Bob Dylan — Man in the Long Black Coat
Album: Oh Mercy
Avg rating:
7.3

Your rating:
Total ratings: 861
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Released: 1989
Length: 4:23
Plays (last 30 days): 1
Crickets are chirpin' the water is high
There's a soft cotton dress on the line hangin' dry
Window wide open African trees
Bent over backwards from a hurricane breeze
Not a word of goodbye not even a note
She gone with the man in the long black coat.

Somebody seen him hangin' around
As the old dance hall on the outskirts of town
He looked into her eyes when she stopped him to ask
If he wanted to dance he had a face like a mask
Somebody said from the bible he'd quote
There was dust on the man in the long black coat.

Preacher was talking there's a sermon he gave
He said every man's conscience is vile and depraved
You cannot depend on it to be your guide
When it's you who must keep it satisfied
It ain't easy to swallow it sticks in the throat
She gave her heart to the man in the long black coat.

There are no mistakes in life some people say
It is true sometimes you can see it that way
But people don't live or die people just float
She went with the man in the long black coat.

There's smoke on the water it's been there since June
Tree trunks unprooted beneath the high crescent moon
Feel the pulse and vibration and the rumbling force
Somebody is out there beating on a dead horse
She never said nothing there was nothing she wrote
She gone with the man in the long black coat.
Comments (148)add comment
I always enjoy Dylan but have to ask.

Did his voice get more gravelly over time due to tobacco and/or weed smoking or was there some other reason?  
Wahouuuuuuu magnifique !!!  {#Roflol}
Covers that are better than the original - love this but Joan Osbourne's cover is stonking! Then Bill follows it with Johnny Cash's Version of 'Hurt'. Add that to the list...
An excellent song from one of my favourite Dylan albums. This was a great record all 'round.
{#Devil_pimp}zesty! front to back " what was it u wanted ? "
 LAwolf8 wrote:
I hear great songs on RP, and want to explore the CD or album but then Bill puts on another great one and I don't play mow own collection because he's playing new things.  LOL

 
I find I don't need anything else.  Albums feel like a letdown after hearing RP, which is the greatest playlist I've ever come across.  Listen to commercial radio?  I don't think so.
I hear great songs on RP, and want to explore the CD or album but then Bill puts on another great one and I don't play mow own collection because he's playing new things.  LOL
I bought this used at a small record shop, it's a really good Dylan album, I have so many of those and The Band
 Schmoogsley wrote:
Not a Bob Dylan fan at all, but, this song sounded GREAT on my stereo. 

 
Same here!
I absolutely love this song and the way it's played.
 Schmoogsley wrote:
Not a Bob Dylan fan at all, but, this song sounded GREAT on my stereo. 

 
Try some of the other tunes on Oh Mercy.  It's a good album.  

Love the Crickets on this one. 
Mr. Nobel prize winner!
Congrats to him!
{#Notworthy} 
Oh Mercy...sing on Brother Bob. 

The Never Ending tour will end some day and the world will become a little less fun. 

Sing on Brother.    
Not a Bob Dylan fan at all, but, this song sounded GREAT on my stereo. 
It's always nice to hear Bob Dylan's voice. Thanks RP!!!  {#Music}
 saloutwest wrote:

Are you seriously still talking about Dylan's voice, that's like complaining or criticizing Neil Young's or Leonard Cohen's voice for that matter while we're on the subject why not criticize Tom Waits too? These are all accomplished great artists and poets their diminished vocals only makes them different and different is always better. It's the fabric of rock and roll.

 
Amen brother
 gregskrtic wrote:
I am a great fan of Bob—I love how his voice changes, becoming more gravelly as the years go by.  One of the other things I like about Bob is that just about anyone can cover one of his songs and make it distinctively their own—not better, mind you, but seriously different.  While Bob was singing "All along the Watchtower" as a folk tune back in the 60's, Jimi took it and psychedelicked the shit out of it!  Same story with many of his well known tunes—check out "Chimes of Freedom" for a great mix of covers.   {#Notworthy}
 
{#Cheers}
Never realized what awesome bass there is on this song.

More proof you don't actually have to sing to make a real good living as a singer.
 lemmoth wrote:

Amen OTB - This is rock and roll people

 
Are you seriously still talking about Dylan's voice, that's like complaining or criticizing Neil Young's or Leonard Cohen's voice for that matter while we're on the subject why not criticize Tom Waits too? These are all accomplished great artists and poets their diminished vocals only makes them different and different is always better. It's the fabric of rock and roll.
Sing on brother Bob. Oh Mercy....
Basically a lyric short story.  Brilliant. 
  On_The_Beach wrote:
People still whining about Dylan's voice after all these years?
Get over it people!
His distinctive vocals are part of what makes him great.

  
lemmoth wrote:

Amen OTB - This is rock and roll people

 

I am a great fan of Bob—I love how his voice changes, becoming more gravelly as the years go by.  One of the other things I like about Bob is that just about anyone can cover one of his songs and make it distinctively their own—not better, mind you, but seriously different.  While Bob was singing "All along the Watchtower" as a folk tune back in the 60's, Jimi took it and psychedelicked the shit out of it!  Same story with many of his well known tunes—check out "Chimes of Freedom" for a great mix of covers.   {#Notworthy}
Godlike to me

 
 On_The_Beach wrote:
People still whining about Dylan's voice after all these years?
Get over it people!
His distinctive vocals are part of what makes him great.

