"Slow Train" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Sometimes I feel so low-down and disgusted
Can't help but wonder what's happenin' to my companions
Are they lost or are they found?
Have they counted the cost it'll take to bring down
All their earthly principles they're gonna have to abandon?
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

I had a woman down in Alabama
She was a backwoods girl, but she sure was realistic
She said, "Boy, without a doubt, have to quit your mess and straighten out
You could die down here, be just another accident statistic"
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

All that foreign oil controlling American soil
Look around you, it's just bound to make you embarrassed
Sheiks walkin' around like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings
Deciding America's future from Amsterdam and to Paris
And there's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

Man's ego is inflated, his laws are outdated, they don't apply no more
You can't rely no more to be standin' around waitin'
In the home of the brave, Jefferson turnin' over in his grave
Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan
And there's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

Big-time negotiators, false healers and woman haters
Masters of the bluff and masters of the proposition
But the enemy I see wears a cloak of decency
All non-believers and men-stealers talkin' in the name of religion
And there's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

People starving and thirsting, grain elevators are bursting
Oh, you know it costs more to store the food than it do to give it
They say lose your inhibitions, follow your own ambitions
They talk about a life of brotherly love
Show me someone who knows how to live it
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend

Well, my baby went to Illinois with some bad-talkin' boy she could destroy
A real suicide case, but there was nothin' I could do to stop it
I don't care about economy, I don't care about astronomy
But it sure do bother me to see my loved ones turning into puppets
There's a slow, slow train comin' up around the bend


Lyrics submitted by Philadelphia Eagles

"Slow Train" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Slow Train song meanings
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11 Comments

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  • +4
    General CommentWhat's great about this song is that it's both religious and secular at the same time, devout and skeptical. I'd caution anyone against tacking their own agenda onto Bob's songs, religious or political. If Bob has been consistent about anything over the last 50 years, it's been that he's not writing to espouse any cause or sending a secret message to some chosen band of followers who think they know what he's "really" trying to say. I remember listening to a radio interview with Bob in about 1985, around when Biograph came out. A fan called in to say he was putting on a show about Bob Dylan's life and music. Bob replied tersely, "I do my own shows. You...I don't know what you're doing."

    Anyway, Slow Train has some beautiful turns of phrase and rhythmic lyrics. "I had a woman down in Alabama/ She was a backwoods girl but she sure was realistic." And, "Masters of the bluff, masters of the proposition."
    5thdayomayon July 29, 2012   Link
  • +1
    General CommentOne more thing. I regret Dylan's use of the word "astronomy" in the verse "I don't care about economy, I don't care about astronomy". I'm quite sure what he's referring to here is the now-popular use of Astology, that is Fortune Telling, which is a very unchristian practice. Astronomy is the valid science of studying celestial bodies, and the term simply doesn't fit here.
    RayManon February 23, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentIn light of recent world events this song is eerily prophetic of the effect of oil politics and the corresponding rise of the Christian right in the US:

    "All that foreign oil controlling American soil
    Look around you, it's just bound to make you embarrassed
    Sheiks walking around like kings, wearing fancy jewels and nose rings
    Deciding America's future from Amsterdam and to Paris
    And there's slow, slow train coming up around the bend."

    The religious right (just my view! no flaming!) is emodied perfectly in these lines:

    "But the enemy I see wears a cloak of decency
    All non-believers and men stealers talking in the name of religion"

    For today what do we see? More than ever, people hiding behind evangelical religion and yet espousing greed (capitalism), killing (Iraq), dealing with the devil for profit (e.g. China, Pakistan, Russia and our other 'friends' - "Fools glorifying themselves, trying to manipulate Satan" indeed), hatred (intolerance of others - non-Christians, gays, basically anyone who gets in the way).

    That point aside - what a song. Fantastic music, and some of the best lyrics of the period for Dylan. RayMan, I agree about astronomy but I think the 'n' just sounded better so Dylan went with it.

