"Nettie Moore" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Lost John's sittin' on a railroad track
Something's out of whack
Blues this mornin' fallin' down like hail
Gonna leave a greasy trail

Gonna travel the world is what I'm gonna do
Then come back and see you
All I ever do is struggle and strive
If I don't do anybody any harm, I might make it back home alive

I'm the oldest son of a crazy man
I'm in a cowboy band
Got a pile of sins to pay for and I ain't got time to hide
I'd walk through a blazing fire, baby, if I knew you was on the other side

Oh, I miss you, Nettie Moore
And my happiness is o'er
Winter's gone, the river's on the rise
I loved you then, and ever shall
But there's no one left here to tell
The world has gone black before my eyes

Well, the world of research has gone berserk
Too much paperwork
Albert's in the graveyard, Frankie's raising hell
I'm beginning to believe what the scriptures tell

I've gone where the Southern crosses The Yellow Dog
Get away from these demagogues
And these bad luck women stick like glue
It's either one or the other or neither of the two

She says, "Look out, daddy, don't want you to tear your pants
You could get wrecked in this dance"
They say whisky'll kill you, but I don't think it will
I'm ridin' with you to the top of the hill

Oh, I miss you, Nettie Moore
And my happiness is o'are
Winter's gone, the river's on the rise
I loved you then, and ever shall
But there's no one left here to tell
The world has gone black before my eyes

Don't know why my baby never looked so good before
Don't have to wonder no more
She been cooking all day, it gonna take me all night
I can't eat all that stuff in a single bite

The judge's coming in, everybody rise
Lift up your eyes
You can do what you please, you don't need my advice
'Fore you call me any dirty names, you better think twice

Gettin' light outside, the temperature dropped
I think the rain has stopped
I'm gonna make you come to grips with fate
When I'm through with you, you'll learn to keep your business straight

Oh, I miss you, Nettie Moore
And my happiness is o'er
Winter's gone, the river's on the rise
I loved you then, and ever shall
But there's no one left here to tell
The world has gone black before my eyes

The bright spark of the steady lights
Has dimmed my sights
When you're around me all my grief gives 'way
A life time with you is like some heavenly day

Everything I've ever known to be right has been proven wrong
I'll be drifting along
The woman I'm loving she rules my heart
No knife could ever cut our love apart

Today I'll stand in faith and raise
The voice of praise
The sun is strong, I'm standing in the light
I wish to God that it were night

Oh, I miss you, Nettie Moore
And my happiness is o'er
Winter's gone, the river's on the rise
I loved you then, and ever shall
But there's no one here left to tell
The world has gone black before my eyes


Lyrics submitted by SmileAway

"Nettie Moore" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

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Nettie Moore song meanings
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10 Comments

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  • +2
    General CommentI envision an old timer who has lost his love. Maybe sitting alone with his memories.Anticipating the end.
    frankbooth7on October 25, 2008   Link
  • +1
    Song MeaningIn a book and around in the web i found this:

    Apparently Nettie Moore was a girl and a slave who was sold away.
    It seems that the first 2 lines of a poem or a song published in 1850 are the same as Dylan's Nettie Moore.
    davide1015on April 07, 2017   Link
  • 0
    General CommentSome spiritual imagery from dylan:

    Well, the world of research has gone berserk
    Too much paperwork
    Albert's in the graveyard, Frankie's raising hell
    I'm beginning to believe what the scriptures tell

    Today I'll stand in faith and raise
    The voice of praise
    The sun is strong, I'm standing in the light
    I wish to God that it were night
    LoganWalteron May 14, 2007   Link
  • 0
    General Commentthe lyrics are difficult, but i sense the sadness. i just saw him playing this live, yesterday. my friend cried like a baby as i hold her and we both hummed this song as bob played.

    "When you're around me all my grief gives 'way
    A life time with you is like some heavenly day "
    genius.
    ventilatorblueson June 02, 2008   Link
  • 0
    General Comment"I'm the oldest son of a crazy man" is possibly the best line in this song. The rest are great, but seem like many classic Dylan-blues lines. But the imagery and thought that this line provokes, to me, makes it the best in the song. Possibly is his dad was crazy, he would have to be responsibly for his youngers brothers, sisters, or maybe it means that he was affected by the craziness somehow. Whichever it is, it's a great line, and the song, to me, would be very lacking without it, but with it it might be one of the better songs on the track... but that whole buildup of tension through the song as the listener waits for the "I miss you Nettie Moore" chorus is also pretty great.
    TheThornBirdson February 09, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General Commentwhat a beautiful chorus. the line The world has gone black before my eyes, is, like a lot of lines from modern times, from peter green's translation of ovid, this time from amores book 3, poem 5 - a poem where ovid's daydream is explained to him as his fear of his mistress' adultery.
    steve333333on February 25, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentIt seems like this song is about how the times are changing. no pun intended. It seems like this old timer is reflecting upon his life, and how things kept speeding up. So much to do but not enough time to do it. So he put off things that were important to him, trying to do it all. Before he knew it everything was gone. Flashed before his eyes, and now its black.

    Thats just what I take from this song
    WillyPon October 07, 2009   Link
  • 0
    Song MeaningSorry, i'm not english.
    What does "o'r" mean?
    VAIAVon April 29, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentDylan is taking time to reflect on the natural occurrences around him.
    "Winter's gone, the river's on the rise" means the snowmelt has caused rivers to surge with their annual high levels of water.
    Dylan also talks about "the temperature dropped/ I think the rain has stopped."
    It really sounds like what frankbooth said, Dylan is some old-timer, probably in the country who is sitting around his cabin, noticing things in his backyard.
    This awareness is complementing the main theme of the song: insights into the world around him and his relationship with this woman who is a big source of love in his life. The song is like a collection of insights and epiphanies, and the observances of nature are like pauses that make the song seem like the natural train-of-thought wanderings of an old man.

    At various moments throughout the song, Dylan is humbled, disappointed in himself, full of bravado, and hopeful about the future. Like frankbooth speculated, I think Nettie Moore is dead, and all the talk of her in the present tense may just be memories.

    "I loved you then and always will, but now there's no one left to tell" --> all his friends might be dead, as well as Nettie, though his love for her is everlasting
    "The world has gone black before my eyes" --> he lost all his love, now he can only love his memories, which are just a shadow of his loves, that would explain the blackness in his vision

    "Today I'll stand in faith and raise
    The voice of praise
    The sun is strong, I'm standing in the light
    I wish to God that it were night "
    He's sure he'll see her in heaven. The last sentence may be him wishing he was dead already. He's ready to go.
    Shep1986on December 01, 2010   Link
  • 0
    General CommentI noticed a Dante Reference or two.

    He clearly references Dante when he says "I would walk through a blazing fire if I knew you were on the other side." In the Divine Comedy, Dante walks through the fire wall in purgatory before he meets Beatrice, a girl he met and fell in love with in his youth, but who died young (the girl Dylan is writing about also appears to be dead). Beatrice then guides Dante through heaven. This is why I think he might be referencing Dante/Beatrice again when he says "a life time with you is like some heavenly day."
    athinmanon July 07, 2013   Link

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