Sunday, June 7, 2015

Highway 51

Bob's baby lives here.
If she dumps him, he won't go
Down that road no more.

"Highway 51" comes from Dylan's debut album. The reference is to the U.S. Route 51, which runs from west of New Orleans north to the Michigan-Wisconsin border (Laplace, Louisiana nearly to Ironwood, Michigan). It was one of the major routes of black migration after the Civil War as people sought jobs in the industrialized north. The song has been ascribed to Curtis Jones, but there's no proof of this that I'm aware of.

Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
If I don't get the girl I'm loving
Won't go down to Highway 51 no more.

Well, I know that highway like I know my hand
Yes, I know that highway like I know the back of my hand
Running from up Wisconsin way down to no man's land.

Well, if I should die before my time should come
And if I should die before my time should come
Won't you bury my body out on the Highway 51.

Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
I said, Highway 51 runs right by my baby's door
If I don't get the girl I'm loving
Won't go down to Highway 51 no more.



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