Monday, August 22, 2011

Oh Tell My Baby Sister Not to Do What I Have Done

In 1961 Bob Dylan released his debut (and eponymous) album. On it was a song later made famous by the British group The Animals -- The House of the Rising Sun. It's a classic folk ballad, most likely dating back to the "Unfortunate Rake" ballads of the 18th century. The Animals took inspiration from Dylan's version, but theirs is widely viewed as the first folk-rock hit of the 1960's. 

There are a lot of theories about the "real" House of the Rising Sun -- or if it existed at all. In any event, tomorrow we're going to be in the neighborhood. The Boy™ -- my 18-year-old stepson -- is off to college in the Big Easy, and She Who Must Be Obeyed™ are taking him down. Should be a great time -- I've never been before. Unfortunately, work is so crazy that I can't spend too much time down there this time. Next trip is for parents' weekend at the end of September.

Anyhow, does anyone have any restaurant suggestions? Or places not to be missed? The Boy™ will be majoring in Jazz, so he'll take care of the music tours on our next trip. 

And, because I like the Dylan version, I present to you:

The House of the Rising Sun
Bob Dylan

There is a house down in New Orleans
They call the Risin' Sun
And it's been the ruin of many a poor girl
And me, oh God, I'm one.

My mother was a tailor
She sewed these new blue jeans
My sweetheart was a gambler, Lord
Down in New Orleans

Now the only thing a gambler needs
Is a suitcase and a trunk
And the only time he's satisfied
Is when he's on a drunk

He fills his glasses up to the brim
And he'll pass the cards around
And the only pleasure he gets out of life
Is ramblin' from town to town

Oh tell my baby sister
Not to do what I have done
But shun that house in New Orleans
They call the Risin' Sun

Well, it's one foot on the platform
And the other foot on the train
I'm goin' back to New Orleans
To wear that ball and chain

I'm a-goin' back to New Orleans
My race is almost run
I'm goin' back to end my life
Down in the Risin' Sun

Jesus, '
I don't wanna be left alone.
Jesus, oh Jesus, 
Can you hear my last prayer?
I know I have sinned, 
But Lord I'm sufferin'
Jesus, oh Jesus, 
Can you hear my last prayer?

There is a house in New Orleans
They call the Risin' Sun
It's been the ruin of many a poor girl
And Lord I know I'm one
© Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC


  1. Kinda neat that the word on the street was Dylan was inspired by the version by Dave Van Ronk. Van Ronk feels it was just desserts that The Animals were highly inspired by Dylan's version.

    Another AWESOME (kinda) verion is the Blind Boys of Alabama's version of Amazing Grace.

    They set it to the popular rhythm and progression of the popular versions of The House of the Rising Sun.

    Kinda a yin-and-yang as House of the Rising Sun is a song of downfall, and Amazing Grace is a song of redemption.

    Great post!

  2. Hey, thanks for that link -- The Blind Boys of Alabama are awesome, and that arrangement of Amazing Grace was EXCELLENT!

  3. I like the Joan Baez version.