"Brownsville Girl" as written by and Sam Shepard Bob Dylan....
Well, there was this movie I seen one time
About a man riding 'cross the desert and it starred Gregory Peck
He was shot down by a hungry kid trying to make a name for himself
The townspeople wanted to crush that kid down and string him up by the neck

Well, the marshal, now he beat that kid to a bloody pulp
As the dying gunfighter lay in the sun and gasped for his last breath
Turn him loose, let him go, let him say he outdrew me fair and square
I want him to feel what it's like to every moment face his death

Well, I keep seeing this stuff and it just comes a-rolling in
And you know it blows right through me like a ball and chain
You know I can't believe we've lived so long and are still so far apart
The memory of you keeps callin' after me like a rollin' train

I can still see the day that you came to me on the painted desert
In your busted down Ford and your platform heels
I could never figure out why you chose that particular place to meet
Ah, but you were right, it was perfect as I got in behind the wheel

Well, we drove that car all night into San Anton'
And we slept near the Alamo, your skin was so tender and soft
Way down in Mexico you went out to find a doctor and you never came back
I would have gone on after you but I didn't feel like letting my head get blown off

Well, we're drivin' this car and the sun is comin' up over the Rockies
Now I know she ain't you but she's here and she's got that dark rhythm in her soul
But I'm too over the edge and I ain't in the mood anymore
To remember the times when I was your only man
And she don't want to remind me, she knows this car would go out of control

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love

Well, we crossed the panhandle and then we headed towards Amarillo
We pulled up where Henry Porter used to live
He owned a wreckin' lot outside of town about a mile
Ruby was in the backyard hanging clothes, she had her red hair tied back
She saw us come rolling up in a trail of dust
She said, Henry ain't here but you can come on in, he'll be back in a little while

Then she told us how times were tough and about how she was thinkin' of
Bummin' a ride back to where she started
But she changed the subject every time money came up
She said, welcome to the land of the living dead
You could tell she was so broken-hearted
She said, even the swap meets around here are getting pretty corrupt

How far are y'all going, Ruby asked us with a sigh
We're going all the way 'til the wheels fall off and burn
'Til the sun peels the paint and the seat covers fade and the water moccasin dies
Ruby just smiled and said, ah, you know some babies never learn

Something about that movie though, well I just can't get it out of my head
But I can't remember why I was in it or what part I was supposed to play
All I remember about it was Gregory Peck and the way people moved
And a lot of them seemed to be lookin' my way

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love

Well, they were looking for somebody with a pompadour
I was crossin' the street when shots rang out
I didn't know whether to duck or to run, so I ran
We got him cornered in the churchyard, I heard somebody shout

Well, you saw my picture in the Corpus Christi Tribune
Underneath it, it said, a man with no alibi
You went out on a limb to testify for me, you said I was with you
Then when I saw you break down in front of the judge and cry real tears
It was the best acting I saw anybody do

Now I've always been the kind of person that doesn't like to trespass
But sometimes you just find yourself over the line
Oh if there's an original thought out there, I could use it right now
You know, I feel pretty good, but that ain't sayin' much
I could feel a whole lot better
If you were just here by my side to show me how

Well, I'm standin' in line in the rain to see a movie starring Gregory Peck
Yeah, but you know it's not the one that I had in mind
He's got a new one out now, I don't even know what it's about
But I'll see him in anything so I'll stand in line

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love

You know, it's funny how things never turn out the way you had 'em planned
The only thing we knew for sure about Henry Porter
Is that his name wasn't Henry Porter
And you know there was somethin' about you baby
That I liked that was always too good for this world
Just like you always said there was something about me you liked
That I left behind in the French Quarter

Strange how people who suffer together have stronger connections
Than people who are most content
I don't have any regrets, they can talk about me plenty when I'm gone
You always said people don't do what they believe in
They just do what's most convenient, then they repent
And I always said, hang on to me, baby, and let's hope that the roof stays on

There was a movie I seen one time, I think I sat through it twice
I don't remember who I was or where I was bound
All I remember about it was it starred Gregory Peck
He wore a gun and he was shot in the back
Seems like a long time ago, long before the stars were torn down

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above
Brownsville girl, show me all around the world
Brownsville girl, you're my honey love

Brownsville girl with your Brownsville curls
Teeth like pearls shining like the moon above


Lyrics submitted by distopiandreamguy

"Brownsville Girl" as written by Sam Shepard Bob Dylan

Lyrics © SPECIAL RIDER MUSIC

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Brownsville Girl song meanings
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14 Comments

