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Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised

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NIGHT THEY DROVE OLD DIXIE DOWN


Related threads:
Chords Req: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (37)
(origins) Origins: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (58)
Chords Req: The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down (5)


YorkshireYankee 20 May 21 - 09:40 PM
GUEST,# 20 May 21 - 11:07 PM
GUEST,# 20 May 21 - 11:19 PM
cnd 21 May 21 - 12:45 AM
GUEST,mg 21 May 21 - 12:48 AM
meself 21 May 21 - 12:08 PM
GUEST,pattyClink 21 May 21 - 12:20 PM
YorkshireYankee 22 May 21 - 12:09 AM
gillymor 22 May 21 - 07:02 AM
GUEST,Augie 22 May 21 - 10:01 AM
meself 22 May 21 - 12:11 PM
GUEST,# 22 May 21 - 01:46 PM
GUEST,Phil d'Conch 22 May 21 - 02:03 PM
meself 22 May 21 - 02:31 PM
Jeri 22 May 21 - 02:59 PM
meself 22 May 21 - 03:13 PM
Jeri 22 May 21 - 08:37 PM
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Subject: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 20 May 21 - 09:40 PM

James Early has revised "The Night They drove Old Dixie Down" (trying to make it seem less supportive of the Confederacy).

A friend has asked me for the words/if I might know someone who would know what the new words are. The last verse is available in a Rolling Stone article, but the rest of the words are not easily found via google.

I've found video of James Early performing the song, and got most of the lyrics from that, but there are a few words I cannot make out, even after listening repeatedly. If anyone else can figure them out, I'd be very grateful (or if anyone knows a source for the new words).

Here's what I've got so far:

Virgil Caine is the name and I served on the Danville train
Till Stoneman's cavalry came and tore up the tracks again
In the winter of 65, they were hungry,
Just barely alive
I ??? the town, ??? when it fell
It's time to remember, time to bid farewell

Tonight we drove old Dixie down
And all the bells were ringin'
Tonight we drove old Dixie down
And the people were singin'
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la..."


Back with my wife in Tennessee, when one day she called to me,
"Virgil, come quick, come see, there goes Robert E. Lee!"
Now, I don't mind chopping wood,
And I don't care if the money's no good,
You take what you need and leave the rest,
But ???, ??? stood the test of time

Chorus

Unlike my father before me, who I will never understand
Unlike the others below me, who took a rebel stand
Depraved and powered to enslave
I think it’s time we laid hate in its grave
I swear by the mud below my feet
That monument won’t stand, no matter how much concrete

Chorus

Thanks for any assistance...


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 May 21 - 11:07 PM

I ??? the town, ??? when it fell

On May the 10th, Richmond fell (the line isn't changed much from the original)

*******************************

Regarding the second set of missing words, I have no idea, sorry.


Do people from Troy, Alabama, really sound like that? Anyone know? Makes me feel like I should be on the back porch just a-swangin'.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,#
Date: 20 May 21 - 11:19 PM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXSYm-CkUsE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXSYm-CkUsE

Robertson discussing the original song.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: cnd
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:45 AM

Minor change to the chorus, the first time it is (mostly) in present tense, so:
"Tonight we drive old Dixie down
And all the bells are ringing
Tonight we drive old Dixie down
And the people were singin'
They went, "Na, na, la, na, na, la..."
And the second time they change it to present continuous (we're driving...)
Also, in the first line, I believe it should be "Virgil Caine was the name." Again, a minor change, but that's how I hear it.
Final minor change: "I swear by the mud beneath my feet"

But, your second set of question marks, I think it is "But it ain't now, it would have stood the test of time." Or maybe he says something about 'hate'.

On the YouTube video, an account named "Early James and the Latest" which appears to be at least strongly associated with Early James (if not him) gave the line as "If he had of been the best, then he would have stood the test of time." Maybe that's what he intended to sing, but it definitely ain't what came out.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I see there are now a few linked threads at the top of the page about the original song by Robbie Robertson, of The Band. I must profess I haven't read all of them, so maybe my following discussion will be better placed in them.

While I enjoyed his version greatly from a musical perspective, and I understand why Early James updated the lyrics, I think his efforts were misguided. The original purpose of the song is a bitter poor southerner reflecting on his misguided early thoughts of 'patriotism' in enlisting for a war that did little to actually benefit him. He enlisted "proud and brave" but has come out "hungry" and "just barely alive."    He's seen his erstwhile hero (Lee) leave in defeat.

The most problematic line to me is "they should never have taken the very best." It's a vague line and of course open to interpretation. Lot's of people think it refers to carpetbaggers or even the Union Army wining the war in general. Personally, though, I've always felt it likely refers to the CSA taking his brother and family's lives and livelihood away.

