Tuesday, May 1, 2007

The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down, and It Stayed Down

Like my brother before me, I took a rebel stand
He was just eighteen, proud and brave
When a Yankee laid him in his grave
I swear by the blood below my feet
You can't raise a Kane back up when he's in defeat


Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't Virgil saying that his family can't fight back when they've been knocked down? That they're a bunch of quitters?

4 comments:

Kap said...

Another Band lyric question: Up on Cripple Creek begins, "When I get off of this mountain . . . " Do you think he's really on a mountain? Or is it a metaphor for something? A friend thinks he's just out of jail.

T. Nawrocki said...

That lyric continues: "You know where I want to go/Straight down the Mississippi River/To the Gulf Of Mexico/To Lake Charles, Lousiana [sic]..."

Not only are there not any mountains anywhere along the Mississippi, but Lake Charles isn't anywhere near the river, either. So I think the whole song is basically a metaphor for Robbie Robertson's poor sense of geography.

Anonymous said...

This is a reference to the biblical "Cain and Abel", where Cain kills his brother Abel out of greed and selfishness.

This sort of reflects how many southerners of that day felt about the civil war; that the north was a cain-like "brother" that was out to destroy them and take everything they had.

T. Nawrocki said...

Thanks, "Anonymous"! I had never thought of interpreting it that way.