<>

HIGHWAY 51

(credited to Curtis Jones)

LISTEN (Real Audio) at SONY/Columbia's Official Bob Dylan Site


Any copyrighted material on these pages is used in "fair use", for the purpose of study, review or critical analysis only, and will be removed at the request of copyright owner(s).
Audio files are DELIBERATELY encoded "low-fi" to enable faster streaming and are intended as "illustrations" and "appetizers" only.
Official and "hi-fi" recordings can (and should) be purchased at your local record dealer or through a number of web-based companies, like CDNow.



Contrary to the composer's credit..., this is not the Curtis Jones song of 1938 vintage....
Instead, it takes two verses from Tommy McClennan's New Highway 51 [recorded May 10, 1940, Chicago, IL]....
The verse sung by Dylan between these appears to be an original verse.

Görgen Antonsson, "Stealin', Stealin' - Bob Dylan & The Blues (1960 to 1963)," The Telegraph, No. 54, Spring 1996, p. 40.


For the migrant Negro... the long ribbons of the "odd" numbered highways have a magnetic fascination.... He sings of Highway 49.... Often he sings of Highway 61... or of its fellow, Highway 51, on whose hard causeway countless thousands of flapping soles and bare black feet have made no indentation.... These are the best-known routes to the Southern Negroes...

Paul Oliver, The Meaning of the Blues, New York, 1963, pp. 82-83.


Lyrics as recorded by Bob Dylan on Nov 22, 1961, transcribed by Manfred Helfert;
also performed on First McKenzies' tape, Nov 23, 1961, and at Carnegie Chapter Hall Hootenanny, Sep 22, 1962.


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 lovin',
Won't go down 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,
Runnin' 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 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 lovin',
Won't go down Highway 51 no more.


TO LYRICS PAGE
TO TABLE OF CONTENTS
TO STARTING PAGE