Bob Dylan And Ken Curtis


by Larry Fyffe

James Arness stars as Marshall Matt Dillon, and Ken Curtis as his Deputy in the TV series western series called “Gunsmoke”. The singer/songwriter Robert Zimmerman is said to have taken the name “Bob Dylan” from that show rather than from poet Dylan Thomas as others claim.

Known for certain is that Ken Curtis be a member of the western singing group ‘The Sons Of The Pioneers’ along with the  ‘King of the Cowboys’ Roy Rogers, Tim Spenser, and Bob Nolan (from Winnipeg who spends part of his youth near Saint John in the Province of New Brunswick).

In the song below, lyrics are changed a wee bit from the original when sung by Ken Curtis:

Warm as the spring
Gentle and sweet
True as the Alamo
You'll find the world at your feet
Wherever you go

(Ken Curtis: Blue Bonnet Girl ~ Glenn & Tim Spenser)

The following lyrics stick to the original:

Soft as the springtime
Gentle and sweet
True as the Alamo
You'll have the world at your feet
Wherever you go

(Bob Dylan: Blue Bonnet Girl ~ G.& T. Spenser)

Here’s a song from an episode of the TV western series ‘Have Gun Will Travel, starring Richard Boone:

If I had wings like Noah's dove
I'd fly up the river to the one I love
Farewell thee well, O my honey
Fare thee well

(Ken Curtis: Dink’s Song ~ traditional)

Below, the same song performed by Bob “Dillon”:

If I had wings like Noah's dove
I'd fly the river to the one I love
Fare thee well, my honey
Fare thee well

(Bob Dylan: Dink’s Song ~ traditional)

Now a song written by the former New Brunswicker:

I'll know when night has gone
That a new world is born at dawn
I'll keep rolling along
Deep in my heart is a song
Here on the range I belong

(Ken Curtis: Tumbling Tumbleweeds ~ Bob Nolan)

Note the Dylanesque ‘rhyme twist’ in the song lyrics quoted below ~ ‘along’/’song’/’belong’;


Well, I'm a stranger here in a strange land
But I know this is where I belong
I'll ramble and gamble for the one I love
And the hills will give me a song

(Bob Dylan: Red River Shore)

The song above has its roots in the one below:

From this Valley, they say you are leaving
We will miss your bright eyes and sweet smile
For they say you are taking the sunshine
That has brightened my pathway a while

(Ken Curtis: Red River Valley ~ traditional)

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