Bob Dylan And The Maritimers

by Larry Fyffe

Over time, lyrics of folk or country songs often become entangled up with one another, deliberately or otherwise:

On the wings of a snow-white dove
He sends his pure sweet love
A sign from above
On the wings of a dove
(Ferlin Husky: On The Wings Of A Dove ~ R. Ferguson)

Referencing a biblical verse:

And the dove came to him in the evening
And, lo, in her mouth was an olive leaf pluckt off
So Noah knew that the waters were abated from off the earth
(Genesis 8:11)

The biblical verse referenced again in the song below:

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)

A Nova Scotian performs a related song:

Please do meet me tonight in the moonlight
Please do meet me tonight all alone ....
Oh, if I had the wings of a swallow
Over these prison walls I would fly
(Wilf Carter: Prisoner's Song ~ traditional)

Another Nova Scotian performs the same song:

Please meet me tonight in the moonlight
Please meet me tonight all alone ....
Now if I had the wings of an angel
Over these prison walls I would fly
(Hank Snow: Prisoner's Song ~ traditional)

The song is alluded to in the lyrics below:

The branches cast their shodows over stone
Won't you meet me out in the moonlight alone?
(Bob Dylan: Moonlight)

And ‘angels’ there be in the song quoted beneath:

He spoke of his angel, a dear baby girl
He loved every footstep, he loved every curl
But she went to heaven, just one year ago
The angels came for her, at the first fall of snow
(Molly O'Day: At The First Fall Of Snow ~ Lorene Rose)

The bluegrass song gets alluded to in the following lyrics:

I saw the first fall of snow
I saw the flowers come and go
(Bob Dylan: I've Made Up My Mind To Give Myself To You)

Reminds one as well of a famous poem:

In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo
(TS Eliot: The Love Song Of J. Alfred Prufrock)

The singing of such songs are divided by some analysts thereof into two eras:

ie, ‘PM’ ~ Pre-Maritimers taking over the world; ‘AM’ ~ After-Maritimers take over the world.

A traditional ballad from the lumber woods of New Brunswick:

I landed in New Brunswick close by the lumbering country .....
Oh, there is danger on the ocean where the waves roll mountains high
There is danger on the battlefield where the angry bullets fly
There is danger in the old north wood for death lurks silent there
(Bonnie Dobson: Peter Amberley ~ traditional)

The above song from the Maritimes paid tribute to in lyrics below that involve a murder:

And there's danger on the ocean where the salt sea waves split high
And there's danger on the battlefield where the shells of bullets fly
And there's danger in this open world where men fight to be free ....
Farewell to the old north woods of which I used to roam
(Bob Dylan: The Ballad Of Donald White)

The following performance features yet another singer from Nova Scotia:

Well, I'm walking down that long, lonesome road, babe
Where I'm bound, I can't tell
"Goodbye" is too good a word, babe
So l'll just say, "Fare thee well"

(Ann Murray – with Glen Campbell – : Don’t Think Twice It’s Alright ~ Bob Dylan)

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  1. And from a Canadian poet:

    He was never meant to win
    He’s a rolling stone
    And it’s bred in his bone
    He’s a man that won’t fit in
    (Robert Service: The Men That Don’t Fit In)

  2. How does it feel
    To be on your own
    With no direction home
    Like a complete unknown
    Like a rolling stone
    (Bob Dylan: Like A Rolling Stone)

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