The Levee’s Gonna Break / Rain on Love. Reconsidering Dylan’s song.


By Joost Nillissen

These are ominous times, darling. If it keeps on raining, the levee gonna break. Look out your window and see the day as only the Lord could make. Shouldn’t we be moving on?

I’ve been working there, both night and day and now I’m done, I’ve done my time. Even if they’d want me, I wouldn’t go back. They can strip you of everything you have.

Come on now, we’ve gotta move, there’s riches and salvation, just around the corner from you. You want me to leave you here? Is that the thanks I get? Don’t forget it was me who picked you up from the gutter.

There were times that we would look into each others eyes ’til one of us would break, but now I only see myself and all that I am and hope to be. The rain keeps pouring down and the levee might break any minute. Look outside and see the turmoil, all these people running, not knowing which road to take.

Come on now, we will be okay. When we’re together we can never be blue. You give meaning to my life and everything I do. Look, the waters are rising, and all the women and men on the run, carrying everything they own, the rich and the poor, some of them got barely enough skin to cover their bones.

Storm clouds are raging on our love, darling, something’s gotta give. Outside the levee might break. You can’t stay inside and keep warm. We’ve gotta move on.

How can I seduce you? You look so pretty in your evening dress. Or put on your cat suit. Don’t worry, I can still find work, plenty of stuff out there for you and me to take. Only a few more years and then there will be a thousand years of happiness.

Come on now, I’m ready, get ready. Okay, have it your way, we’ll leave tomorrow. It’s still raining though, the levee might break. We might not make it through the night, something might snap.

I said I won’t repeat the mistake of trying to make her love me, but as the sun comes up, I find there’s butter and eggs in my bed. She’s still asleep. I’m wide awake and I whisper: come back baby, say we never more will part. Don’t be a stranger without a brain or heart.


You might also enjoy: “The Levee’s Gonna Break – the music and the meaning”

What else is on the site

  • 1: Over 400 reviews of Dylan songs.  There is an index to these in alphabetical order on the home page, and an index to the songs in the order they were written in the Chronology Pages.
  • 2: The Chronology.  We’ve taken all the songs we can find recordings of and put them in the order they were written (as far as possible) not in the order they appeared on albums.  The chronology is more or less complete and is now linked to all the reviews on the site.  We have also recently started to produce overviews of Dylan’s work year by year.     The index to the chronologies is here.
  • 3: Bob Dylan’s themes.  We publish a wide range of articles about Bob Dylan and his compositions.  There is an index here.  A second index lists the articles under the poets and poetic themes cited – you can find that here.
  • 4:   The Discussion Group    We now have a discussion group “Untold Dylan” on Facebook.  Just type the phrase “Untold Dylan” in, on your Facebook page or follow this link 
  • 5:  Bob Dylan’s creativity.   We’re fascinated in taking the study of Dylan’s creative approach further.  The index is in Dylan’s Creativity.
  • 6: You might also like: A classification of Bob Dylan’s songs and partial Index to Dylan’s Best Opening Lines

And please do note   The Bob Dylan Project, which lists every Dylan song in alphabetical order, and has links to licensed recordings and performances by Dylan and by other artists, is starting to link back to our reviews.

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8 Responses to The Levee’s Gonna Break / Rain on Love. Reconsidering Dylan’s song.

  1. Babette says:

    No doubt there is a WARNING:
    “If it keep on rainin’ the levee gonna break”

    No doubt the warning is not a crazy religious warning (“doomsday”). It comes from an insider working on the levee:
    “Well I worked on the levee Mama, both night and day”

    A lot of people have heard the warning and are fleeing:
    “Some people on the road carrying everything that they own
    Some people got barely enough skin to cover their bones”

    He wants to flee too and he is not afraid of the new world. He is preparede to give up everything in the old world – He is convinced he can make it in the new world.
    “Riches and salvation can be waiting behind the next bend in the road”

    But she won´t. She simply cannot be persuaded. She wont leave even if he is leaving.
    “Don’t be a stranger without a brain or heart”

    What will he do? What would you do?

    He finds a good excuse to leave her:
    “I tried to get you to love me, but I won’t repeat that mistake”

    He is a survivor.

    This story happens all the time all over the world, but for the jews it happens more often. Must I remind you of the holocaust and the progroms?

    It is the old story of Lot´s wife in a new version.

  2. Babette says:

    So let us not talk falsely now:
    Without beeing crude let me introduce

    Paul Simon: “50 Ways to Leave Your Lover”

  3. Larry Fyffe says:

    A new version that’s for sure; sent out to get some table salt for the next time they have a party in Sodom or Gomorrah, with butter and eggs in bed, he tells his wife to be sure to ‘come back baby, say we never more will part.” You see, she’s been fooling around on him.

    He knows when she starts back she’ll become a stranger with no brain and no heart because God is gonna turn her into a pillor of salt for being naughty.

    In the meantime, he escapes, with two beautiful angels holding on to his hand, to a paradise of riches and salvation. He gets out of town just in time before Sodom and Gomorrah are destroyed by a big flood when the levee breaks.

    If you’re his wife, it’s Lot who gets to laugh.

  4. Babette says:

    I hear no laughing.
    I feel the pain of leaving somebody you love behind.

  5. Larry Fyffe says:

    It takes a train to cry…..

    The locomotive’s engine would indeed like to leave every one the carloads it’s pulling behind.

    But it takes a Lot to laugh.

  6. Babette says:

    “Don’t say I never warned you when your train gets lost”

    Horrible days in Texas theese days. Did you know?

  7. Larry Fyffe says:

    If You Ever Go To Houston

  8. Larry Fyffe says:

    High Water Everywhere

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