Down Along the Cove

Both the sound and lyrics of the last two songs on John Wesley Harding, Down Along the Cove and I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight, are quite different from what came before. With the Pete Drake on pedal steel guitar, this 12-bar blues has a decidedly country feel to it, definitely foreshadowing the next album, Nashville Skyline. According to most sources, Dylan plays piano on this track, although it’s almost inaudible. Harvey Kubernik, in an article in Goldmine, notes that the sound is similar to the early Sun records of Elvis Presley. Dylan would take that as a great compliment, I’m sure.

The lyrics are nothing special, just a little ditty about hanging out with his lover, his “little bundle of joy”. It’s certainly quite a departure from the ultra-serious, soul-searching lyrics of the other songs on the album. Perhaps Dylan just wanted to end the album on an uplifting note.

Dylan didn’t play the song live until 1999. The various live versions are full-out jam sessions, and also feature revised lyrics. Often Dylan mixes the original and the new lyrics. The live versions are wicked fun, worth a listen.

The first live performance.

A good one from 2003.

A 2004 performance from Bonnaroo.

A Johnny Jenkins/Duane Allman cover.


Lyrics

Down along the cove
I spied my true love comin’ my way
Down along the cove
I spied my true love comin’ my way
I say, “Lord, have mercy, mama
It sure is good to see you comin’ today”

Down along the cove
I spied my little bundle of joy
Down along the cove
I spied my little bundle of joy
She said, “Lord, have mercy, honey
I’m so glad you’re my boy!”

Down along the cove
We walked together hand in hand
Down along the cove
We walked together hand in hand.
Ev’rybody watchin’ us go by
Knows we’re in love, yes, and they understand


Alternate Lyrics

Down Along The Cove
A Bunch of People They Was Milling Around
Down Along The Cove
A Bunch of People They Was Milling Around
I Said Lord Have Mercy Honey
Ain’t It A Shame They’ll Kick You When You’re Down

Down Along The Cove
I Feel As High As A Bird
Down Along The Cove
I Feel As High As A Bird
I Said A Lord Have Mercy Honey
Ain’t They The Sweetest Words You Ever Heard?

Down Along The Cove
I Seen The Jackson River Queen
Down Along The Cove
I Seen The Jackson River Queen
I Said A Lord Have Mercy Honey
Ain’t That The Greatest Boat You Ever Seen?

Down Along The Cove
You Can Lay Your Money Down
Down Along The Cove
You Can Lay Your Money Down
I Said A Lord Have Mercy Honey
Ain’t It A Shame They Always Pushin Me Around?

Down Along The Cove
I’ve Got My Suitcase In My Hand
Down Along The Cove
I’ve Got My Suitcase In My Hand
I Said A Lord Have Mercy Honey
Ain’t You Glad That I’m Your Man (In A Band)?

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