand was all blown off
An' he wore a metal brace around his waist
He whispered kind of slow in a voice she did not know
While she could not even recognize his face.
Lord, lord, recognize his face!

"Oh tell me, my darling son, pray tell me what they've done
How is it that you've come to be this way?''
He tried his best to talk as his mouth could hardly move 
An' the mother had to turn her face away.

"Don't you remember ma, when i went off to war
You thought it was the best thing i could do
I was on the battleground, you were home actin' proud
You wasn't there standin' in my shoes. 

Lord i thought when i was there, god what am i doin' here?
I'm tryin' to kill somebody or die tryin'
But the thing that scared me most was when my enemy came close 
An' i saw that his face looked just like mine.''
Lord, lord, just like mine!

"An' i could not help but think, thru the thunder soundin' stink
That i was just a puppet in a play
An' thru the roar an' smoke the string it finally broke
An' a cannonball blew my eyes away.''

As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
Seein' the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
An' he dropped his medals down into her hand.  up
    

 Recording dates & record list

15 Oct 1962 1 LIVE AT THE GASLIGHT 1962
FOLK SINGER-HUMDINGER Just About As Good As It Gets!
GASLIGHT TAPES (b)
Feb 1963 2 BROADSIDE BALLADS Vol. 1
BROADSIDE (b)
BLIND BOY GRUNT (vb)
70 DOLLAR ROBBERY (vb)
12 Apr 1963 LIVE 1962-1966 Rare Performances From The Copyright Collections
STOLEN MOMENTS: NEW YORK TOWN HALL 12TH APRIL 1963 (b)
26 Apr 1963 3 THE ROAR OF A WAVE (b)
STUDS TERKEL'S WAX MUSEUM
BEFORE THE FLOOD AND AFTER THE FIRE (b)
Aug 1963 4 THE BOOTLEG SERIES Vol. 9 THE WITMARK DEMOS
THROUGH A BULLET OF LIGHT (WITMARK DEMOS) (b)
GWW THE DEMO TAPES (vb)
4 July 1987 FOXBORO (b)
19 Oct 1988 STUCK INSIDE OF NEW YORK (b)
15 Oct 1990 THANK YOU EV'RYBODY (b)
18 Nov 1994 MTV UNPLUGGED
DIGNITY MTV UNPLUGGED (single)
COMPLETELY UNPLUGGED (b)
19 Apr 1996 THE MAINE EVENT (b)
16 Dec 1997 OH BABE IT AIN'T NO LIE (b)
16 Jan 1998 VOICES IN THE GARDEN (b)