Song of the Day #3,452: ‘Big River’ – Johnny Cash

I often stumble across the website songfacts.com when doing research for the blog. If you have the right song, you’ll find a treasure trove of illuminating information.

Today’s Random Song of the Day, ‘Big River’ by Johnny Cash, features a few such nuggets, including the following quotes about the track by Bob Dylan and Tom Petty.

“There are so many ways you can go at something in a song. One thing is to give life to inanimate objects. Johnny Cash is good at that. He’s got the line that goes, ‘A freighter said, ‘She’s been here, but she’s gone, boy, she’s gone.’ That’s great. That’s high art. If you do that once in a song, you usually turn it on its head right then and there.” – Bob Dylan

“You want to be a songwriter? Listen to ‘Big River’ about 60 times, and you’ll write something.” – Tom Petty

[Chorus]
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 going to flood you Big River
Then I’m going to sit right here until I die

[Verse]
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 cavorting 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 block
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

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

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2 thoughts on “Song of the Day #3,452: ‘Big River’ – Johnny Cash

  1. Dana Gallup says:

    Just to add to the facts of this song, it was recorded at the legendary Sun Studios in 1958. We took a tour of Sun Studios several years ago while visiting Memphis. We stood in the studio while the guide would tell stories of artists like Cash and Elvis recorded there, and then they would play the song. Such a cool tour!

  2. Peg Clifton says:

    High praise from great artists!

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