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BE CAREFUL OF STONES THAT YOU THROW

(Bonnie Dodd)

Hank Williams


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Lyrics as performed by Bob Dylan on the unreleased Basement Tapes, West Saugerties, NY, May-Jun 1967.

Original recording: Hank Williams (as 'Luke the Drifter'), Castle Studio, Nashville, TN, Jul 11, 1952 (master: 52-S-6069; original release: M-G-M 11309, Aug 1952)

*** NOTE: "You Win Again" (also covered by Dylan) stems from the same Hank Williams recording session.***

Fred Rose had found a song he thought suitable; it was Bonnie Dodd's "Be Careful of Stones That You Throw." Dodd was a steel-guitar player who had been recording on and off since 1937. She had written Tex Ritter's 1945 hit "You Will Have to Pay," and had worked a spell with him. Little Jimmy Dickens had recorded "Be Careful of Stones That You Throw" in October 1949, but it hadn't done much business and Rose clearly wanted to find a good home for the song. It was another cautionary tale: a hypocritical neighbor is saved by the "bad girl" down the street. Even cutting a song that wasn't his own, it's possible that Hank drew a parallel to his own life. The tide of criticism was mounting, but "unless you've made no mistakes in your life," he seems to be saying to his detractors, "be careful of stones that you throw."

Colin Escott, Hank Williams: The Biography, Boston, New York, Toronto, London, 1995, p. 203.


LYRICS AS PERFORMED BY BOB DYLAN,
transcribed by Brian Davies (davies@ils.nwu.edu).


A tongue can accuse or carry bad news;
The seeds of distrust it will sow.
So unless you have made no mistakes in your life,
Be careful of stones that you throw.

A neighbor was passing my garden one time;
She smiled and I knew right away
That it was gossip not flowers that she had on her mind,
And this is what I heard my neighbor say:

"That bad girl down the street, she should be run from our midst.
She drinks and she talks quite a lot.
She knows not to speak to my child nor to me."
My neighbor then smiled, and I thought . . .

A tongue can accuse or carry bad news;
The seeds of distrust it will sow.
So unless you have made no mistakes in your life,
Be careful of stones that you throw.

The car speeded by, the screaming of brakes
A sound that made my blood chill,
For my neighbor's one child had been pulled from the path
And saved by a girl lying still.

Her child was unhurt and my neighbor cried out,
"Oh, who is that brave girl so sweet?"
I covered the crushed, broken body and said,
"That bad girl down the street."

A tongue can accuse or carry bad news;
The seeds of distrust it will sow.
So unless you have made no mistakes in your life,
Be careful of stones that you throw.


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