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  • +3
    General CommentBrilliant. This song is a masterpiece. A story of confusion and the path that life takes you on. A path that you have no say in. The line, "Way down in Mexico you went out to find a doctor and you never came back. I would have gone on after you but I didn't feel like letting my head get blown off" is particularly troubling to me. The Kerouac-On the Road comparison is dead on, a book and man that proved to be a significant influence on Dylan in his early years. I actually think there's more Ginsberg in this than Kerouac. Great lines like "You always said people don't do what they believe in, they just do what's most convenient, then they repent. And I always said, "Hang on to me, baby, and let's hope that the roof stays on" and "But I'm too over the edge and I ain't in the mood anymore to remember the times when I was your only man. And she don't want to remind me. She knows this car would go out of control" depict struggles in life and confusion when looking back on the past. Time has always been troublesome to Dylan (and Cohen alike) and this song brings out the same themes seen in earlier ones like Simple Twist of Fate. The feeling of having fallen in love but not realizing it until after, when it's too late. All in all this song shows that Dylan never 'lost it', rather his expansion to greater themes and multiple types of music have led him to areas that devoted Dylan fans aren't necessarily impressed by. It was like when Dylan went electric and pissed off all his earlier fans, but most Dylan fans are fans of albums like Highway 61 and Blood, so it shows that ppl shouldn't be excommunicating Dylan for his various eras (Reborn) and should be appreciating all of the prophet's music. Bit of a rant.
    FootOfPrideon April 15, 2011   Link
  • +1
    General CommentI see two major themes that intertwine and alternate.

    First, Dylan sees himself as the gunfighter in the movie. Dylan is a rock legend that perhaps is constantly facing challenges of being on top. Dylan keeps saying that he is in the movie (but unsure of the part). For example, I see his getting caught in the churchyard as a reference to his potential loss of popularity as a Christian.

    Secondly, i think there is a "Jack Kerouac-style" love story.

    I love the song, and wonder if the love part if a compilation of fact or a fiction.
    chambed7on March 17, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcool but long
    queenjaneon September 26, 2004   Link
  • 0
    General CommentA songwriting experiment with Sam Shepard that is the best moment of the otherwise mixed-up 'Knocked-Out Loaded'. Like the other songs on that album, it suffers from mid-80's overproduction...the backing vox are cool but mixed too high.

    The good thing is that Dylan was getting back into the storytelling side of his writing, something that had been neglected since 'Street Legal'. This song is epic without being intense. Appropriately, it is best listened to as if it were a movie. It gets better with each listen; there is more than enough detail in it to keep you from getting bored. It is just about a guy reminiscing about a particular woman's good qualities and her strength in the face of the bad situation they were in. Play this for anyone who accuses Bob of being a misogynist writer.
    elephant_rangeon February 27, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBrilliant song, and there's not many of Dylan's 80s tunes you can say that about. Written partly as a response to Lou Reed's "Doing The Things That We Want To" - which is a tribute to among others Sam Shepard. Dylan keeps getting stuck on the image from "The Gunfighter" and "can't remember why I was in it or what part I was supposed to play" - is he the young upstart, the wise lawman or the oldie has-been? Mix that up with the memories of a woman he once loved and the one he's with now, various ruminations on storytelling, identities and "keeping on keeping on". Something tells me there's some very personal stuff in this, buried under the western clichés and whatnot; the man from "Dont Look Back" looks back, 20 years later.

    Also, I love the chorus girls' "Oh yeah?" after Dylan claims not to have any regrets. Oh, and how the hell does he fit all those words into one line?
    beer goodon July 19, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis song cover many aspects of nostalgia but mostly talk about materialism in our world and the lack of simplicity "All I remember about it was Gregory Peck and the way people moved" and in I believe that 80% of the song talks about it in many various ways.
    sliceron November 06, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI think all of the song is about Dylan's relationship with his fans as he journeys through life like the journet in teh song. He saw the movie (Gunfighter) once and he lived it once - saying that he was in the movie. I think Dylan is like Henry Porter from "Rawhide" - changing his name like Dylan did - but more importantly we really do not know much about him.
    ADylanFanon March 27, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"Way down in Mexico you went out to find a doctor and you never came back."
    isn't this straight out of the ending of On the Road? i don't know about finding a doctor, but Dean leaves Sal in the hospital and never comes back
    anonymiadon March 24, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, maybe it's a little overproduced but I think the background singers added an affecting touch to this Bob Dylan classic. Sam Shepard and Dylan wrote this song with a sneaky sense of humour and leave you wondering what's real and what's imagined. But one thing can't be questioned; this song hits the emotional notes to great effect.
    ImMooon August 16, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General Commentso much in so little space----long before the stars were torn down--greatest of all songwriters
    oliverhamiltonon October 05, 2010   Link

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