Bob Dylan releases Duquesne Whistle from The Tempest

2nd song from the September 11th release of his 35th studio album


“Duquesne Whistle” starts like a far off Bob Wills Texas swing song until 42 seconds then breaks into an upbeat swing shuffle. Using an old voice like an aging Louis Armstrong, Dylan pines for the train that carries his woman.

“Listen to that Duquesne whistle blowing,
Blowing like it’s gonna sweep my world away.”

You can tell right away you are going to like “Duquesne Whistle”. It has the ageless feel of a classic song with melody, vocal hooks and memorable lyrics.

Ann Powers in NPR thinks the title might be a tip of the hat to Earl Father Hines who was born in Duquesne.

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For me it conjures images of a time in the past when Duquesne, now a small city of 5,000 souls, would have been more than a college community outside Pittsburgh. In 1910, 30,000 people lived in Duquesne, PA.

Songs about trains are always about the past of America. Dylan was steeped in train songs, rail songs, songs of people leaving and waiting from them to return.

“Duquesne Whistle” is one of those songs and it might become a classic.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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