Bob Dylan:John Brown

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“John Brown”
Artist: Bob Dylan
Albums: Live At The Gaslight 1962 (2005)


When John Brown went off to war to fight on a foreign shore
His mother sure was proud of him
As he stood so straight an' tall in his uniform an' all
His mother's face broke out all to a grin.

"Oh son, you look so fine i'm glad you're a son of mine
You make me proud to know you hold a gun
Do what the captain says, lots of medals you will get
We'll put 'em on the wall when you come home."

When that old train pulled out John's ma began to shout
Tellin' everybody in the whole neighborhood
"That's my son that's about to go, he's a soldier now you know.''
She made well sure the neighbors understood.
Lord, lord, understood.

She got a letter once in a while an' her face broke into a smile
As she showed 'em to the people from next door
An' she bragged about her son with his uniform an' gun
An' this thing she called a good old fashioned war.

Then the letters ceased to come, for a long time they never come
They ceased to come for about nine months or more
Then a letter finally came, sayin', "Go down an' meet the train
Your son's a-comin' home from the war."
Lord, lord, from the war.

Well, she smiled an' went right down, she looked up an' all around
But she did not see her soldier son in sight
But as all the people passed, she saw her son at last
When she did she could hardly believe her eyes.

His face was all shot up an' his hand was both blown off
An' he wore a metal brace around his waist
He whispered kind of slow in a voice she did not know
While she could not even recognize his face.

"Oh my darling son, tell me what to you they've done
How is it that you've come to be this way?''
His mouth could hardly move as he tried his best to talk
And she did not even recognize his voice.

"Oh don't you remember ma, when i went off to war
You thought it was the best thing i could do
I was on the battleground, you were home feelin' proud
Thank god you wasn't standin' in my shoes.

"Lord i thought when i was there, god what am i doin' here?
I'm tryin' to kill my enemy or i die tryin'
But as the enemy came close the thing that hurt me most
Is i saw that his face looked just like mine.''
Lord, lord, just like mine.

An' i could not help but think, through the thunder soundin' stink
That i was just a puppet in a play
An' through the roar an' smoke the string it finally broke
An' a cannonball blew my eyes away.

As he turned away to walk, his ma was still in shock
Seein' the metal brace that helped him stand
But as he turned to go, he called his mother close
An' he dropped his medals down into her hand.
Lord, lord to her hand.