High Water (For Charley Patton)

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"High Water (For Charley Patton)"
Song by Bob Dylan
from the album "Love and Theft"
ReleasedSeptember 11, 2001
RecordedMay 2001
GenreFolk rock, blues, americana
Songwriter(s)Bob Dylan
Producer(s)Jack Frost
"Love and Theft" track listing
12 tracks
  1. "Tweedle Dee & Tweedle Dum"
  2. "Mississippi"
  3. "Summer Days"
  4. "Bye and Bye"
  5. "Lonesome Day Blues"
  6. "Floater (Too Much to Ask)"
  7. "High Water (For Charley Patton)"
  8. "Moonlight"
  9. "Honest With Me"
  10. "Po' Boy"
  11. "Cry a While"
  12. "Sugar Baby"

"High Water (For Charley Patton)" is a song by Bob Dylan, released on his 31st studio album "Love and Theft" in 2001. The song draws its title from the Charley Patton song "High Water Everywhere", and is meant as a tribute to that bluesman.[1] It is one of many songs based on the 1927 Louisiana flood. Other songs about the event include Memphis Minnie's "When the Levee Breaks" (also recorded by Dylan on his Modern Times album as "The Levee's Gonna Break"), and Randy Newman's "Louisiana 1927".

The song directly quotes three classic American songs in the last two verses, first the traditional ballad "The Cuckoo" with the line:

"The cuckoo is a pretty bird
She warbles as she flies."

Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom" with the line:

"I'm getting up in the morning
I believe I'll dust my broom."

Charlie Pattons " Shake it and break it" with the line:

"You can shake it, you can break it, you can hang it on the wall." Bob's amended version of this line is "Bertha Mason shook it – broke it, then she hung it on a wall."

Attwood also notes that the song both musically and lyrically has little point of contact with the original Patton work.[2]

Larry Campbell played the banjo "expertly" on the cut.[1]

Regularly part of Dylan's live performances since October 2001, a concert version of the song from August 2003 is included in The Bootleg Series Vol. 8 – Tell Tale Signs (2008).


  1. ^ a b Ward, Thomas. "High Water (For Charley Patton)". allmusic.com. Retrieved February 9, 2013.
  2. ^ "High Water (For Charley Patton) | Untold Dylan". Bob-dylan.org.uk. 2013-05-05. Retrieved 2013-06-30.

External links[edit]