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Brownsville Girl / Knocked Out Loaded / 1986

... (David Todd):
Brownsville Texas - listed by the Dept of Immigration as the spot where more illegal aliens cross into the US than any other

Date:    Wed, 31 May 1995 17:30:31 -0400
From:    Ray Schweighardt (rainman@GALAXY.NET)
Subject: Re: KOL,Brownsville Girl & Down In

In article ( Jim Maynard
(j.maynard11@GENIE.GEIS.COM) writes:
>Date: Mon, 29 May 1995 00:30:00 UTC
>From: Jim Maynard (j.maynard11@GENIE.GEIS.COM)
>Subject: KOL,Brownsville Girl & Down In

>Now, Brownsville Girl--I don't like it!  What is this song about?  Is
>there a point to it somewhere that I missed?  It's too long, keeps
>repeating itself over and over (The chorus is pretty good, but that
>seems to be all there is to the song.)  If it was an experiment in
>cinematic songwriting if failed in my opinion.  I can't believe Dylan
>put it on Greatest Hits 3 and left off the much better song on Empire
>Burlesque (When the Night Comes Falling from the Sky) which has the
>classic feel to it (similar to All Along the Watchtower to me).

I think "Brownsville Girl" (and its aborted twin, "New Danville Girl") is one
of Dylan's greatest works.  What's it about?  It's about a million things.
It's about going through life and not knowing what part you're supposed to
play.  And it contains one of Dylan's (or perhaps Sam Shepard's) greatest
pieces of wisdom: "People don't know what they believe in, they just does
what's most convenient, and then they repent".  I could go on for pages, but I

rainman (with his magic wand)

Date: Sun, 10 Dec 1995 11:10:46 GMT From: CHRISTOPHER ROLLASON (rollason@DIALUP.FRANCENET.FR) Subject: Re: W. Guthrie and Brownsville girl, was Re: Brownsville Girl Boo-Boo (Cyronwode) wrote: >The original song is "The Danville Girl," a traditional song recorded in >many variants by many artists, including Woody Guthrie. The song concerns >a man who is hoboing on a train, is put off by the brakeman, meets a girl, >and leaves her to resume riding the rods. >One variant (there are dozens): >He put me off in Danville >Got stuck on a Danville girl >You can bet your life she was out of sight >She wore that Danville curl >"Danville Girl" was (...) was a major influence on "Brownsville Girl" (...) I was very interested to read of this connection. I looked for Danville in the atlas and there seem to be a fair half-dozen Danvilles in the US, but the most likely contender is the one in Kentucky (any other suggestions?) I think it's significant, though, that Dylan has changed Danville to Brownsville. The atlas also reveals that Brownsville, Texas, is on the US-Mexico frontier opposite Matamoros - this borderline location would fit with the song's theme of living-on-the-edge ('we're goin' all the way till the wheels fall off and burn'). Dylan also set 'Just Like Tom Thumb's Blues' on the frontier, this time on the Mexican side - Juarez is opposite El Paso (which is itself referred to in 'She's Your Lover Now'). There is also a piano instrumental on a bootleg (63 or 64?) titled 'East Laredo' - once again, on the Tex-Mex frontier (Texas side). Crossing the Mexican border is also referred to explicitly in 'Farewell' and 'Senor' (is it set in Mexico or 'Lincoln county'?) appears to be about an American accompanied by a Mexican; and Big Jim thinks he has seen the Jack of Hearts' face before, maybe somewhere 'down in Mexico'. 'Romance in Durango', however, is on purely Mexican themes all the way through. Apart from specific Mexican influences on Dylan, musical or otherwise, I suggest the border/frontier theme is imoprtant to his work as a whole - his music repeatedly crosses and re-crosses musical and conceptual boundaries, and there are so many songs in some way or another about living on the edge - from 'A Hard Rain's A-Gonna Fall' to 'Shooting Star' ('trying to break into another world') ... Any comments - on 'Brownsville Girl', Dylan and Mexico or anything else? Chris Rollason
From: "Leah McLeroy" To: Subject: Brownsville Girl Date: Sat, 15 Dec 2001 16:32:01 -0600 I love this song. A very, very important thing about it is that Bob and Sam Shepard wrote it together. Now, if you don't know anything about Sam Shepard, you should. Read some of his plays and his short stories. Read Motel Chronicles and A Lie of the Mind. Also, he was in Renaldo and Clara, he travelled with Dylan in The Rolling thunder Revue and during it he wrote a journal callled The Rolling Thunder Logbook. (you can find it online if you put Renaldo and Clara into a search engine -- it's really good - read "Talk of Poets" and "Geography of a Horsedreamer" specifically - read as many as you can actually) I love to listen to it and try to think which lines belonged mostly to which man. A very Shepard line: "We're goin all the way till the wheels fall off and burn. Till the sun peels the paint and the seatcovers fade and the water moccassins die. Ruby said,'Ah you know some babies never learn." - but also very Dylan at the same time. My favorite line is: "If there's an original thought out there I sure could use it right now." That sounds like a Bob line, because it's so witty and paradoxical. But the idea of Gregory Peck and the movie that he vaguely remembers reminds me alot of themes all through Shepard's writing and his life. The idea of movie star icons, myths in popular culture, driving nonstop through sparse dry desert land, Mexico, borders of identity, of remembering some movie that must have been popular, forgetting so much of it -- but the way the song expresses what was remembered is so emotiolnally intense. The person singing is longing to remember what is lost of himself, what he's unsure of, but all he can think to do is drive through the desert till the wheels fall off and burn. And then there's this mysterious girl whose teeth are like pearls shining like the moon above. It's too beautiful. There are a lot of speeding cars in Sam Shepards work. You absolutely HAVE to get into Sam Shepard if you love Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, life, anything. There's a great biography by Don Shewey. Oh -- read Cowboy Mouth, he wrote it with Patti Smith during their love affair. The title comes from "and your cowboy mouth and your curfew plugs who among them do you think could resist you?" - Sad Eyed Lady of the Lowlands. Wow, I'm sorry this is so long! but thanks for letting me babble, I got a little overwhelmed- I'm too obsessive for my own good. Leah
5/25/08 from DS:   Corpus Christi - In Dylan's "Brownsville Girl", the Corpus Christi Tribune published a story about a man with a known alibi.  The newspaper is actually the Corpus Christi Caller-Times, but Corpus Christi Tribune sounds much more dramatic.