    More than anything this track has a building sense of the 'slowness' of the train that's coming, the steady beat and great bass all adding a sense of unstoppable, steady rythm.
    caitsith01on March 29, 2006   Link
  • +1
    General CommentYou're right caitsith01, the comments about oil ruling America are more valid NOW than ever before! And yes, the religious right HAS been captured by the globalist elite/secret societies. They're trying to harness "Christianity" to their own ends... which I think is global government. They've convinced the Right to sacrifice their sons and daughters for "the cause" in the middle-east. Well, I AM a Christian, and all I can say is that THERE'S NOTHING CHRISTIAN AT ALL about this War against "terrorism". The Evil leaders manipulate opinion through FEAR; but always remember "PERFECT LOVE CASTETH OUT FEAR!" (1John 4:18)
    RayManon July 29, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI have loved this song for a long time now. These lyrics are absolutely inspired -- there's at least one quotable line in each stanza, I don't know where to start picking out highlights. And the music is perfect.
    Cherub Rockon January 18, 2005   Link
  • 0
    General CommentYes, this song lays it down exactly how it is. It's a true Christian's perspective on the present state of America. Once founded by Christians, America has been stolen right out from under them. It was a slow, gradual process; after all the Bible tells us that the Seprent is the most subtle of all the beasts of the field (Genesis 3:1). Generation after generation, the behaviour of Americans has become less and less Christian. This moral decay has invaded the churches, the schools and the government itself. The love of God and the love of neighbor has been replaced with the love of MONEY and the love of SELF. Yes, there IS a slow train coming around the bend... the day of reckoning... and in each stanza of the song Dylan gives us all the reasons why it MUST come!
    RayManon February 23, 2006   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is one of Dylan's many songs about an approaching day of judgment. I've read in more than one of his biographies that even as a kid he enjoyed visiting churches and synagogues, reading the Bible, etc. I can think of no other major artist whose work is more filled with Biblical imagery. Now. Whatever your feelings about evangelicals or Christians, this was written right when Dylan was in his Christian "phase." He no doubt deplores hyprocrisy in the Christian church, but the warning of God's impending judgment is aimed not just at Christians but at all of us, especially Americans who have forgotten or rejected their Biblical heritage. God's judgment may be slow in coming, but it's coming. These apocolyptic songs show up all during his career. I heard it first in "The Hour That The Ship Comes In" ('64?) a song about judgement day if ever I've heard one. And "John Wesley Harding" is drenched in these images. "All Along the Watchtower" gives me chills. "Outside in the cold distance, a wildcat did growl. Two riders were approaching. The wind began to howl." Wowee!!! Pretty scarey! Whatever his spiritual beliefs are, many of his songs are filled with Biblical images and references, God's judgment among them.
    jmark1949on January 09, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Commentcool to see no one really bashes this song or the christian years of dylan ha. I think slow train comeing and saved are very excelent albums of dylan. Many die hard fans reject these albums because they resent the religios aspects of them both. I dont think that those people are true fans. So many people have clamed to be huge dylan fans and when ya get talking with em and ask them what they think of the gospel years many a times you get negitive feedback. anyway thats another subject. I just think its cool that other people also enjoy the christian music of dylan. I think the two most passionate and believable albums dylan ever put out were this one and saved. Alothought slow train comeing did allot better than saved, I think that saved is more believable and passionate that this one. I think it may be the bands he plays wth. on saved it sounds like he has a gospel quior bacing him, and slow train has dry old mark knophler. it seems to be more about the music than the lyrics on slow train to me. Love them both tho
    martindxon February 14, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIs it just me or is the intro almost identical to the intro in "In the Galley" by Dire Straits.
    thrashgrunge4lifeon April 17, 2013   Link
  • 0
    General CommentThis is a prophetic song about the coming of Ronald Reagan ( the slow train) and the conservative revolution. It was written in the pathetic late 1970's when a weak President was in charge and the USA was in rapid decline. Dylan correctly predicts the enemy is the Muslim. Unfortunately, Reagan did not last forever, but maybe in the near future, a new American leader will emerge and lead us out of these dark ages.
    kerry10000on December 16, 2014   Link

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