(trad./Bob Dylan; Dave van Ronk?)

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.

In the United States, The Rising Sun, a song with roots in 17th century British folk melody -- the rising sun has been a longtime symbol for brothels in British and American ballads -- circulated widely among Southern musicians, black and white. Black bluesman Texas Alexander first recorded it in 1928. [Roy] Acuff may have learned this number from such neighboring Smoky Mountain artists as versatile entertainer Clarence Tom Ashley or the Callahan Brothers, an influential duet team of the '30s and '40s.

John R. Rumble, Liner Notes, Country & Western Classics: Roy Acuff, Time-Life Records, 1983, p. 19.

Lyrics as recorded by Bob Dylan on Nov 20, 1961.
The overdubbed, 1964 "electric" version (released on the "Highway 61 Interactive" CD ROM) omitts verses 3 and 4.

Probable source: Dave van Ronk
Transcribed by Manfred Helfert

There is a house down in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun,
And it's been the ruin of many poor girl
And me, oh, God, I'm one.

My mother was a tailor,
She sewed these new blue jeans.
My sweetheart was a gambler, Lord,
Down in New Orleans.

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk;
And the only time when he's satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk.

He fills his glasses up to the brim
And he'll pass the cards around,
And the only pleasure he gets out of life
Is rambling from town to town.

Oh tell my baby sister
Not to do what I have done,
But shun that house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun.

Well, it's one foot on the platform
and the other foot on the train,
I'm going back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain.

I'm going back to New Orleans,
My race is almost run;
I'm going back to end my life
Down in the Rising Sun.

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Rising Sun,
It's been the ruin of many poor girl
And me, oh, God, I'm one.