Bob Dylan's
Bob Dylan and Suze

North Country Blues

Come gather 'round friends

And I'll tell you a tale

Of when the red iron pits ran plenty.

But the cardboard filled windows

And old men on the benches

Tell you now that the whole town is empty.


In the north end of town,

My own children are grown

But I was raised on the other.

In the wee hours of youth,

My mother took sick

And I was brought up by my brother.


The iron ore poured

As the years passed the door,

The drag lines an' the shovels they was a-humming.

'Til one day my brother

Failed to come home

The same as my father before him.


Well a long winter's wait,

From the window I watched.

My friends they couldn't have been kinder.

And my schooling was cut

As I quit in the spring

To marry John Thomas, a miner.


Oh the years passed again

And the givin' was good,

With the lunch bucket filled every season.

What with three babies born,

The work was cut down

To a half a day's shift with no reason.


Then the shaft was soon shut

And more work was cut,

And the fire in the air, it felt frozen.

'Til a man come to speak

And he said in one week

That number eleven was closin'.


They complained in the East,

They are paying too high.

They say that your ore ain't worth digging.

That it's much cheaper down

In the South American towns

Where the miners work almost for nothing.


So the mining gates locked

And the red iron rotted

And the room smelled heavy from drinking.

Where the sad, silent song

Made the hour twice as long

As I waited for the sun to go sinking.


I lived by the window

As he talked to himself,

This silence of tongues it was building.

Then one morning's wake,

The bed it was bare,

And I's left alone with three children.


The summer is gone,

The ground's turning cold,

The stores one by one they're a-foldin'.

My children will go

As soon as they grow.

Well, there ain't nothing here now to hold them.


Copyright 1963; renewed 1991 Special Rider Music

First release: The Times They Are A-Changin', 1964