 
Amen OTB - This is rock and roll people
AvoidingWork wrote:
It's not very often that I don't like a song.  But this is really not doing it for me.  I really like the original.  But this...  Just not my cup 'O tea.
 
 On_The_Beach wrote:

The original???

  
Yeah, Bob wrote this, not Joan Osborne. From Wikipedia:

"In his own assessment of 'Man in the Long Black Coat', Dylan wrote that 'in some kind of weird way, I thought of it as my 'I Walk the Line,' a song I'd always considered to be up there at the top, one of the most mysterious and revolutionary of all time, a song that makes an attack on your most vulnerable spots, sharp words from a master'."

RPers seem to either love or hate The Bob. I'm in the former camp but sometimes he wears me out real fast. Not on this song, though. 

Still from video to "Subterranean Homesick Blues" showing Bob Dylan holding a card that says "I CAN'T SING." 

Oh Bob! Don't be so hard on yourself!  

Why does his delivery remind me of the 3 witches dancing around the cauldron  in MacBeth?


"People don't live or die. People just float . . . . " Those are some very cool lyrics. Who is this guy?
One of Dylan's finest...this and Most of the Time, both from the same album, both outstanding.

This a subtle song, note the high pitched 'cricket' sound in the background adding to the atmosphere...love it!
 AvoidingWork wrote:
It's not very often that I don't like a song.  But this is really not doing it for me.  I really like the original.  But this...  Just not my cup 'O tea.
 
The original???
Just an absolutely great song with tons of soul.  What an incredible life Mr. Dylan has lived.
 TerryS wrote:
The syncopated Dylan.

 
Still prefer the Joan Osborne version.
It's not very often that I don't like a song.  But this is really not doing it for me.  I really like the original.  But this...  Just not my cup 'O tea.

(edit)

But I am all for the latter half of Lazarus's comment. 
Everybody in my homeless camp loves this song...  we be dancing...  love sex, drugs, and rock 'n roll...
I'm liking this, and it still impresses/amazes me that Dylan has such staying power for someone who doesn't really sing in the typical sense. Ditto for Tom Waits and Johnny Cash.
10, next
There are not many songs by "Ol Gravel Voice" that I can sit through without hitting the PSD button but this is one of them. A solid 6.
Bob Dylan will never die!
 On_The_Beach wrote:
People still whining about Dylan's voice after all these years?
Get over it people!
His distinctive vocals are part of what makes him great.

 
I'd have said that it was just a small part of his overall crapness.
 oldfart48 wrote:
Dylan's worst beats someone screaching at me in some language that gets me soaking wet if I get close.....



 
Man, you need to get out more. Dylan is great but so was Callas. I'd bet she never spat at anyone without reason. Screeching has no a in it.
High pitch background sounds! Very unpleasant. Had to turn down the volume. 
People still whining about Dylan's voice after all these years?
Get over it people!
His distinctive vocals are part of what makes him great.
The syncopated Dylan.
What a horrible version of this song. It sounds like he's singing with the hiccoughs. 
 KalleB wrote:

You prefer pretty voices?

Visit the opera!



  Dylan's worst beats someone screaching at me in some language that gets me soaking wet if I get close.....


 Elroweho wrote:
Starts out great until he starts "singing"!
 

You prefer pretty voices?

Visit the opera!


Starts out great until he starts "singing"!
 Cynaera wrote:
I agree that the pauses between phrases are difficult - but I think it's an effective way of making the listener actually stop and LISTEN to the words (as usual, very vivid imagery, and I bet Stephen King could write a hell of a story around this song.) When a song flows along effortlessly, sometimes one has a tendency to forget to absorb other aspects of the song, such as the instruments, the lyrics, the cadence...

This song uses an unorthodox method to pull focus back to the song. Whether you love it or hate it, I feel one must at least respect the approach and the intention.

Me?  I kinda like it. It reminds me of when I was learning to ice-skate.  Three steps, a little coast, and a hard landing. Get up, take three more shaky steps, coast a little further, land again... By the end, I truly appreciated ice-skating to the point where I never wanted to do it again.
 

Miss you so much, Cynaera...

love this song...
 
 hippiechick wrote:
I am so used to the Joan Osborne version, I think I like hers better, but it's a great song.

 
thanks for mentioning this--I wanted to buy her version but couldn't remember her name. 

Bob is doing a Tom Waits imitation here. Hard to understand him with the growl and choppy bitten-off delivery.  

edit 4/14/14: but tonight it's effin' great. 
 ZiegZeon wrote:
This is one of the few Dylan songs that I actually enjoy. The atmosphere set up by the back ground make sound great. Like out in a swamp with the crickets. 
 
This.  Dylan drives me crazy most of the time but this is actually rather nice.
 hippiechick wrote:
I am so used to the Joan Osborne version, I think I like hers better, but it's a great song.
 

Amen sister!