All that to say that while I don't have a problem with his new lyrics, the song was already a criticism of the Confederacy in the Civil War. I've read that aside from assisting with research Levon Helms's main recommendation to Robertson was not to mention Lincoln, and if that was his warning I think that helps give an idea of the intentions Robertson had when writing it. Maybe it's more veiled than Early's updates, but I guess what's good for the goose is good for the gander


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,mg
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:48 AM

i personally don't find it to be an improvement and calling humble soldiers depraved, which they very well might have been whilst starving etc.....not for me. but to each his/her own.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: meself
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:08 PM

Well, since the subject has been opened up ... whoever 'revised' the lyrics clearly has no poetic understanding, let alone, ability, and should stick to ... whatever it is he's good at.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,pattyClink
Date: 21 May 21 - 12:20 PM

I'm gonna pile on. The words are not an improvement and render the story senseless. Did this guy even write the original, if not, where does he get off doing that? Maybe he should write a new song about how happy he is to see statues come down, since that's what he's trying to say. And get some professional help in the writing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: YorkshireYankee
Date: 22 May 21 - 12:09 AM

Thanks so much to Guest# and cnd – your comments are very helpful!

To the others, here's the Rolling Stone article where James Early explains why he wasn't comfortable singing the song in its original form (Patty Clink, no he's not the one who wrote the original).

There has been quite a lot of reaction to the new version, and a fair few articles written, most of them saying they don't think the original was glorifying the Confederacy and didn't need reworking.

Thanks again to those who helped with the lyrics. I was having a lot of trouble understanding his singing.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: gillymor
Date: 22 May 21 - 07:02 AM

I admire Mr. James instincts but I'd be far more embarrassed to sing that awkward and poorly conceived revision than to sing Mr. Robertson's original, which IMO doesn't glorify the lost cause myth or the Confederacy but simply tells of one soldier's acceptance of defeat. If Early James isn't comfortable with that song maybe he should find another one to sing. Just my unsolicited opinion.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,Augie
Date: 22 May 21 - 10:01 AM

I agree that the "revised" song is a poor attempt, but I feel a bit of sympathy for the impulse that lead to it.

This is germane:

https://www.alternet.org/2021/05/texas-education-bill/

AND Texas (and many other southern states as well) still to this day teach "The War Of Northern Aggression" and the "Lost Cause" myth to impressionable children.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: meself
Date: 22 May 21 - 12:11 PM

That Rolling Stone article is just as cringe-worthy as the revised lyrics. (Btw, this Early guy says of this revision, "The song just kind of wrote itself" ... posted without comment.)

Although, to be fair, as a Southerner, he has his own history with the song and what it's apparently become down there.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,#
Date: 22 May 21 - 01:46 PM

You're welcome, Yorkshire Yankee. I have listened a few more times to the second line you mentioned in your OP (it happens about 2:04 into the video, and I don't think it has any association to the line Early meant to sing. Watch the video from 2:00 to 2:12 or so. I'd bet he forgot what he was going to sing. I can see him grabbing at this and that as he approached the line and he flubbed the recovery. (I think cnd said something similar.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: GUEST,Phil d'Conch
Date: 22 May 21 - 02:03 PM

Spend the first half of life bowdlerizing the old folks and the second half getting it done to you by the young folks. Survivors blues.

In pop terms, it's more of an 'answer' or 'reply' song than a revision. ...trying to make it seem less supportive of the Confederacy is an understatement... to say the least.

Would the artist hang the yoke of the Holocaust around the necks of the people of Dresden?

The Japanese did gag a Nazi. Do Hiroshima & Nagasaki come joined-at-the-hip with their national guilt trip?

It's one Richmond and Danville Railroad worker.

Chillax Canada.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: meself
Date: 22 May 21 - 02:31 PM

How on earth is the original "supportive of the Confederacy"? (That's a rhetorical question.)


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: Jeri
Date: 22 May 21 - 02:59 PM

The original is a very human reaction to events. It's personal. It's not making any sort of political statement, even though it's from the viewpoint of... aw hell, from the Wikipedia article:
"The song is a first-person narrative relating the economic and social distress experienced by the protagonist, a poor white Southerner, during the last year of the American Civil War, when George Stoneman was raiding southwest Virginia."
It tells a story, it doesn't make a political statement.

I don't want to continue with an off-topic, unhelpful opinion. The on-topic response, which also isn't helpful, is that the guy mumbles enough that I wonder if he WANTED anyone to understand him. I can't make out what he's singing. Add that to the fact I don't like what he did, so I don't care to try. I hope someone else can help.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: meself
Date: 22 May 21 - 03:13 PM

The narrator seems more disillusioned than anything else.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Req: Night They Drove Old Dixie Down revised
From: Jeri
Date: 22 May 21 - 08:37 PM

It's painful, but
"It never woulda stood the test of time"?
It doesn't make sense, but the rest of it doesn't make much sense to me.


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