High Water Rising

17 Aug

Most if not all the major religions born of the neolithic revolutions – Hinduism, the Abrahamic faiths and the myths of Classical Greece – feature a Great Flood. “One hypothesis argues for a catastrophic deluge about 5600 BC from Mediterranean into Black Sea”, says Wiki, adding that “this has been the subject of some discussion.”

That flood meme is also a blues standard. On Love and Theft, Bob Dylan’s thirty-first studio album – released as luck would have it on September 11, 2001 – the maestro pays his dues to Charley Patton with High Water. As an aside I feel duty bound to plug Robert Crumb (who more recently penned a searingly graphic Book of Genesis) for his sublime comic strip biography of the legendary delta bluesman.

But back to Bob, and that highwater everywhere…

Highwater risin’, rising night and day
All the gold and silver are being stolen away
Big Joe Turner looking east and west from the dark room of his mind
He made it to Kansas City, Twelfth Street and Vine
Nothin’ standing there
Highwater everywhere

Highwater rising the shacks are sliding down
Folks lose their possessions, the folks are leaving town
Reformation shook it, broke it, then she hung it on the wall
Say you dance with whom they tell you to or you don’t dance at all
It’s tough out there
Highwater everywhere

I got a cravin’ love for blazin’ speed
I got a hopped up Mustang Ford
Jump into the wagon, love
Throw your panties overboard
I can write you poems, make a strong man lose his mind
I’m no pig without a wig, I hope you treat me kind
Things are breakin’ up out there
Highwater everywhere

Highwater rising, six inches above my head
Coffin’s dropping in the street like balloons made out of lead
Water poured into Vicksburg, don’t know what I’m gonna do
Don’t reach out for me, she said, can’t you see I’m drowning too
It’s rough out there
Highwater everywhere

Well, George Lewis told the Englishman, the Italian and the Jew
You can’t open up your mind, boys, to every conceivable point of view
They got Charles Darwin trapped out there on Highway 5
Judge says to the high sheriff, I want him dead or alive
Either one, I don’t care
Highwater everywhere

Well, the cuckoo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies
I’m preachin’ the word of God, I’m puttin’ out your eyes
I asked Fat Nancy for someth’n’ to eat, she said take it off the shelf
As great as you are man, you’ll never be greater than yourself
I told her I didn’t really care
Highwater everywhere

I get up in the mornin’, I believe I’ll dust my broom
Keepin’ away from the women, I’m givin’ them lots of room
Thunder rollin’ over Clarksdale, everythin’ a lookin’ blue
I just can’t be happy, love, unless you’re happy too
It’s bad out there
Highwater everywhere

One Reply to “High Water Rising”

  1. It was Bertha Mason who shook it, broke then hung it on the wall.
    A reference to one of Charley’s rap songs You can shake it break it but don’t let it fall.

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