Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle

This song was off the 2012 album Temptest. Bob wrote this song with Robert Hunter, the Grateful Dead lyricist. The album peaked at #3 in the Billboard Album Charts. My son is who called my attention to this one. Unlike some other older performers, Bob somehow stays relevant to the times.

The memorable video is directed by Nash Edgerton. Bob looks just really cool in this video as he leads some kind of gang.

The song refers to the Duquesne train service that used to run between New York Penn and Pittsburgh Penn Stations, which was named after the 18th century Fort Duquesne in the latter city. That route is now served by the daily Amtrack Pennsylvanian service.

From Songfacts

The bluesy song  The lyrics show Dylan’s distaste at times a changing’. “Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing,” he demands. “Blowing like it’s gonna sweep my world away.”

The Nash Edgerton-directed music video is set on the streets of downtown Los Angeles. Dylan appears briefly throughout the clip.

The line, “I’m gonna stop at Carbondale and keep on going” refers to Carbondale, Pennsylvania, in the northeast corner of the state. Like all of the region, it’s now a small rust belt town, but at the time when the Duquesne train line was running, Carbondale was fat off the anthracite coal industry.

Duquesne Whistle

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gonna sweep my world away
I’m gonna stop at Carbondale and keep on going
That Duquesne train gon’ rock me night and day

You say I’m a gambler, you say I’m a pimp
But I ain’t neither one

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Sound like it’s on a final run

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she never blowed before
Little light blinking, red light glowing
Blowing like she’s at my chamber door

You smiling through the fence at me
Just like you’ve always smiled before

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she ain’t gon’ blow no more

Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing?
Blowing like the sky’s gonna blow apart
You’re the only thing alive that keeps me going
You’re like a time bomb in my heart

I can hear a sweet voice steadily calling
Must be the mother of our Lord

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like my woman’s on board

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gon’ blow my blues away
You’re a rascal, I know exactly where you’re going
I’ll lead you there myself at the break of day

I wake up every morning with that woman in my bed
Everybody telling me she’s gone to my head

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like it’s gon’ kill me dead

Can’t you hear that Duquesne whistle blowing?
Blowing through another no good town

The lights on my native land are glowing
I wonder if they’ll know me next time ’round
I wonder if that old oak tree’s still standing
That old oak tree, the one we used to climb

Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing
Blowing like she’s blowing right on time

Author: badfinger20

Guitar, Bass, song writer,

13 thoughts on “Bob Dylan – Duquesne Whistle”

  1. My favorite song from that album- when I saw him in November he played a number of songs from it. Will it be the final Dylan album of originals? I would never count him out- he is always full of surprises!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I would never predict anything with him. He could write an album’s worth on tour in a week. Unless he has bad health I don’t see him just stopping.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. What amazes me about Bob is how a seventy something year old guy just remains new. I do like Pay in Blood alot. This one just sticks out…plus I remember the last time I saw him he played it live very well.

      Like

  2. I don’t know… I know that Dylan and Robert Hunter wrote it.
    Bob wrote another song called Thunder on the Mountain in 2006

    Like

      1. It switched then…I’ve seen it do that before… move on to the next one. I’ll repost the link… Occasionally I’ve seen this happen. I watched it the day I posted it. If you hit back enough it would go back to it but it takes forever.

        I redone the same link

        Like

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