Song Lyric Sunday: Size – ‘Big River’

One of the many great things about Song Lyric Sunday is that you learn something new every week, whether from researching your own contribution or looking at other submissions.

This time, for example, I decided quite quickly that in response to Jim’s prompt this week relating to ‘size’ I would go with ‘Big River’, a song that I know from its frequent performances by the Grateful Dead.

However, I hadn’t realised that it was, in fact, written by Johnny Cash and performed by him – improbable quiff and all – at the Grand Ole Opry in 1962. Different times…..

Now I taught the weeping willow how to cry
And I showed the clouds how to cover up a clear blue sky
And the tears that I cried for that woman are gonna flood you Big River
Then I’m gonna sit right here until I die

I met her accidentally in St. Paul (Minnesota)
And it tore me up every time I heard her drawl, Southern drawl
Then I heard my dream was back Downstream cavortin’ in Davenport
And I followed you, Big River, when you called

Then you took me to St. Louis later on (down the river)
A freighter said she’s been here but she’s gone, boy, she’s gone
I found her trail in Memphis, but she just walked up the bluff
She raised a few eyebrows and then she went on down alone

Now, won’t you batter down by Baton Rouge, River Queen, roll it on
Take that woman on down to New Orleans, New Orleans
Go on, I’ve had enough; dump my blues down in the gulf
She loves you, Big River, more than me

Written by Johnny Cash

Song Lyric Sunday 7 June 2020

3 thoughts on “Song Lyric Sunday: Size – ‘Big River’

  1. Like you, I am always learning from SLS. Cash said that he wrote Big River in the back seat of a car in White Plains, New York, as a slow twelve-bar blues, but when he played it for Sam Phillips, the producer immediately told him that he needed to put a beat to this song.

  2. I’m a big fan of The Man in Black. He, along with The Carter Family, are iconic figures in country music. Big River is a great choice for the prompt, deadhead.

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