"North Country Blues" as written by and Bob Dylan....
Come gather 'round, friends
And I'll tell you a tale
Of when the red iron ore pits ran plenty
But the cardboard filled windows
And old men on the benches
Tell you now that the whole town is empty

In the north end of town
My own children are grown
But I was raised up on the other
In the wee hours of youth
My mother took sick
And I was brought up by my brother

The iron ore poured
As the years passed the door
The drag lines an' the shovels was a-humming
Till one day my brother
Failed to come home
The same as my father before him

Well, a long winter's wait
From the window I watched
My friends, they couldn't have been kinder
And my schooling was cut
As I quit in the spring
To marry John Thomas, a miner

Oh, the years passed again
And the givin' was good
With the lunch buckets filled every season
What with three babies born
The work was cut down
To a half a day's shift with no reason

Then the shaft was soon shut
And my work, it was cut
And the firing air, it felt frozen
Till a man come to speak
And he said in one week
That number eleven was closin'

They complained in the East
That they are paying too high
They say that your ore ain't worth digging
That it's much cheaper down
In South American town
Where the miners work almost for nothing

So the mining gates locked
And the red iron rotted
And the room smelled heavy from drinking
Where the sad, silent song
Made the hour twice as long
As I waited for the sun to go sinking

I lived by the window
As he talked to himself
This silence of tongues, it was building
Then one morning's wake
The bed, it was bare
And I's left alone with three children

The summer is gone
The ground's turning cold
The stars, one by one, they're a-foldin'
My children will go
As soon as they grow
Oh, there ain't nothing here now to hold them



Lyrics submitted by vphi

"North Country Blues" as written by Bob Dylan

Lyrics © BOB DYLAN MUSIC CO

Lyrics powered by LyricFind

North Country Blues song meanings
Add your thoughts

2 Comments

sort form View by:
  • 0
    General CommentWell, if there is no job here why not go somewhere else? Is it such a tragedy?
    Bob Dylan left his home at 16, Joan left her university at her first year...
    Maybe it was hard for ordinary people, to move to strange places?
    It was not Joan that made this song sound sad, Dylan sang it sadly, too (though not quite so blue).
    vphion September 19, 2009   Link
  • 0
    General CommentBobby Zimmerman (and I) lived through the closure of the natural ore mines of the Vermilion, Mesabi, and Cayuna ranges. It was always boom and bust, but beginning in the early 60's, it was over. Yes, he left and I left, but not always because we wanted to. About a third of my high school class moved back after retirement--would have come sooner, but no jobs. For many of our parents, this was to have been the land of promise. They left home once, to come thousands of miles to a place they couldn't speak the language. Can you really blame them for not wanting to pull up stakes again? And not because the ore was gone, but because Big Steel didn't want to pay them a living wage.
    Northerngirlon April 22, 2016   Link

Add your thoughts

Log in now to tell us what you think this song means.

Don’t have an account? Create an account with SongMeanings to post comments, submit lyrics, and more. It’s super easy, we promise!

Back to top
explain